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Looking back at LinuxWorld. Now that your editor has had some time to recover from last week's LinuxWorld Conference and Expo, it's time to gather together a few thoughts on what was seen there. The Linux world is changing quickly, and there is no better place to see what's up - at least on the business side - than LinuxWorld.
And the business side is doing great. One had to look hard to find unhappy people on the exhibit floor. With very few exceptions, anybody who has been active in the Linux arena for any period of time is in a good position. If you have code, technology, revenue, or readership, you probably have numerous options to choose from. Almost everybody who wants to cash in is able to do so. A rising tide lifts all boats, and this one is rising in a hurry.
How will the Linux community change as a result of this flood of cash, jobs, and stock options? When everybody who wants to has made their deal, will the volunteer spirit remain? At LinuxWorld a year ago, the .org area was known as "the ghetto." This time around, your editor heard it referred to as "acquisition alley" instead. Times have changed.
The interesting thing is that, if anything, the spirit of Linux shines through more strongly now than it did a year ago. Business may be changing Linux and open source, but it is equally true that open source is changing business. Any self-respecting business on the exhibit floor was emphasizing strongly its contributions back to the Linux community. Contributing to open source is not only seen as a requirement for good corporate citizenship; it makes good business sense.
The definitive example from LinuxWorld may well be the Trillian project. Numerous companies that are otherwise in competition with each other have come together to produce something that benefits everybody. This cooperation may well be unprecedented, and the result is Linux support for a new processor before it starts shipping.
Thus, this editor left New York with the observation that, while the world is changing, there is much cause for optimism. The benefits of open source are too great to be submerged under a flood of money. We have succeeded, and the world - while far from perfect - is a better place for it.
Enough of that, time to get to the important question: who had the best giveways at LinuxWorld? Swag hunters with children quickly passed the word about the nice, LED-equipped bouncy ballsbeing handed out by Compaq. Those in the know could also request the special ones with noisemakers as well, but most parents know better.
Those without children may think instead that the battle was won before the exhibit floor even opened by Maximum Linux Magazine. Their Fedex box arrived at the office at the end of January, and contained a LinuxWorld survival kit: a badge-holder pouch stuffed with a box of Penguin caffeinated mints, an "anti-bacterial hand gel kit" (useful after that unwelcome handshake at the LinuxOne booth), and a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey. There was also a first-aid packet with aspirin, presumably meant for recovering from extensive use of the mints and the whiskey...
LWN's coverage of LinuxWorld can be found on this page.
Linux Expo/LinuxWorld Paris was held at the same time as the New York event. A couple of sites have coverage of this event - both in French. On Cyperus is an extensive set of interviews with participants, including Richard Stallman, Jeremy Allison, and more. And ComputerChannel.com has a set of stories as well. Here's a Babelfish link for ComputerChannel.com - unfortunately Babelfish doesn't get along with Cyperus.
Real-time Linux is patented. Some RTLinux users have been surprised that the RTLinux concept is subject to patent number 5995745, held by veteran RTLinux hacker Victor Yodaiken. This patent was issued on November 30, 1999, and covers:
Mr. Yodaiken's plans for the patent are evidently being worked out in cooperation with Linux International and Linus Torvalds. The components of those plans, according to his posting on the subject, would appear to include:
Embedded systems everywhere. People have been saying "embedded Linux will be big" for a while yet. Here's some announcements from the last week which demonstrate that the reality is catching up with the hype in this particular area:
The acquisition of Andover.Net by VA Linux Systems, along with a number of other acquisitions, is covered on this week's Commerce page. We are pleased to offer as well a guest editorial by Scotty Orr on the subject. Mr. Orr believes it is far too soon for this sort of consolidation in the Linux world, and explains why.
Inside this week's Linux Weekly News:
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February 10, 2000