The Wide World of Linux, Part 2

by Jason Schumaker

It's 8:30 AM and I am sitting at the Linux Journal booth. The show doesn't begin until 10:00 AM, so I am mostly alone. The folks from Sun Microsystems are preparing for the onslaught of passersby (rumored to be over 30,000 per day). Jeff Gerhardt just stopped by, and grabbed a tin of Penguin mints to provide a jolt for a long day of interviews for the Linux Show. I am finishing my second cup of coffee while organizing the highlights of the second day of LinuxWorld.

Yesterday was exhaustingly similar to the first: another day spent running from appointment to appointment, collecting press kits, t-shirts, squishy balls, stuffed animals, hats and drinking more coffee than I thought possible--and I'm from Seattle! (Thanks to Crystal from Merlin Software for the free coffee coupon.)

While the tradeshow floor occupies a finite space, the number of companies represented seems infinite. I am beginning to suspect I just haven't yet discovered the second floor. It took me until late yesterday to discover the .org pavilion! I plan on talking with the folks from Debian, LinuxToday, User Friendly, Linux Central (you get the picture) later today.

Of course, the biggest news from yesterday (and probably from the entire show) was the announcement that VA Linux has bought Andover.net. Reaction around the show floor was mixed and most tended to say, "I don't know what to think about it just yet." Acquisitions and mergers are becoming old (and often red) hat to the Linux community. Quite frankly, my opinion on all the recent acquisitons has changed. The large sums of money being thrown around to acquire other companies is new to the community, but unavoidable. What worries me more, and what probably worries the majority of the Linux community, is the idea of acquisitions from outside companies. Still, at least it wasn't IBM or some such giant snatching up the major source of news dissemination for the Linux faithful.

Highlights from yesterday included scalping tickets to the Knicks/Trailblazers game, but that has nothing to do with Linux! I did speak at length with the people from Hewlett Packard and was rather impressed with their booth, which included an IA64 system and much more. I sympathized with them, as every half hour they were forced to deal with an extremely annoying rap band playing at the SCO booth. It (not rap, in general) has to be some of the worst "music" I have every heard. No apologies. The coolest thing from the Hewlett Packard site involved a new page set up specifically to assist people in locating the right hardware and software for nearly anything. This is a collaboration with Aalborg University in Denmark, and is a free technical support service.

I actually began my morning with a nice breakfast with Illiad and the User Friendly team. We met at the Fitzpatrick Hotel, and dicussed some interesting ideas that you just might be hearing about soon! Thanks to Illiad for the Dust Puppy, and the autographed copy of his first book. Work on the second book is apparently near completion.

After meeting with members of the Covalent team, who work closely with those on the Apache project, I found my way to the Linux Journal booth, where a number of show attendees were nearly asleep in our ultra-comfortable, inflatable penguin chairs. Constantly on alert for thieves, the Linux Journal marketing team handed out free magazines, mints, and a chair every thirty minutes or so.

The show is rambling along, and duty calls. I am off to the award ceremony called "Show Favorites", which are decided by conference attendees. IDG has already announced the IDG/Linus Torvalds award, which went to the XFree86 team. They grabbed a cool $25,000 to help with further development. Congratulations! I'm off to schmooze and find out how the show will wrap up. Where's my coffee?

The results are in! Here is a quick list, with links to LinuxWorld 2000 "Show Favorites".

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