I just came back from the CeBIT, the anual fair in the Messehalle in Hannover Germany. It is one of the biggest computer and communications technology fairs in the world and certainly the biggest in Europe. Here’s my mini report (which also includes information about YellowTAB’s Zeta).
At the fair all big (and small) vendors of hardware, software and operating systems were present. Linux had a third of hall 6 at its disposal but unfortunately the vendors didn’t do much with it. Red Hat was present with a small booth showing its enterprise version of Linux for AMD 64-bit. There was SuSe; and also a company selling an embedded linux starterpack, which was very interesting. It had a book (unfortunately only in german) along with all required hardware (AMD 486-clone, small motherboard, ethernet controller, rom-flasher, etc.)
Strangely, Microsoft was largely absent. They had a large section of one of the halls for their partners of various sorts, and a smallish (though large compared to any of the linux booths) display, in cooperation with Phillips, of their new range of smartdisplays. These are displays you can unhook from their monitor-stand upon which they promptly turn into Windows CE-based wireless tablet PCs with a remote desktop session running to your home PC. Running very nicely at 11 Mbps, but still a bit pricey at $1200.
For me, the most interesting booth was tucked away in a small part of Hall 11 (D05). Companies like Phillips, Sony, HP etc. had hired sections about 100m in length with a width of perhaps 50m. In Hall 11 I went to see a booth totaling maybe 3 meters in each direction. There, YellowTab was displaying its upcoming Zeta OS. I managed to talk to one of the developers of Zeta for a while and ask him some questions. Firstly let me enlighten you about some of the misconceptions and confusion about the licensing scheme they have for the code. They had licensed the code from Be ‘before’ Palm bought them out and at that point had gotten a license to use the code indefinitely. Yes, this means unless YellowTAB also makes a ‘focus shift’ they are here to stay and are not just building a hybrid R5/Dano version but a new and complete OS. Furthermore the demo they showed me looked very far along and stable and they told me they would be releasing within probably four to six weeks. Read more about Zeta at CeBIT, on BeOSJournal.org.