A Linux Conference for the Rest of Us

by Jon "maddog" Hall

Jupitermedia and I have put together a comprehensive and unique conference for enterprise computing customers considering Linux, open-source products and open services as solutions for some of their information technology needs. The Enterprise Linux Forum Conference Fall 2003 will be held October 22-23 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.

When Jupitermedia contacted me to be the program chair, I decided to take a different approach to setting up the conference. Instead of creating a theme and then sending out calls for presentations, which invariably creates an atmosphere for companies to come and sell products, I created an entire curriculum of sessions architected to give attendees a complete view of where Linux can be used effectively in the enterprise today. For each session, I then wrote an abstract of what needed to be covered, in order to make sure that all of the information was presented to attendees in an orderly fashion.

Only after this set of sessions and abstracts was complete did we start contacting companies, distributors and organizations to discuss the various speakers. I called upon people that I have known and trusted for years to come and tell the straight story. This is why attendees are going to be hearing from some nonprofit organizations as well as from some of the largest computer companies in the world, from some vice presidents as well as people in the trenches. All of these people are highly qualified to discuss the sessions for which they were chosen. Most of them have been requested to speak world-wide at various free and open-source events.

First of all, we have a solid track of Linux for the Executive, geared toward the nontechnical elements of business plans, licensing and how Linux and open source can make and save money.

Next, we have a track geared toward the more technical side of Linux, but not so technical that a CTO would find it hard to navigate. This technical track is aimed at informing non-Linux programmers and system administrators about unique and novel ways of adopting Linux to their already existing enterprise.

Finally, a series of case studies will be presented that describe how Linux has saved or made money for various types of enterprises.

In the evening, we will have a series of focused presentations from vendors who can help attendees with specific problems they may be having.

A vendor exhibition will be presented throughout the conference, as will demonstrations by invited Linux User Groups. The LUGs will be demonstrating various uses of Linux and talking to attendees about user groups and their experiences with Linux.

We feel Enterprise Linux Forum is a Linux conference for the rest of us. Although current Linux users certainly are welcome, the presentations, speakers, demonstrations and vendor floor are aimed at non-Linux users who still have questions about whether they should start using Linux and how to go about making the move.

I think this will be an exciting conference for the business or senior technical person who is looking for the straight scoop on free and open software, and I look forward to meeting you at the event.

Jon "maddog" Hall is President and Executive Director of Linux International.

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