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LinuxWorld 2004 San Francisco--A Preview from the Top

Community, Tech Needs To Be Met As Well

  • June 30, 2004
  • By Jacqueline Emigh

"We'll be adding more of a business focus this year--but at the same time, we won't at all abandon our original intent," said Warwick Davies, show director for LinuxWorld San Francisco 2004, the premier West Coast Linux fest set for August 2 to 5 of this year.

"LinuxWorld started at a very technical level," according to Davies, who is also group vice president for LinuxWorld purveyor IDG World Expo. "Yet we're now at the stage of maturity where people are also asking, 'How can I use Linux?'" he added in an interview. Davies joined IDG during the 2003 edition of the San Francisco show.

With a little over a month to go before LinuxWorld San Francisco 2004, Davies expects about 150 exhibitors to be on hand at the Moscone Center this year. "We're about 20 shy of that right now," he acknowledged.

"Novell will have a bigger presence than last year. BEA (Systems) will make quite a splash. Microsoft will be there, too," Davies said. The show director anticipates a number of product announcements at LinuxWorld this month. "The pressure is already on (from vendors) to get the right press conference times."

Desktop Linux will hold a high profile, too. "The Desktop Linux Consortium will have its own pavilion this year. They were there last year, too, but only with a minor presence," according to Davies.

"This is also one of those types of events where a lot of contacts are made, and a lot of networking is done, due to the energy of the people who go. It's exciting to try to harness that."

To that end, LinuxWorld San Francisco will also see a reprise of popular standbys like the Dot Org Pavilion; Birds of a Feather Sessions; and Golden Penguin Bowl, a traditional battle of wits between the "Geeks" and "Nerds."

"At the Dot Org Pavilion, various open source projects show what they're working on. We pay for them to come, and it's always a huge draw," Davies noted.

Larry Augustin, a partner at Azure Capital Partners, will moderate the Golden Penguin Bowl. "The Geeks will be the Darwin Open Source Project, this time around. The Nerds will be 'the Linux Community.' Andrew Morton, kernel 2.6 maintainer at OSDL, will be one of The Nerds."

In light of this year's increased business focus, some of the keynotes and conference tracks will focus on customer stories. One keynote will feature both Alfred Chuang, chairman and CEO of BEA Systems, and Mike Parks, CIO of Virgin Mobile USA. Other keynoters in San Francisco will include Matthew J. Szulik, chairman and CEO of Red Hat; Maritn Fink, HP's vice president of Linux; Michael S. Rocha, executive VP of Oracle; and Nick Donofrio, senior VP of technology and manufacturing at IBM.

A conference track called "Business Side of Linux" will include sessions like "Real Business Problems Presented with Real Solutions."

Yet a number of other tracks will look at key technical issues. "How do you secure Linux? How do you manage and deploy it? Many companies won't scrap everything else they have just to use Linux. So how do you operate Linux in a mixed environment? What about kernel cluster issues? What are some of the new things coming up in Linux and open source for the future?" Davies said.

Additional tracks will hone in on desktop Linux and developers' issues, for instance. Desktop topics will include Eclipse, Gnome, Wine, desktop video, the X Window System, and more.

Developers' sessions will drill down a bit into the Fedora Project, Samba, Java 2 Standard Edition on Linux, and C on Linux, among other subjects.

As usual, techies will also be able to take part in hands-on labs and half-day tutorials. This year's Hands-on Labs will include Hands-On Hacking: Attacks and Countermeasures; Installation, Configuration, and Operation of the Linux Logical Volume; Getting Up and Running with Apache 2.0 on Linux; and Managing a Mixed Linux and Windows Environment.

LinuxWorld will run a total of eight tutorials, running the gamut from Implementing OpenLDAP to Kerberos Integration, for example.

On both the techie and business sides of the fence, Davies expects attendees will come away with "three or four months' worth of knowledge" in only a few days' time.

But how many people will attend? Under an auditing system instituted at LinuxWorld New York City in January, IDG is predicting about 10,000 to 11,000 in audited attendance--roughly the same number who went to the January show. A company known as Exhibit Surveys performs the audits.

"We've decided that IDG wants to be at the forefront of audited attendance," according to Davies. Without auditing at a show, he quipped, "A guy could be clicking every time somebody came back in after going to the bathroom."

Davies also foresees a continuation of the show's international flavor. "The predominance of the attendance at LinuxWorld shows is regional. But there are also people who travel to LinuxWorld from all over the world. Regardless of where they're from, the attendees all seem impassioned about Linux, to me."

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