posted by Olin Wread on Thu 21st Aug 2003 06:44 UTC
IconThrongs of people flooded into the Moscone center in San Francisco to get a glimpse at what is new in the Linux world. Once again, the Linuxworld Expo came to the West Coast making a stop at the Moscone center in San Francisco August 5-7. The show floor was filled with a mix of software and hardware vendors. Somehow, I was not expecting to find so many hardware vendors at what is otherwise a show about simply an operating system. Editor's Note: Mr. Wread sumbitted this report the day after the expo, and it has been stuck in mailing list server purgatory.

Some of the larger booths on the show floor were Sun, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Red Hat, SuSE, HP, Dell, Computer Associates, and AMD. The vast majority of the vendors plied for large walleted customers, displaying products like expensive RAID cards, racks full of servers setup in Beowulf clusters, high-end management software, database software, visualization and video editing workstations. All the things that a Linux geek dreams of owning but very few can afford, except those who were taking time off work to do a little vendor shopping for their company. Some of the less represented in the exhibits themselves were those from the open-source community. Many a company chatted up the charms of open-source software but few had products that were licensed under the GNU public license. Red Hat, SuSE, Gentoo, and one small booth called "Open Source" were the best known of the open source booths. One booth was trying to get people to sign up for a Linux credit card, a percentage of which would support open source software.

The LinuxWorld Expo is an interesting mix of the corporate world and the Linux community rolled into one. Since floor space requires money, closed source vendors such as AMD, Sun, IBM, and Oracle owned most of the larger booths. Red Hat and SuSE had the largest booths for companies using the open source model. SuSE was right next to the Red Hat booth.

Some of the highlights of the show are covered below:

These were my favorite of the whole show. These robots scoot around powered by Via C3 processors running Linux with a radio antenna on top. From this photo it is evident that they experimented with different video cameras.

The Via booth was very crowded with people. It was difficult to get this shot and the one before it without having someone block the camera.

This is an 8 channel serial ATA RAID host adapter made by Highpoint.

Also at the Highpoint booth was a PCI-X Serial ATA RAID host adapter.

Highpoint had an external Serial ATA adapter. This promises to be a high-performance external drive interface. Not even Firewire (IEEE 1394) (50MB/s) can match the speed of Serial ATA (150MB/s).

Vovida had some interesting open source protocols.

This system was in the AMD booth section and contained a massive beowulf cluster of AMD Opterons and Athlon MPs. Under the software management system the cluster could be broken up into several different clusters. The software was designed for fail-safe operation so that if a single server in the cluster died it would not bring down the whole cluster. Something wasn't working quite right on the system when I saw it so the exhibitor is keeping the monitor down.

This Appro is a dual-processor Opteron 242 workstation with 1.6 gigahertz CPU's supporting up to 16 gigabytes of RAM. The system had an 8X AGP PRO slot. The system was running SuSE Linux Enterprise edition for AMD-64 service pack 2 showing off Tachyon ray tracing software.

Close up of previous photo.

This system is a Linux setup designed to take the place of a proprietary UNIX system. At the heart of the system is SuSE Enterprise Server specially modified by Computer Associates to support z/VM management.

There were many Opteron systems at the Linuxworld Expo. This just so happened to be the largest system running 4 Opterons. The box ran the AMD reference design motherboard with support for up to 32 gigabytes of memory. SuSE Linux Enterprise Edition for AMD 64 was running on the system.

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