Novell Boxes Up Twenty Years of BrainShare

For the past twenty years, one of the jewels of the Novell calendar has been the annual BrainShare conference. Highlights have included, among many others, 2004's surprise appearance by Linux-creator Linus Torvalds — reportedly also attended by SCO arch-villan Darl McBride — and the 2008 revelation that Big Bird was switching to SUSE. It seems those memories are all that will remain of the conference, however, as Novell announced this morning that the conference has been canceled.

The announcement, from Novell Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer John Dragoon, cuts straight to the point, immediately stating "This note is to inform you that Novell will not be holding its annual BrainShare conference in Salt Lake City, Utah that was scheduled for March 2009." Dragoon goes on to note that the cancellation is the result of the current economic situation, though not necessarily due to any difficulty on Novell's part. The cause, he states, is the unwillingness of Novell customers to commit to attending the 2009 event due to concerns about tightened travel/expense budgets — concerns, he stresses, that Novell understands.

In lieu of the conference, Novell will be offering a collection of "online classes, virtual conferences and local tours" aimed at providing customers with the same "high-quality training and enablement offerings" they would have received in Salt Lake City. It is Novell's hope, according to Dragoon, that these alternatives will "will allow everyone to participate in our education and training...without incurring the high cost of travel." Specific schedules for these and other "on-demand" activities are to be announced in January.

Those who were already registered for the conference will receive a refund from Novell, within 1-2 business days for credit-card payments, and "before the end of the calendar year" for those who payed by other means. Any hotel or travel reservations should be canceled directly with the provider. Other questions or issues should be addressed to Novell directly.

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