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Recent Linux Conferences


Unix Expo 1996, October 8-10 in New York

By Lydia Kinata

This show was actually billed as Unix Expo Plus I^2--a nod to the increasing interest in all things NT and Internet. In fact, in 1997 the show will no longer be called Unix Expo at all, it will be billed as IT Forum 97, Internet and Technology Forum.

Despite a preponderance of Internet and NT related vendors and seminars, (and the ubiquitous presence of Bill Gates), the show went very well for Linux Journal and SSC. Various disasters struck, notably the loss of half of our booth display by UPS, but all in all it was quite successful. With the exception of Caldera, all of us Linux-types were stuck off in the corner of the show room, but we were still swamped by happy Linux and Unix users who had specifically made the trek in support of their favorite OS. The show in general had a lower attendance than was expected by show management, but the Linux contingent were doing quite nicely anyway.

2,500 Linux Journal and 1,600 WEBsmith magazines were given away. Many people subscribed right there at the show, many others went away clutching their SSC Unix References or books with dazed-but-happy expressions. Those of us working the booth made lots of contacts, and I must say it was a great experience meeting subscribers and customers who share such enthusiasm for Unix and Linux. Those NT developers should take note: Unix users are a dedicated bunch.

New York was a blast, although I had to laugh when the locals got panicky when a 'Nor-Easter' blew through. I had to say, "Come on, guys. It's just raining." They should come to Seattle some time.

--Lydia Kinata, SSC Products Specialist

Copyright © 1996, Lydia Kinata
Published in Issue 12 of the Linux Gazette

DECUS in Anaheim

by Phil Hughes, phil@ssc.com

On November 11 through 13, Carlie Fairchild and I attended the DECUS show in Anaheim, California. While DECUS has generally been a good show for SSC, this show was small and we were the only Linux vendor attending. The best guess why is with UseLinux coming up in the same place in January, it was an easy show for people--vendors as well as Linux-heads--to skip.

There was a series of talks on Linux presented by Jon "maddog" Hall and myself. Attendance was between 20 and 50, and I think we managed to make some converts.

Carlie had also arranged for to speak to the local Linux user's group on Wednesday night. About 25 attended (including "maddog"). I presented a talk called Looking at Linux. Much of this talk focused on the commercial viability of Linux, which was an issue many of the group's members had been attempting to address on their own. In the talk I stressed four criteria for commercial viability:

  • reliability,
  • interoperability,
  • support
  • and capabilities.
The talk was well received and the meeting turned into a informal discussion of Linux in general. I look forward to talking with these people again during the UseLinux show.

--Phil Hughes, Publisher Linux Journal

Copyright © 1996, Phil Hughes
Published in Issue 12 of the Linux Gazette

Open Systems World/FedUNIX

by Gary Moore, ljeditor@ssc.com

The first week of November, I went to Washington, D.C. to attend Open Systems World/FedUNIX. While several dedicated Linux fans came by the booth, most of the people I talked to knew very little about Linux. Some were just cruising the booths, collecting whatever anyone was giving away, but we don't mind--the literature they picked up may spark some real interest later on. (One show attendee, in addition to taking a few of whatever we had also took the neat twirly thing we'd acquired from another exhibitor's booth.)

Linux vendors in attendance were Yggdrasil Computing, InfoMagic, and Red Hat Software, giving me a chance to meet Adam Richter of Yggdrasil, Bob Young and Lisa Sullivan of Red Hat, and Henry Pierce and Greg Deeds of InfoMagic.

Adding credence to Linux's worth in the minds of those with no free software experience was Digital Equipment's display of a DEC Alpha running Linux and Maddog's enthusiasm for the operating system. (By the time I got over to actually see the machine, someone was demonstrating Quake on it. I sat down and showed him a couple things I remembered from playing Doom--it was kind of surreal to be sitting amidst all the professional frumpery of the show while virtually running around swinging a very large and lethal axe.)

Jeff Leyland of Wolfram Research, the makers of Mathematica, spoke about Wolfram switching to Linux as their development platform. There were other speakers I should have made time to hear, but I got caught up talking to people coming by our booth and asking about Linux. I know that after a few talks, the Linux booths would get flooded with people excited to check it out.

I also heard Ernst & Young--well known for their accounting services among other things--apparently use Red Hat Linux in-house and asked IBM, with whom they contract for computer services, to support their Linux machines. (If you're from Ernst & Young, please send me some mail. We'd like to hear about how you're using Linux.)

Adam Richter predicted a new version of Yggdrasil's Plug-and-Play Linux in the first quarter of 1997. At OSW they had pressings of their new 8-CD Internet Archives set, which includes several distributions, including a couple I hadn't heard of before.

I would've felt cutoff from the world (yes, even in D.C. on election night) if it hadn't been for David Lescher, who set me up with some dial-in PPP access for my laptop, and David Niemi, who made some necessary tweaks to my chat script. I'm also grateful to Mark Komarinski, who put together a Linux talk on very short notice when I found I was dangerously close to having no time whatsoever to prepare one myself.

The Santa Cruz Operation was there giving away copies of their Free SCO OpenServer. Someone who'd just acquired one of those gems asked me why she'd be interested in Linux if she had OpenServer; I noted its limitations and handed her a copy of Linux Journal, hoping to plant a seed. Some attendees were being less subtle, affixing prominently to their big blue IBM literature boxes the Linux bumper stickers we were giving away.

--Gary Moore, Editor of Linux Journal

Copyright © 1996, Gary Moore
Published in Issue 12 of the Linux Gazette