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LinuxWorld Reshuffles Its Trade Show & Conference Deck

Preview 2006

  • July 28, 2006
  • By Jacqueline Emigh

With LinuxWorld San Francisco 2006 just around the corner, curiosity is hovering in the air over IDG's plans for future Linux and open source events. What's the bottom line on this subject from IDG's VP of LinuxWorld, Melinda Kendall?

IDG will now start holding both LinuxWorld and another open source event--the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC)--on the West Coast only, Kendall confirmed during an interview with LinuxPlanet. Meanwhile, LinuxWorld Open Solutions Summit--slated for New York City in February--will be a "brand new" event, not meant to replace any of IDG's previous East Coast offerings, according to the VP.

"[LinuxWorld] is the umbrella event for the entire Linux and open source community," Kendall said, as part of an effort to help position the three current offerings. As such, LinuxWorld will continue to be geared to both technical folks and business users. In contrast, OSBC constitutes more of a "networking forum" for vendors, focusing on "how [they can] make money from Linux and open source," she told LinuxPlanet.

The new LinuxWorld Open Solutions Summit, on the other hand, will be a "conference," as opposed to a "trade show," according to Kendall. "This will be an 'open source' event with LinuxWorld branding," she noted.

The upcoming open source conference will use a case study approach in targeting business decision-makers within five vertical markets prevalent in the New York City area: finance, retail, media, government, and "life sciences," or pharmaceutical.

But at the same time, IDG is discontinuing the East Coast edition of the LinuxWorld show--held in New York for several years until moving to Boston in 2005--as well as the East Coast iteration of OSBC, which used to take place in Boston. Also, IDG's LinuxWorld Business Summit--a conference and trade show presented in NY in 2005--will not happen again, Kendall said.

According to the IDG VP, the decision to drop the East Coast LinuxWorld was driven by exhibitors, who told IDG they'd prefer to funnel their energies into a single umbrella event each year.

Indeed, IBM and Hewlett-Packard--both absent from LinuxWorld Boston 2006--have both taken out big booths for this year's San Francisco extravaganza.

Microsoft won't be at hand on the floor next month, however. Microsoft didn't buy a booth for the Boston show, either, although Bill Hilf, Microsoft's general manager of platform strategy, who delivered a keynote there. In the past, however, Microsoft has in fact purchased space on the LinuxWorld floor. IDG continues to be in touch with Hilf, who is "keeping tabs on LinuxWorld in relations to Microsoft's markets," Kendall said.

At the upcoming show in San Francisco, set for August 14 to 17, IDG will mark the 15th anniversary of the Linux kernel with a panel presentation on "the first 20 years of Linux," addressing "the first 15 years, plus predictions about the next five," LinuxPlanet was told.

Moderated by Larry Augustin of VA Software, the panel will also include John (Maddog) Hall, author Eric Raymond, Chris DiBona from Google, and Dirk Haehnel of Intel.

"I'm expecting a lively session, because these are very opinionated men. They'll give us a lot of good anecdotes from the past, and help us to see where Linux is going in the future," Kendall maintained.

The five panelists from the "first 20 years" presentation will also serve as judges for this year's iteration of the traditional "Golden Penguin" quiz fest.

"We asked them all to be contestants. But [one of them] replied, 'No, we're so much better than the competition that it wouldn't be a fair fight'," quipped Kendall, who first joined IDG just prior to LinuxWorld San Francisco 2005.

On the whole, IDG will tool this year's San Franciso event to emerging trends in the Linux community, particularly those that stirred up a lot of interest at the Boston show. Consequently, attendees can anticipate considerable content around both mobile development and HPC (high performance computing)/virtualization.

Dell--another company that contributed a keynoter in Boston--plans to present a 'virtualization showcase' on the San Francisco expo floor. "Dell has been in and out of LinuxWorld for years, anyway. They saw what Intel did with its grid showcase in Boston. They said, 'We'd like to do something like that, too,'" she elaborated.

Among some of the keynotes in San Francisco next month, XenSource CEO Peter Levine will speak on virtualization, and Richard Wirt, general manager of Intel's Software and Solutions Group, will tackle grid computing. Guru Vasudeva, AMP and enterprise chief architect at Nationwide Insurance, will give the CIO Keynote. Greg Besio, a corporate VP at Motorola, will hone in on mobile Linux.

On the mobile side, too, Palm will host a "developer day" during the San Francisco show, aimed at Linux developers who are looking at taking their applications mobile.

Also with the interests of the technical crowd at heart, Larry Lessig, a professor at Stanford University Law School, will present the opening day keynote.

"For three years in a row now, Larry has scored a 'perfect five' on attendee scorecards," Kendall pointed out.

The LinuxWorld San Francisco umbrella will encompass an assortment of other one-day conferences, too, such as "health" and "financial" days, a "Best of Brainshare" day from Novell; CIO Day, and a brand spanking new Channel Day.

But why is IDG holding two vertically oriented conferences in San Francisco, with the Open Source Summit now slated for February 14 and 15 in New York City?

"That's a good question," Kendall responded. "You can consider this sort of an 'early preview' of what we'll be doing in New York."

The conference in New York, however, will revolve largely around case studies, she said. These case studies will focus on technology tracks such as security, network management, and HPC/virtualization.

Unlike the old Linux Business Expo in New York, the new Open Solutions conference will not include vendor exhibits.

And speaking of vendors, why is IDG planning its next OSBC conference in San Francisco for May 2007, when LinuxWorld San Francisco is taking place this August?

"The people who attend OSBC will be some of the same people who are manning the booths at LinuxWorld. So we can't [ask them] to be at two events at the same time," Kendall told LinuxPlanet.

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