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What I did at LinuxWorldRaven Zachary, August 22, 2006 @ 5:30 pm ET
Last week, I attended LinuxWorld San Francisco to meet with vendors, participate in a Mobile Linux panel, and to simply experience the main LinuxWorld event. Although IDG World Expo produces LinuxWorld in more than 15 countries, LinuxWorld San Francisco is the flagship event. This was my first time as an attendee of LinuxWorld San Francisco, and only my second LinuxWorld ever, having attended the Boston event last spring. Prior to joining The 451 Group in February, LinuxWorld was not a priority for me as an independent consultant and writer.
Linux is synonymous with servers, but this is old news to the LinuxWorld crowd and not the hot topic at the show. Although, servers, both software and hardware vendors, dominate the expo floor. The hot topic this year was Mobile Linux, with Motorola and PalmSource as platinum sponsors (along with the usual suspects, IBM, HP, Novell, and Oracle). In contrast, the theme of LinuxWorld Boston was Virtualization, although this remained a major topic in San Francisco, as well.
I enjoyed the sessions on Mobile Linux, especially “The State of Mobile Linux” presented by Bill Weinberg, Senior Technology Analyst at the OSDL. Bill did an excellent job in explaining the potential of Linux in the mobile market, backed by research data. I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel, “Keeping Mobile Linux Competitive“, moderated by Bill, although the attendance was light due to the fact that it was the last session on the last day of the conference.
Regarding Mobile Linux vendors, the Motorola and PalmSource keynotes lacked much substance, with both companies using the stage to express their support of Mobile Linux with future announcements pending. I found the information presented by Trolltech and a la Mobile to be more interesting, actually. Trolltech announced its Greenphone (I want one!) and a la Mobile had its ‘coming out’, although only showing a prototype of its technology. Keep an eye on these two and how they will fit into the mobile market. Motorola seems to be planning to go it alone with its own internal Mobile Linux project. Motorola is the second largest mobile device manufacturer behind Nokia.
One of the main topics discussed in the press room was the absence of Red Hat, at least in an official capacity. I posted a blog entry about this last week, “Where is Red Hat?.” While Linux extends far beyond the historical success of Red Hat, the absence of the most well-known Linux vendor was disappointing to some and confusing to others.
Most of my time was spent in meetings, and juggling between meetings and attending sessions was a challenge. [Note to IDG World Expo - please schedule a day of press and analyst briefings at the beginning of the conference so that we can actually attend the sessions!] I had the opportunity to sit down with Coverity, Trolltech, Codeweavers, Storix, Greenplum, SpikeSource, Sun, Novell, Scalix, Hyperic, Collax, a la Mobile, SugarCRM, Funambol, and EnterpriseDB. If I had more time during the three-day period, the list would have been longer. While walking the expo floor, I had the opportunity to check in with some other vendors.
So how did my experience in San Francisco compare with Boston? Take a look at my prior summary post – “LinuxWorld Boston – was it worth it?” From the summary…
I’m glad I went, but I found this conference a bit muted. Attendance felt low, vendors had mixed feedback (where are the end-users?), and there were no major news announcements
The above quote regarding LinuxWorld Boston basically sums up my experience at LinuxWorld San Francisco. The notable exception was a more lively show floor (resulting in less vendor disappointment in terms of lead generation). I am glad I went, but this is what I do for a living. Would I have spent the time and money to attend LinuxWorld San Francisco if I was an IT director? Probably not. Who exactly does LinuxWorld cater to? Software vendors, analysts, and the press? It’s convenient for me to have many of the people in the industry all in one place for meetings, sure. Does that make for a sustainable business model?
IDG World Expo has already announced that LinuxWorld Boston is no more, having been replaced with a smaller NYC event in February 2007, the LinuxWorld OpenSolutions Summit. Hopefully the smaller venue and limited focus will add a touch of intimacy that is missing from larger events.
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