LinuxWorld NY 2001Wednesday, January 31st, 2001 Summary
LWN.net Managing Editor Liz Coolbaugh, Senior Editor Michael J. Hammel and staff member Dennis Tenney are covering the LinuxWorld NY 2001 conference and exhibit this year. Today's summary is a brief rundown of what they saw on the first day of the full conference talks and exhibit.
Golden Penguin Bowl
Nick Petreley hosted this very entertaining event where well known developers and a few selected audience members matched wits to answer queries to questions only the most pasty skinned nerd or geek could possibly know. While the event was modestly attended (perhaps half the room where the keynote was held, roughly 500-750 people), all were genuinely entertained. The first thing Nick did was ask for volunteers from the audience to be on the two panels, taking people who showed extreme nerdiness by carrying a Palm Pilot or having worked on the kernel. The latter criteria brought Linus Torvalds himself up on stage where he joined the Nerds (who were seated to the right, opposite the Geeks).
The panels consisted of the following people:
Rob Malda and Don Marti served as judges for the game and were called on several times for rulings (not all of which were appreciated by the crowd).
The questions ranged from old movies like Plan 9 from Outer Space to Aliens and hidden gems from kernel code and Linux History. The room roared in laughter when Linus couldn't remember some of his own comments from the kernel developer mailing lists, such as what RTFB stood for (which LWN is too polite to print, we might add, though the last word is "Binary").
David Sifry, Linuxcare
David Sifry of Linuxcare sat down with Michael J. Hammel to talk frankly about Linuxcare's past, present and future. We'll be posting that interview in it's entirety later, but here's a quick look:
LWN: Last year you said that Linuxcare had commited $1 million to the Linux Standards Base (LSB) project. When you say "commited a million dollars", what exactly does that mean? Does that mean commited internally for developers to work on LSB or does it mean that money has been donated to non-profit organizations?
Sifry: A million dollars means a combined budget for items that are LSB officially designated. So that means a certain amount of marketing dollars. It means donations going directly to organizations where that's appropriate. Mostly it means developers salaries. The FSG and other organizations don't necessarily need money, per se, they need developers who are good who are focusing their time on working on the project. We have full time developers working on LSB and part time developers as well.
The Exhibit Floor
The show floor for LinuxWorld NY is twice the size as last year and includes
booths that look more like jungle settings (Ximian) than setups for marketing
demonstrations. IBM's major presence is hard to miss, including an IBM-only
press room that was busy the full day, allowing members of the press to meet
directly with IBM executives and find out where that $1 billion is going.
Managing Editor Liz Coolbaugh gave her "Tour of Linux Distributions" talk at 9am at the Javitts Center. She reported record crowds, a decrease in the percentage of audience members using Red Hat and an increase in the percentage using SuSE. Debian, Slackware, Linux-Mandrake and Slackware users were also represented (in decreasing order), along with one ARMLinux user (the creator).
More people also reported using Linux in the embedded space.
Samba Team wins award
Following the Keynote by IBM CEO Sam Palmisano, IDG awarded the IDG/Linus
Torvalds Community Award to the Samba team, represented by Adrew Tridgell and
Jeremy Allison. Andrew and Jeremy had the audience laughing throughout the
ceremony. They commented that they hoped someday Samba will no longer be
necessary (which brought cheers) and mentioned that it is now shipping with
most Microsoft-based appliances, having become a standard. Jeremy thanked
everyone for the award, briefly mentioned the upcoming release of Samba 2.2 and
promised, 'You haven't seen anything yet.'
We were unable to cover the IBM keynote completely, due to time conflicts, but we were present when IBM presented Weather.com as a real-world example of Linux' use in the enterprise. Weather.com's current Linux installation is designed to scale to handle up to 70 million hits daily and to be easily expanded horizontally to handle increasing loads beyond that.
Liz also had an opportunity to interview several members of IBM's Linux team, including Daniel Frye, Director of the IBM Technology Center. Here are a couple of brief quotes (full report to follow next week):
Tom Vradacich commented, "It is a good time to be us. We've got the solutions, the strategy, the high volume low-end, the high-end hardware, an end-to-end solution. Single solutions providers are going to scramble."
When asked whether or not IBM would ever make their own Linux distribution, Daniel Frye responded with a firm negative. "We're very happy with our distributions strategy. We have four partners, Caldera, Red Hat, SuSE and TurboLinux [listed deliberately in alphabetical order]. Between them, they have 80% of the market, plus provide global coverage. We don't want to spend our energy competing with them."
Stay tuned for more reports tomorrow.
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