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[Don't Fear the Penguins.]

The Future of Linux, 14 July 1998

By Greg Roelofs

Photo Album

The Future of Linux was set up as a panel discussion and was held at the Santa Clara Convention Center (in the heart of Silicon Valley) on the evening of 14 July 1998. It was hosted by Taos Mountain and the Silicon Valley Linux Users Group (SVLUG), and it was sponsored by them, Intel, Red Hat, Linux Journal, and VA Research. Apparently it was considerably more popular than Taos expected; people stood in line between 40 and 60 minutes to register, and the free food and free VA Research/Linux t-shirts ran out. I didn't get a firm count, but Taos said 850 people had RSVP'd, and it appeared that at least 700 chairs were occupied, possibly upwards of 900 or more. (Other reports have claimed ``more than 850'' and ``more than 1000''; apparently quite a few people chose to stand near the front rather than sit in back.)

The panel was a distinguished group: Jeremy Allison, one of the lead Samba developers; Larry Augustin, founder of VA Research and member of the Linux International (LI) Board of Directors; Robert Hart, from Red Hat Software; Sunil Saxena, from Intel's Unix Performance Lab; and, of course, The Man himself, Linus Torvalds. [And while I know there are a lot of Linux fans who like to pronounce ``Linux'' with a long `i' sound (LYE-nucks), and despite the fact that Linus himself doesn't care how anyone else pronounces it, he unquestionably did so with a short `i' as in ``linen'' (LINN-ucks). In Swedish he presumably still pronounces it the third way, roughly ``LEE-nooks.'']* It was moderated by Michael Masterson of Taos, who traded off questioning duties with Phil Hughes, all-around hairy guy and the publisher of Linux Journal.

The panelists were given a pair of questions ahead of time and five minutes (per panelist) to respond to each. The evening progressed more or less as follows:

wait in line...keep waiting...trade RSVP form for name sticker
get free t-shirt / whimper about missing food and lack of dinner
demos / sit down
panel's semi-prepared responses to first question
audience Q & A
moderator Q & A
panel's semi-prepared responses to second question
more audience Q & A
door prizes
demos / schmoozing / fall-on-knees-and-worship-Linus / etc.

Note that in each section I've included various editorial comments in [green brackets], usually [italicized].

Thanks to the following people for their corrections and additional info; any remaining errors or omissions are solely my fault:

  • Jeffrey Chapman
  • Michael Cope
  • Michael Hicks
  • Dan Kaminsky
  • Joe Klemmer
  • Ian Kluft
  • Anas Nashif
  • Brent J. Nordquist
  • Alexandre Petit-Bianco
  • Jason Riedy
  • David Sundqvist

See also Taos Mountain's announcement (including a streaming video of highlights), SVLUG's summary/reviews page, EE Times' article and Slashdot's discussion of it, InfoWorld's article, Rafael Skodlar's report at the Tasty Bits archive, Forbes' cover story, Mark Tebbe's InfoWorld column, and, of course, Slashdot's discussion of this very report.

Finally, here are some interesting developments from the week following the event:

Note that a number of other relational databases, including Computer Associates' Ingres II, have already been ported to Linux. And, of course, the most popular web server in the world (Apache) has run on Linux for years and happens to be freely available as well.

* Oh yeah, and vi rules, too. Here, take two of these  :-)  :-) and don't flame me in the morning... We all love Linux regardless of how it's pronounced, right??
Last modified 28 July 1998 by newt@pobox.com , you betcha.

Copyright © 1998 Greg Roelofs.

Copyright © 1998, Greg Roelofs
Published in Issue 31 of Linux Gazette, August 1998