In addition to the exhibition hall there were a number of talks and workshops in the "Fachkongress" hall opposite. Many of these talks looked interesting but unfortunately for me many of them were in German and given that my German language skills consist of "Ein Bier" they weren't of much interest after all. In addition to the main talks there were also some side events such as one on Friday which was talks and workshops devoted to Debian.
I did manage to get along to a couple of the talks though:
The first was "Commercial Involvement in Open Software" by Ken Coar of the Apache Software Foundation / IBM. This was about how IBM teamed up with the Apache organisation and worked with them in a move which has been successful and followed up since further by both IBM and other companies. It was a very interesting and often entertaining talk contrasting the way business and open source developers work and how they can (and did in IBMs case) work together. I also liked the way Ken neatly avoided the Open Source Vs GPL debate by coining the term "Open Software" to cover both. Although as he pointed out, the goals of both are same and the difference really only applies to distribution.
The second talk I attended was "Free Software in the Knowledge Society" by Sandro Zic of ZZ/OSS Information Networking. This wasn't so much of a talk as a discussion about knowledge being free or not and how can it pay the bills if it's free. This was also the first time I'd ever heard the term "Just in Time learning". One point he made was how MySQL hired their developers, essentially they hire people who show themselves to be consistently competent on their mailing lists.
There seemed to be a number of parties and events in the evenings, I only managed to go to one, Thursday nights "social event" which was attended by what must have been a couple of hundred geeks at least. After a while food was served but I opted for the cold food mainly due to the fact that the hot food queues were so long.
We got talking to a couple of guys from a University in Norway who were talking about clustering, free software and the joys (or not) of working in an academic environment. An interesting point they raised is that it is quite possible to do a PhD in software without writing a single line of code! My Colleague (who also happens to be doing a PhD but writes plenty of code) agreed heartily.
Being a social event there was plenty of wine and beer flowing as well as other non-alcoholic drinks. Good luck if you had a beer, the queue was long there as well.
Some consider Linux as not being ready for the desktop yet but I suspect that for many office type users it is just fine and as such more are likely to use it in the future. Some large companies apparently think similar to this and with increasing support from them Linux migration will only increase further. This will pave the way for other alternative Operating Systems and applications. Looks like the computer industry is deciding that choice is good after all.
While much of the development of Linux was and is done outside of the corporate environment this is changing. There were many stands of different companies all selling Linux related products and services. With major enterprise players such as SAP having a stand there can be no doubt that these days Linux means business, serious business.
Here are just some of the pictures I took at the event (6 pages).
About the Author:
Nicholas Blachford works for Genesi and his work includes working with developrs to get different Operating Systems ported to the Pegasos PowerPC based motherboard. Currently there are 16 different Operating Systems and distros working or on their way.