1998 Atlanta Linux Showcase

One of the most notable aspects of this year's show was the variety of attendees, over 2000 in all.

The 1998 Atlanta Linux Showcase was held October 23 and 24 in downtown Atlanta, GA. Thanks to Greg Hankins and the rest of the Atlanta Linux Enthusiasts, it turned out to be yet another tremendously successful Linux gathering.

One of the most notable aspects of this year's show was the variety of attendees, over 2000 in all. Visitors spanned the gamut from faithful Linux geeks to the merely curious. Coupled with the wide variety of exhibitors and speakers, these guests made the 1998 ALS one of the most diverse crowds ever for a Linux show.

Among the 60 participating vendors were most of the usual suspects, such as Red Hat Software, Caldera, Debian, S.u.S.E. and SpellCaster. Adding to the excitement of the show was the presence of a few noteworthy newcomers. Oracle gave Linux users a sampler CD-ROM of their database system, and Informix also presented their database applications. Corel showed off both the NetWinder and WordPerfect 8 word processor for Linux. San Mehat, NetWinder developer, even showed off his pet project—a ten-processor Beowulf cluster that he carried around in one hand. Even Schlumberger had a booth where they talked about their smart card embedded with the Linux OS (see “Muscle Flexes Smart Cards into Linux” by David Corcoran, Linux Journal, August 1998).

The show was tied together with a one-gigabyte backbone set up by Cabletron. Registration was run on Linux-based PCs. In fact, one Microsoft employee we talked to felt very much in the minority. Hopefully, he ordered a Cobalt Qube or NetWinder to take home.

Other exhibitors included Jeff Bates and Rob Malda of slashdot.org. The GNOME team was out in force, showing us the fruits of their labors. Miguel de Icaza gave a talk on the GNOME project. Several retailers were represented, such as Linux Mall, Linux Central and the Linux General Store.

Many leaders of the GNU/Linux revolution were on hand. Eric S. Raymond was there making his always-brilliant philosophical observations about the power and importance of Open Source software. Also present was Richard M. Stallman: the man who can be said to have started it all.

As expected, a few important announcements were made, in particular by keynote speakers. Allen Miner, Vice President of Strategic Business Development at Oracle Corporation, gave the first keynote speech. Mr. Miner reasserted Oracle's commitment to Linux and announced several key partnerships with other Linux vendors. Look for Linux to figure more prominently in Oracle's future.

Dr. Michael Cowpland of Corel talked about the future of his company's relationship with Linux. He also announced that Word Perfect 8 for Linux would be available as a free download for personal use in the near future. The rest of Corel's productivity applications should be available on Linux by early 1999. Corel also recently announced plans to team with Red Hat to port more software to their NetWinder.

The surprise hit of the show was the caffeinated Penguin Peppermints handed out by LJ representatives, including yours truly. Folks lined up three rows deep at the booth to pick up these treats.

To no one's surprise, this year's Atlanta Linux Showcase was yet another testament of Linux's growth towards complete world domination. As the list of independent software vendors, value-added resellers and retailers supporting Linux grows each day, the outlook for the future of Linux is quite optimistic.

Norman M. Jacobowitz is a freelance writer and marketing consultant based in Seattle, Washington. He can be reached at normj@aa.net.

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