Suiting All Tastes at LWE
Upcoming LinuxWorld Expo Aims at Enterprise, Community
LinuxWorld Expo (LWE) has long been held as a central cultural and technical event for the Linux community, and organizers have expanded the range of programs and exhibits to make sure the corporate and enterprise newcomers to the community also feel very welcome.
This is the message that the organizers of the conference IDG World Expo, are working hard to get out. So far, it seems to be successful: pre-registration numbers are up from this time last year, with many attendees coming from companies with 1,000-plus employees.
This year's LWE has much of the same features that have been large draws in the past: the Taste of Linux series, the Open Source Product Excellence Awards--even the Golden Penguin Bowl. Attendees will notice that while many of the old exhibits and programs are back again this year, several more sessions have been added that are specifically targeted to the enterprise.
In particular, two major new features have been added to the first 2003 LWE that sponsors and organizers hope will effectively demonstrate the power of Linux in corporate environments: the Linux Financial Summit and the Enterprise Solutions Center.
The Linux Financial Summit is a new track specifically targeted at financial IT executives who want to learn how they can use Linux and open-source technology within their vertical industry. According to IDG World Expo VP Rob Scheschareg, the Summit is the first of many that will take place in this and future LWEs.
"We will be targeting different verticals during each Expo," Scheschareg explained. "In New York, it makes sense to lead off with the financial services industry."
Perhaps the most unusual new exhibit will be the Enterprise Solutions Center, which will be a hands-on laboratory smack in the middle of the Exhibition Floor. This laboratory will have modules that will simulate data center, wireless, and Internet commerce solutions using actual live technology, Scheschareg said.
The exhibit will be sponsored and created by Linux International and WildOpen Source. Linux International's President and Executive Director Jon "maddog" Hall described the Solutions Center as "an office mock-up where real people will use real open-source tools to do their work." Hall expressed real excitement about this exhibit, and excitement that was mirrored by Scheschareg.
The Open Source Product Excellence Awards, a perennial favorite, have new categories, Scheschareg said. Included among the new awards are Best Clustering Technology and Best Front-office Software.
The educational programs have been tuned up as well. Scheschareg said that the classes should be able to accommodate a broader range of attendees-from the hard-core IT worker looking for new in-depth information, to the high-level executive who needs to figure out what all this Linux hubbub is about. Scheschareg said that about 12-14 sessions will be geared towards the business implications of Linux.
The accommodation of the enterprise is a formalization of a process that has slowly changed the tenor of the last few instances of the semi-annual LWE. In recent years, many attendees have commented upon the growing pervasive corporate nature of the conference. Scheschareg indicated that this perception has indeed been reflected by the attendance numbers.
"Attendees have moved up the chain in IT decision making," he said.
At the same time, vendors have strongly matured in their Linux offerings, Scheschareg stated. IBM, Intel, and the rest have firmed up their own messages and products relating to Linux and are more ready than ever to deliver those messages to a corporate audience.
But Scheschareg was quick to emphasize that is LWE would be more favorable than ever to the corporate "suits," there were still plenty of things in the expo from which the average Linux user could benefit.
"These folks are very much a part of our core audience," Scheschareg said, "They should get a sense of empowerment that their own experiences will be in hot demand in the corporate world." He added that the opportunities for peer-to-peer contact were still excellent at this event.
No matter what type of attendee comes to LWE, Scheschareg stated, there would be benefits for all.
"You can learn a lot from our show just by picking your spot," he concluded.
The LinuxWorld Expo will take place January 22-24, 2003 at The Javits Center in New York City. The Conference will run concurrently on January 21-24. Visit the LWE Web site for more information on registration, housing, and events.