Real World Linux 2004: Bigger and Better
The True Linux Turnout
Last year, the first appearance of Real World Linux in Toronto managed to stagger through its appointed hours even with the SARS virus preventing some companies and presenters from attending--not to mention dampening the locals' enthusiasm for being in large crowds.
This year saw a more accurate representation of Toronto's interest in Linux. After the two major local newspapers turned out issues with around nine pages of Linux coverage in total, the previously so-so registration numbers skyrocketed to double last year's pre-registrations, bringing big smiles to the convention staff's faces even as it sent them into a preparatory panic.
The exhibitors turned out in force as well, with around eighty-five booths gracing the show floor. The big money die-hards were of course there, including IBM, HP, Sun, Computer Associates, Oracle, Red Hat, and Novell, which has inserted itself into the regular Linux convention circuit in a huge way. Intel showed up as well. There was no Microsoft, though, as happens at the larger shows. Instead, Apple Canada graced the environs, easy to spot in the back corner with their bite-missing logo in large black contrast to their otherwise white booth.
There was also a heavy presence from many middle and small players (Ximian and CodeWeavers, for example), though there wasn't a big open source project section as at some other shows. Booths related to security solutions and the battle against spam and viruses typically maintained a steady stream of visitors, and it seemed that every other booth involved some sort of network or resource management product.
Another large presence came from, interestingly, from professional organizations. LPI had both their ever-present booth and exam going, and the Linux Fund was sucking people in with the offer of free penguins. On top of this, CLUE (Canadian Linux Users Exchange), IEEE, the Canadian Association of Internet Providers, CIPS (Canadian Information Processing Society), and the Society of Internet Professionals all vied for new members among the multitudes.
While there weren't tons of announcements and product launches--at least compared to a huge show like LinuxWorld Expo--there were definitely some interesting things percolating throughout the show's opening day. These arrange from Novell's and LPI's solidifying directions, all the way to (of all things) a toy product launch.