|| ||Russell Pavlicek <email@example.com>|
|| ||LinuxWorld Expo 2003 Wrap-Up|
|| ||Mon, 27 Jan 2003 07:05:46 -0800 (PST)|
LinuxWorld Expo 2003 New York Wrap-Up
A dead laptop power brick kept me from filing reports during the recent
LinuxWorld Expo, but now that I'm home I'd like to share a few
First, this show was about business. When I wrote a couple pieces about
the last LinuxWorld Expo in California, some readers complained that I
didn't talk about the community. These people need to realize what
LinuxWorld Expo has become: a Linux business show. The little community
influence present could be found in the .ORG Pavilion in a corner of the
show floor. But the center of the show was business, business, business.
The Expo floor plan appeared to be the smallest one yet to be held in the
Javits Center, occupying only one large hall in Javits Center. Previous
LWE shows occupied two halls. But if the floor space was smaller, the
crowd was more ready than ever to target Linux solutions. Many of the
folks working booths were impressed both with the earnestness of the Expo
attendees and the steady flow of folks on the show floor. It is safe to
say that Linux has become serious business.
Another notable difference with previous LWE shows was the almost complete
absence of "swag" -- booth giveaways. There were a lot of free red hats
handed out (the origin of which is left as an exercise to the reader) and
a few shirts could be found at certain booths, but the bulk of the
freebies were brochures and software CDs. Bouncing balls, stuffed
penguins, and other trinkets which were omnipresent at the show two years
ago were missing in action now.
Also missing were some of the onesy-twosy sales items. Past shows
included booths selling Zaurus handhelds, Hancom Office, and general Linux
gear. This year, the booths were there to sell solutions to businesses,
not merchandise to attendees. Even the official LinuxWorld Expo store
selling clothing items was less prominently placed and less frequented
than in earlier years.
A year ago, SuSE had no booth and Red Hat's booth seemed all too quiet at
times. This year, both booths seemed consistently well-attended. And
this is not surprising, considering that both vendors had
business-centered server and desktop offerings to talk about.
In all the booths, there was a different tone of communication. The
magicians and campy actors who had once populated the demo areas were
replaced with business presenters earnestly communicating the advantages
of their respective corporations.
Across the show floor, enterprise products flourished. SGI, a company
seeking to re-establish itself in the face of fierce competition, needed a
gutsy entry to stand out in the field. Answering the call was their Altix
3000 box -- a NUMA-based box capable of scaling to 64 Itanium-2 CPUs. The
box breaks news ground for Linux servers and deservedly won this
year's LinuxWorld Expo "Best of Show" award.
Among the various product awards was one surprise: Microsoft. They
won "Best System Integration Software" for their Services for Unix 3.0
Henry Hall, Ted Cook, and the folks at WildOpen Source organized a
collaborative event called the Enterprise Solutions Center. It treated
attendees to talks and panels about the use of Linux solutions in the
enterprise. An ambitious event, it helped visitors to understand that
Linux is ready for most of the normal needs of IT departments today.
Over the years, many of the folks who helped Linux gain its legs are no
longer found on the Expo floor. But it's good to run into old friends and
acquaintances. Among the more notable folks in attendance were Jon
"maddog" Hall, Chris DiBona, Jeremy Alison, Larry Augustin, Bruce Perens,
Rob "Cmdr Taco" Malda, Robin "roblimo" Miller, Brian Proffitt, Alan Fedder
(UniForum). and Linux Journal's Don Marti and Carlie Fairchild. Even
Emmett Plant (formerly of Slashdot and Linux Today) made an appearance
with his guitar over at Xiph.org.
It was an excellent show by all accounts. Most booths were busy much of
the time. Attendees seemed to appreciate the information they were
receiving. Behind the scenes in the speaker and press rooms, everything
seemed to be moving according to plan. Except for the fact that there was
no morning shuttle bus service to the Javits Center (there was afternoon
bus service, though) and the temperature outside dropped below ten degrees
Fahrenheit at times, things seemed to go comfortably and smoothly.
Finally, let me extend a big "thank you" to Anthony Awtrey of I.D.E.A.L.
Technology for the use of his laptop during my talk.
to post comments)