posted by Eugenia Loli on Thu 15th Aug 2002 06:31 UTC
IconSan Francisco, Wed. 14th Aug 2002. This was my first Linux-related exhibition, so I did not exactly know what to expect. Jill from DesktopLinux came by the house and picked me up this morning (thanks Jill :) and we arrived there around 10:40 AM, with lots of enthusiasm and some expectations for a nice geek show. However, it seems that this year's LinuxWorld is much more corporate than expected. Which is both a good and a bad thing for the Linux universe.

First booth I visited was AMD's. Their booth is right at the entrance of the South Hall, and it is nicely designed, with lots of space to move around. Main highlight was Opteron. While they had a couple of Athlons running, most of the machines, shows, speeches and specials were all about Opteron, Hammer and the x86-64. I think it is obvious that AMD does not try to race against Intel and Pentium4 (which will be running at 3 GHz in two months) as much anymore. They are already behind in the 32bit x86 speed race, running at 1800 MHz (2200+) with the AthlonXP CPUs already maxed out in both speed and heat. Opteron/Hammer is the future of AMD, and this LinuxWorld really made it a lot more clear where the company is heading to. The whole show at AMD was about it. They also had some benchmarks going on running IBM DB2 on a 800 MHz Opteron, which performed well. The SuSE Linux used for their tests, was able to run both 64-bit and 32-bit compiled applications at the same time. For example, SuSE itself and DB2 was compiled as native 64-bit, while the Opera app I launched was a 32bit app running side by side with the 64-bit ones. Very good integration between the two architectures. Two in one, smooth switch.

Next booth I visited was Trolltech's. They had on display the brand new ED.1 PDA, which has a folded, full keyboard! The device is kind of stuffy though, pretty thick. I asked them what their current relationship is with KDE and what if the KDE project requires some changes to the API, and they replied that they mostly do modifications for embedded or cross platform aware customers, so if a feature is not cross-platfom "enough", or many customers haven't asked for it, the feature probably won't get implemented if it is only needed by KDE. (Hey Waldo, masquerade as a Trolltech customer and ask for that QSplitter... ;)

The .ORG pavilion was cool -- full of real geeks. A lot of open source projects found a roof in the LinuxWorld, even if their exhibition space floor was minimal. The Debian guys were there, I bought their t-shirt for a tenner (they were joking that "KDE 3 for the next Debian will be released in 2008 or 2009), Gnome were just next to them, and it was ran by various people at different times of the day. I would have bought a Gnome t-shirt too, with the new logo on it, but the printed logo was really small, so it was really not justifying the $15. I talked to a couple of people on both the Gnome and KDE booths, asking for interoperability, perfect collaboration between Qt and GTK+ applications, and they told me that more and more developers are getting sensitive into the issue and they seek ways to do so. Today, the MIME types format is now understandable from both KDE and Gnome and they see this as the first step of the collaboration.

The NetBSD booth was just next to KDE's, but no one and nothing was there. It seems that the guys didn't make it to the expo.

The OpenOffice.org booth was full at all times. In fact, it had more people around it than the StarOffice booth. Lots of people were asking questions, like what is the difference between OOO and SO6. I talked to a gentleman at the booth and he told me that some Gobe people were there, and they were all discussing the idea of creating a new, XML-based, common format, that will be accessible from all major Linux offices and word processors, including SO, OOO, gobeProductive, KOffice, AbiWord etc. He said that the current OOO format is not that great and it is a bit heavy, so they would like to work together towards a new common format.

The MotifZone was there too, and except the fact that they wouldn't like using QT or GTK+ "because not all features or widgets are there", they were clear that they only target the corporate market, or other heavy Unix developers, and not as much Linux or *BSD. Recently, they added the ability to compile a Motif application with a new look that looks better, in their surprise, the corporate devs still use the traditional Motif look.

Some of the Gentoo Linux PPC guys were there, they were... compiling... hmm... compiling... :)
I was eager to meet Daniel Robbins, but he had to fly that day, he was present only the first day of the expo.

I stopped by the Aurora SPARC Linux project, who have basically back ported the Red Hat Linux 7.3 to SPARC after Red Hat stopped supporting the platform. Interesting project. Their version of Red Hat (which of course does not have any logos or mentions to the company to avoid legal issues) runs on all 64bit SPARCs, and they now port the new Installer to the 32bit SPARCs, so their port would be truly complete.

CodeWeavers were there, they were presenting Office under Linux, and they are creating two new products, one of which is the ability to run Photoshop properly under Linux! In fact, they had a beta ready to ship, but they found some last minute bugs, that put the release on hold. Just on the other side of CodeWeavers you would find the PogoLinux guys, but I had no idea that Jason Spisac from Lycoris was using it as shared booth. There was no Lycoris logos or big posters anywhere, so I missed him. If I regret one thing from the whole show, is that I didn't meet and talk to Jason. :(

Just a few meters away, Microsoft's booth was packed. Lots of people, were looking at the three products Microsoft was presenting there: WebMatrix, a 1.3 MB free ASP.NET IDE, WindowsCE with its shared source code and Windows Services for Unix 3.0. Everything was normal and smooth at their booth, lots of people interested or simply curious.

The Sharp's booth was also packed at all times. They were selling the Zaurus for $300 (which is the price they sell it to some of their resellers). The PDA can be found in retail as low as $325+tax+shipping.

Table of contents
  1. "Part I"
  2. "Part II (and even more interesting)"
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