COMDEX is the second largest computer trade show in the world, offering multiple convention floors with 2,000 exhibitors plying their new computer products to approximately 200,000 attendees in Las Vegas, Nevada in November of 1995.
Open Systems World in DC had a Linux track and exhibition at the same time as Comdex and drew many of the Linux Vendors who otherwise might have been at Comdex. A few Linux Vendors were, however, represented at Comdex: WorkGroup Solutions, DIOS, InfoMagic, Walnut Creek CD-ROMs, and Linux International.
Linux International is a not-for-profit organization formed to promote Linux to computer users and organizations. Mark Bolzern of WorkGroup Solutions and Belinda Frazier of SSC helped coordinate Linux volunteers at the Linux International Booth. Belinda and Mark offer their thanks for the energy, enthusiasm, and hard work of the Linux International Booth volunteers: Tom Lang, Bob O'Connell, David Mills, Charles (Russ) Lyttle, Joanne Wagner, Jon Gross, Vassili Leonov, Kevin Chau, Ralf Schmidt, Bjoern Roth, Roland, Baer, Joel Sager, Karlos Smith, Michael Hawes, Frank Keeney, Allison Keeney, Scott Rasmussen, David Harlan, Rob Flickenger, Bryan Thompson, and Mark Samarraie.
At the LI booth, the response to Linux was overwhelmingly positive. Questions ranged from “I've heard a lot about Linux, but I'm not sure what it is. Can you enlighten me?” to “I haven't checked for a few days—what is the latest development kernel?”
There was a certain “underground” feel to the Linux booth, surrounded as we were by the large, flashy, expensive displays of the Windows and Mac worlds. This was reinforced by the people walking by, giving us the thumbs up and saying, “Glad to see you guys here—I love Linux!”
Comdex attendees tend to be small or medium business owners, and we fielded a large number of questions regarding the suitability of Linux in a small to medium sized business setting, often spending a lot of time discussing the integration of Windows machines with some sort of central server (Linux of course!).
We also talked to a number of Internet Service Providers (ISP) who were interested in moving from their current setup (often Windows NT) to something that was cheaper.
BYTE Magazine named WorkGroup Solutions WGS Linux Pro 3.0 Runner Up for the the “Best of Comdex Award” in the category of operating systems. The winner was the Apple Newton 2.0. We hope Linux will emerge the winner next year.
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