San 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.
Walking a bit further, someone with a familiar face passed me by. I immediately recognized Linus Torvalds. He was walking alone, with a… smile in his face. I could see he was feeling pretty happy (and that is not just women’s instict ;). I decided to talk to him, he was very kind and cool, but also seemed a bit… lost, as he was there for an appointment and he couldn’t find the appropriate booth. 😉
The biggest booth of all, was HP’s. I did not like it and to be honest, I don’t quite understand their business with Linux. Instead, I asked for information about… HP-UX. They did not have anyone from the HP-UX team on board, while Sun did have a lot of Solaris stuff to show off just a few meters away from the HP booth. In fact, the Sun’s booth was shared to many projects, like Solaris, StarOffice, Sun Linux, other third party Solaris-related companies and Gnome 2.0 (btw, their default configuration of Gnome 2 is even worse than the default Gnome 2). Also, all the CDE applications instead of evenly show in the Applications menu, they have their own folder on the root of the menu, called “CDE”. Great integration Sun. NOT.
The booth that had by far the most people of all, and it was packed all the time, was Red Hat’s. These guys are big. They ran the whole show at LinuxWorld. You go to Sun, they use Red Hat. You go to Google, they use Red Hat. You go to some other booths and products, and they still use Red Hat. Robert Young was there, very obviously happy, discussing business with some other people in their booth’s mini-lounge. Ximian was using a bit of Red Hat’s space floor too.
And if Red Hat was the strong player there, SuSE was the weakest one. SuSE gets the award for the worst “professional” booth at LinuxWorld. I was very disappointed by the people who were running it. The booth was very plain, they had nothing to give to visitors, and the guys were so no-enthusiastic, that really depressed me and made me wanna go away from their booth. Half of their booth was about SuSE Linux 8 and their email server product, and the other half was about UnitedLinux. Very few people around them. And the exhibitors did not help with their attitude. I heard from other media people (I went there with a “media pass”) the exact same complaints for their performance.
And talking about Red Hat and SuSE, the biggest absent from the show was Mandrake! Where did these guys go anyway? A lot of Linux-friendly companies and lots of OSS projects were missing, but Mandrake’s was the most obvious and un-excused one. [Update: I now hear they were there, under the AMD booth. Well, they were completely… undetectable.]
Intel’s, IBM’s and Borland’s booths were pretty big, Intel was showing lots of embedded stuff. Netraverse was there showing their three products, Covalent, Google, and also lots of embedded-related companies.
This LinuxWorld was a bit corporate, not many geeks around, but still always a few, mostly around the .org pavilion. The kinds of products mostly presented there were either for the embedded world, or for servers. In fact, because of this very professional/corporate embedded-feel of the Expo, even Microsoft’s presence was kinda making sense… However, in general, nothing ground breaking was shown in this Expo…
The highlight of the Expo would be AMD’s multiple Opteron presentations really. And I am not even a lot into hardware (still happy with my dual 533Mhz)… It was kinda of a let down to not see ANY new desktop-oriented application presented at the Expo. There was no company exhibiting, that its commercial products would be truly for the desktop. No professional DTP applications, no video editors, no Illustrator-killers, no high end audio apps or 3D. Nothing. Just embedded and server stuff. A lot of Linux users try to convince us or establish the idea that Linux is or can be big on the desktop, but the absence desktop-oriented exhibitors, tell the opposite story so far – and this is indeed kinda of a let down.
Just 15 minutes before I leave the building, Michael Bego, the Xandros VP, spotted me (because of my back pack, a woolly sheep-bag 🙂 and we talked for a while. Mr Bego is an exceptional, kind young man. He really does not deserve your harsh criticism to their (unreleased yet) product guys. He told me that because of the feedback from the OSNews forums, the colors and some of the icons and other elements of the UI will be changed and will be ready for the last beta, before the final release of the product. He also told me that the large majority of the Xandros Desktop 1.0 will be open sourced completely, and only some of their enhancements to the file manager, installer and some wizard pref panels that they were engineered from scratch won’t be opened immediately. In fact, the company is studying the possibility of opening their source code at some point, to a (stricter) license scheme similar to SuSE’s Yast2. But it is not certain yet, it is still under discussion. They are about 25 people working today for Xandros. I asked Mr Bego which kind of desktop users Xandros targets: The Linux-aware desktop users, or the completely unexperienced ones. Xandros apparently tries to play nice with all. He also said that Lindows bases some of their under-the-hood code on the Xandros one, however “While we both have similarities, we both do a significant amount of development in our own directions. That said, there are cool features that Xandros has that Lindows does as well. If you check them out, they have some pretty similar neat wizards,
etc. that others don’t,” Michael said. However, Xandros respects the users and root Unix accounts (while on Lindows you are only logged in as root).
I got some pictures from the expo, but my camera is not digital (neither I am sure it works, haven’t used it for 2 years :), so I will have to find some time and go and print them. It might take a couple of days to do so. Update: The pictures can be found here.
My… LinuxWorld Awards:
1. Best Booth: AMD
2. Worst booth (ever): SuSE/UnitedLinux
3. Most crowded booth: Red Hat
4. Less crowded booth: X.org and 2-3 others.
5. Most interesting project: Aurora Linux.
6. Most interesting product: Borland Kylix.
7. Most interesting person: The main Microsoft guy. Wasn’t that guy sharp or what?
8. Sweetest person I talked to: Sharp Zaurus marketing manager (spoke to her at the Intel booth too) and Michael Bego.
9. Sleepiest person I talked to: All these guys at SuSE/UnitedLinux… What were they thinking?
10. Best Free Gift: Sun’s Gnome2 light pen! Kewl… 🙂
Until next year!
Wow, sounds like it was fun. Red Hat’s Under the Brim (newsletter) last contest was about thinking up gimmicks that they could do at the expo — any idea what these gimmicks were?
>Wow, sounds like it was fun
Yeah, it was cool.
>any idea what these gimmicks were
What do you mean by “gimmicks”? 😮
But they don’t have their own booth (money problems?)
I did not see them! Were they wearing the AMD shirts? If yes, there would not be a one in a zillion chance to spot them specifically. Like with the Lycoris situation. They were completely undetectable! And especially Mandrake, should have a bit more space and a bit of its own design.
Excellent review of the show. I heartily agree with your opinions. I was there from 12:30-4:30 today, and I spent a great deal of time at the Red Hat booth (being an ex-Red Hatter, I did a lot of schmoozing with some old friends 🙂 and it WAS crowded.
Too bad we didn’t bump into one-another (actually, we may have, as we’ve never met in real-life!)
Yeah, it would have been cool to meet up!
But hey, I think you are living 15 mins from where we do, maybe we can arrange something.
Eugenia: Were they wearing the AMD shirts?
They never said what cloths they were wearing. But at the AMD booth, you should have spotted a box that is running Linux. Check to see if it has any Mandrake logos on it. Raise your handbag and prepare to hit the monitor with it. Soon a Mandrake guy should come. Works all the time in Malaysia (only, I use my fist).
Eugenia: And especially Mandrake, should have a bit more space and a bit of its own design.
Well, They didn’t own the booth. They should have wore Mandrake T-Shirts though, but I think it was AMD, IBM and HP that caused them to go there. Going for such events, especially for a non-US company, is very expensive.
Anyway, I found Xandros’s PR to be the best I have seen ever from any Linux-only companies. For example, when I send a email to Mandrake, I get something that isn’t professionally written (for example, Microsoft becomes M$). Only, it comes 2 months after I sent it. But to Xandros, for all three emails I have sent, the person replying it replied within a day, explain it fully to me, and the email was very professional. I wish guys like Transgaming, Codeweavers, Mandrake, Ximian, SuSE etc. learn something from Xandros. Lycoris is the only company that could rival Xandros. What I got from Red Hat on the other hand, if my message is about a current product, an URL. If it is about a beta, “Sorry, we can’t discuss about unreleased products”.
I tried to get in but they were asking for ids so even though I was prepared to pay $30 I was turned away. I don’t carry any ids on me. I guess they want to verify the information that you give them. I know for a fact that the last one in San Jose didn’t ask for them.
I decided not to bother, after that. So I went home, pissed of course after spending a couple hours on the bus and in line, and worked on Linux. How ironic. Eugenia, do you know the deal with the ids?
Redhat seems to be putting up a new beta on their ftp server, i notice a folder called “null” which at the moment can only be accessed by server admin. which wasn’t there before also after a quick search on google i havn’t come across any previous redhat beta’s called null
ftp> cd pub/redhat/linux/beta
250 Directory successfully changed.
200 PORT command successful. Consider using PASV.
150 Here comes the directory listing.
drwxr-xr-x 2 0 0 4096 Jul 13 10:13 fisher
drwxr-xr-x 2 0 0 4096 Aug 14 23:34 limbo
drwxr-xr-x 2 0 0 4096 Jul 13 10:13 lorax
drwxr-xr-x 2 0 0 4096 Jul 13 10:13 mustang
dr-x—— 3 218 218 4096 Aug 14 22:31 null
drwxr-xr-x 3 0 0 4096 Jul 16 22:07 pensacola
drwxr-xr-x 2 0 0 4096 Jul 13 10:13 piglet
drwxr-xr-x 2 0 0 4096 Jul 13 10:13 pinstripe
drwxr-xr-x 2 0 0 4096 Jul 13 10:13 rembrandt
drwxr-xr-x 2 0 0 4096 Jul 13 10:13 roswell
drwxr-xr-x 2 0 0 4096 Jul 13 10:13 skipjack
drwxr-xr-x 2 0 0 4096 Jul 13 10:13 starbuck
drwxr-xr-x 2 0 0 4096 Jul 13 10:13 thunderbird
drwxr-xr-x 2 0 0 4096 Jul 13 10:13 wolverine
226 Directory send OK.
>What do you mean by “gimmicks”? 😮
Sorry, I should’ve been a bit more explanatory. This is from the July UTB:
“There are no limits to the depths some companies will go to attract attention.
Ok, maybe there are limits. You’re going to help us find out. Your task for contest 34: Come up with the best way we can attract attention to the Red Hat booth. No matter how wild or shameless. It helps if your entry somehow relates to Red Hat or Linux. But as past tradeshows will tell you–that’s not always necessary.”
The August newsletter came out a couple of days before LinuxWorld, but they would’nt say what the winning ideas were because they were going to use them!
Nice review Eugenia! Thanks for clueing us in.
> Redhat seems to be putting
> up a new beta on their ftp server,
That would be cool. Has anybody confirmed this? Looks like Red is developing real fast these days.
It’s just betas… not stable releases …
It’s just betas… not stable releases …
Since we all know Enlightenment is the best WM there is would have been cool if they had a booth showing off E17
-Jay Beale (lead developer for Bastille).
-Bruce Perens (author and open source evangelist).
-Rob “CmdrTaco” Malda (founder of Slashdot).
-Arthur Ulfeldt (student at the University of California).
-Jeremy Allison (cocreator of the Samba project). Geeks team leader.
-Dave Sifry (cofounder and chief technology officer of Sputnik).
-McAllister (director of strategic technologies at Egenera).
-Miguel de Icaza (founder of Ximian).
Host and referee was slashdoter Chris DiBona
Geeks had racked up 12,500 points while the Nerds had 11,500. In the final round, DiBona asked both teams to name as many Linux distributions as they could. A feminine version of Tux, the Linux mascot, danced on stage during the final tally.
Damn! I was betting for the Nerds.
“All of you guys are doomed,” groaned Jeremy Allison, a veteran of three losing Geek teams.
Next time is going to be a landslide…
Wonderful report, Eugenia!
The SuSE people surprise me. They have such a great disto, yet don’t seem to care.
Xandros is a puzzle to me. I’m so glad to hear you had a chance to talk to Mr. Begos.And a poster reported getting prompt emails from Xandros, which is great. but, they are so silent about theor upcoming product. It hope it’s great.
Wasn’t Xandros going to announce something important at the conference? Wasn’t their an office package or something ????
No personal offense intended to Ms. Loli-Queru, but this article came off as a first draft, perhaps transcribed over telephone by a fourth-grader.
The grammar and content were inappropriate for a business audience. The smileys were part of parenthetical asides (which should not have even bee present, eg. this kind of aside). The tone was glib and too familiar, more like conversation with a cocktail waitress than a professional account.
I am appalled that this article could make it into piblication without anyone proof reading it. However, it gives me great confidence that perhaps I can be a journalist, too. Perhaps I need to hit the bong or the martini bar before writing up my adventures, however. The standards of OS News seem to reflect those of drunken airliner pilots. I guess this is the price society must pay for fewer liberal arts majors in the world.
>The grammar and content were inappropriate for a business audience.
I give no flying monkey if it was “inappropriate for a business audience.” OSNews is my hobby. The fact that it happens to be successful, is a… byproduct of my work. I do the best I can, with the knowledge I have from the english language. I seek no further knowledge of it. I need to learn French now, as my husband is french and I can’t speak it at all…
What do you mean by “business audience”???? This is a news site made by a few individuals who do it mostly for fun and not in order to cater to a “business audience.” At least that’s what I understand this site is all about.
Most people who are interested in OS news are geeks. It would be nice if the articles didn’t contain any typos or other mistakes but who cares?
What’s wrong with a familiar tone? At least there is no marketing crap flying around.
Mike, your comment drips with monumental pretentiousness, insensitivity and hypocrisy. More likely than not, judging by your living in Colorado and having a stock American name such as yours, you aren’t proficient in a language aside from English… if you do, more power to you, however. Eugenia is not a native speaker of English, cut her some damned slack! It makes me sick to be an American considering how quickly we judge non-native English speakers despite our complete linguistic ignorance.
So, allow me to be coarse: you and any other English nazis out there can go straight to hell!
So, allow me to be coarse: you and any other English nazis out there can go straight to hell!
Why do people always have to use this Nazi word? Most of you probably don’t even know what it means otherwise you wouldn’t use it. If you want to make a point please do so more eloquently and not by lowering yourself to use common-place stereotypes.
I was being intentionally coarse, as noted. And, aside from not wanting political correctness to stand in the way of my making a point, I feel that the word’s use in this case was at least somewhat justified; after all, were not Nazis horribly close-minded, oppressive, fascist party?
Please stay on topic guys (LinuxWorld), or this whole thread wil have to get moderated down. Thank you so much for the moral support, but we should be staying on topic…
I read one additional review of Linux World, and it went on and on about corporate participation – blah blah. Yours had a much more positive bent, and was an entertaining and informative read. It’s nice to see the big names paying attention. As an aside, stories like this make OS News a daily stop for me – please keep them coming.
To ‘Mike’. Perhaps you should double check your own spelling before ranting about someone else. If not, I’d enjoy seeing what kind of ‘piblication’ you yourself can come up with.
Thanks Paul and everyone else.
Well … I’ve seen them as well, they certainly stand out. A good strategy at a tradeshow I think.
Anyway – thanks for the report; this is exactly the sort of artcile I like to read about a show. Not commercial, corporate or too serious. Well done.
Me? I was day dreaming about going to LinuxWorld someday (I’m in London), perhaps even this one. Especially when I heard MS was there. I wanted to give them a piece of my mind basically. I like a good argument!
Why was HP there? http://www.hp.com/linux/
Why was Sun there? http://www.sun.com/linux/
(It also doesn’t appear the author was aware, however CDE is Sun’s default WM. Gnome is an option).
Interesting to note the author has no knowledge of real hardware, just concerned with that which is pretty on x86.
p.s. $ cat article | editor
You are talking complete trash.
Of course and I know what HP does for Linux, I just don’t like it. Just pure consulting and other shit like that. I want to see real CODE, I want to see project involvement.
As for SUN, you have misinterpreted my article. I HAVE USED CDE. I know very well, what is default today and what will be default tomorrow for Solaris.
Take your trolling elsewhere please.
> You are talking complete trash without having no idea who I am or what I do.
Are you a mobster or a journalist? I am simply replying with my perspective of your article.
> Of course and I know what HP does for Linux, I just don’t like it. Just pure
> consulting and other shit like that. I want to see real CODE, I want to see
> project involvement.
HP does a lot with Linux. Have you seen http://www.hp.com/linux? What about http://linuxworld.netcomsus.com/? http://www.parisc-linux.org? What have you done to contribute if you don’t feel they are moving fast enough?
> As for SUN, you have misinterpreted my article. I HAVE USED CDE. I know very
> well, what is default today and what will be default tomorrow for Solaris.
It’s unfortunate that is not apparent in your article. I wouldn’t have guessed you’ve ever used anything other than your dual-cpu x86 box based on the article, however I will take your word for it.
> Take your trolling elsewhere please, not on my site.
You’re welcome for my criticism.
It was no doubt the best report so far, but I’m far more interested in the anecdotes. For example, what did the MSFT guy say that was so interesting? I imagine he admitted freely that the irony was lost on no one, but that he was personally interested in free software.
Yashy: Why was Sun there? http://www.sun.com/linux/
(It also doesn’t appear the author was aware, however CDE is Sun’s default WM. Gnome is an option).
An Solaris 9 update would ship GNOME 2.0 as default. It won’t happen in 9.0 because GNOME 2.0 couldn’t be as ready for Solaris before the Solaris 2.9.0 release.
Yashy: Are you a mobster or a journalist? I am simply replying with my perspective of your article.
Neither. She is officially NOT a journalist. She is also (hopefully) officially NOT a mobster. But I heard she is an evolved form of an homo sapien (evolution, *gasp*). 🙂
Some told me the M$ stand was blue with white letters…
Can someone give some example of how or why the MS guy impressed Eugenia? A lot of techies have charisma (considering the general anti-social behavior that working with technology requires), but this Linuxworld wrap-up (& my experience at previous ones) makes it apparent that even the best companies (SuSe, Mandrake, etc.) don’t have enough charsimatic PR people. Of course, MS can afford to hire the best (& Apple has real celebrities lined up behind them). But everyone else can make up in spirit what we lack in money (kudos to Eugenia, BTW). For example, the Debian crew is always gung-ho cuz they know they’re the most free .
I saw _Revolution OS_ and the biggest names in open source, Perens, Raymond, Augustine, didn’t present themselves well. Linus is a great poster boy, but he’s only one guy (& busy). Stallman’s great but shunned by corporations. I like Michael Tiemann, but where is he now? Bob Young does his Red Hat thing. The rest are just nerds–no offense, that’s me, too. This Xandros guy sounds interesting, but any business plan based on repackaging Debian is bizarre at best.
So MS shows up with basically nothing, and manages to make an impression. How’d they handle the crowd? Eugenia says the main guy was sharp, so I’m guessing no Ballmer-esque monkey-boy dancing?
I am a woman. And I do have a charisma of my own: Most of the times, I can see through people.
And this guy was certainly a winner (opposite to a “loser”). He was so sure of himself, of the product, of what he was doing there. He wouldn’t take a second to think of your questions. He had the answer already underneath his tongue. The guy was just way too clever, too fast for me to follow.
The rest of the people I spoke there, were good, bad, intelligent, tired, boring, interesting or common. But he was just on the top of all of the other people. He was just the man for the job. No wonder why Microsoft hired him.
Now I remember why I loved BeNews (I remember when you got married; bonne chance learning French)! Thank you, Eugenia, you’re doing great work.
The whole MS+Linuxworld thing must have been aimed at the suits who attended. That MS guy may naturally have been really sharp, but I bet a lot of it was due to good planning and positioning. Redhat’s strength seems surprising, but otherwise the distributions would have been almost invisible. I bet they drew in all the SuSe & Mandrake users, too.
Hopefully, embedded systems will turn out to be more viable and fun than they have so far. MS killed Be to delay tablet computing until Windows is ready (which it’s still not, hence the whole shared source WinCE). GNU/Linux can still win that race. Apple & Palm don’t seem committed enough, but would make it interesting.