Linux Weekly News
LinuxWorld coverage - Keynote from Sean Maloney, Senior VP at IntelGlitz was the keyword for this morning's presentation. However, this time around, that glitz was well-tuned to suit the expected audience. Sean's talk started with a fancy video clip mentioning a lot of the players that are part of the Linux community. Slashdot started and ended the sequence, dressed in space suits and clearly out to have a great time. Other people featured included businesses, scientists and more. The word "Intel" was probably not mentioned in the whole sequence ... you were expected to draw the correct inference and know that all of these projects were using Intel-based hardware.
Sean, himself, was an excellent speaker. His personal background originated in Intel's U.K. arena, as attested to by his accent, though he came more recently out of Hong Kong, "freshly minted" in the US as Senior VP. His approach to the keynote was intended to be highly informal and amusing. As the talk unfolded, it was clear that the keynote had been orchestrated with a lot of help from VA Linux, which sent people onto the stage for the demonstrations.
The talk itself focused on growing e-commerce, currently estimated to produce about 1% of the US gross national product, but expected to increase to a much higher level. That growth will require servers with very high performance and reliability figures of 99.999% or better. No mention was made of the impact of those type of reliability requirements on operating systems whose reliability is already highly questionable. Everything was professionally and carefully crafted to carry that message without being obvious.
He talked a bit about the sensory overload produced by such a growth in ecommerce. Google was then spotlighted as an application addressing sensory overload with new techniques to help you get to precisely the information you need.
I had been warned in advance in the speaker room that there would be a "surprise" guest for the keynote. That turned out to be Andy Grove, Intel Chairman, who came on stage a few minutes before the end of the talk. With his entrance, the focus moved to the IA-64, Intel's "Merced" chip, and their plans for it. They gave the first public demonstration of Linux on the Merced. They ran the Merced software emulation on an Intel Pentium III 550hz dual-CPU system and then Linux running Apache on top of that. A couple of tidbits came out just at the end, probably as intended. A slush fund has been set aside by Intel to invest in companies that develop products on the Merced processor. If you have an idea for such a product, put together a proposal and get it to them. For support of the free software community, they have made arrangements with VA Linux, Caldera, SuSE and TurboLinux, plus probably others they didn't mention, to deploy Merced machines worldwide and make sure they are available for anyone supporting a free software package on the new chip.
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