Linuxworld London 2006 – Report
Well, the 2 day extravaganza is over and Linux fans have yet again scattered to the four winds.
It was fairly well attended, although I think that it has been better attended in the past. I have read that a continuing problem with these expos is that the big companies (Novell, Red Hat, IBM, etc) are no longer waiting for the sessions to bring out their next big things which means that there is less incentive for the press to follow them. And less reason for anyone else to go. If this is the case, it does show that Open Source software is moving yet farther away from it’s “community” background and further into the realm of big business. This could mean that future shows will be split between “trade shows” and “public shows”. This will be a very sad thing since the grass roots community were pretty much all that kept the whole thing going for quite a while.
Anyway, enough nay-saying and doom-mongering, what went right? As ever, the LinuxQuestions.org stand was well attended by the moderator team: Jeremy came over from Buffalo, David_Ross attended from Scotland, Vusi attended from Leeds (and Zimbabwe), Mara came over from Poland, Chris from the Midlands and me from the South East. So far that equals the previous record of 6 staff members attending at any one time. We had a mix of visitors: some who knew Jeremy and needed to talk with him for whatever else he has in the pipeline, some who were members and wanted to say hello and put faces to the Moderator team and people who had never ever heard of us (which I find hard to believe!) and wanted to say the now standard catchphrase “I have a question for you….” Pity poor Jeremy who attends multiple expos a year and must have to hear this each and every time.
We were sandwiched between the Free Software Foundation’s stand and the CentOS stand. As a forum, we are at a bit of a disadvantage – the FSF were selling t-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers, etc and CentOS were displaying their distribution. We, on the other hand, were selling ourselves. LQ is very much run and maintained by volunteers, all of whom do this on top of their day jobs and other outside interests which means that we had no physical product to hand to people. That said, once we explained what we were about, we had some fun chats and some interesting problems presented to us.
The nice people from Apress also dropped by. Apress are a publishing company who are in much the same business as O’Reilly. Both publishing houses produce technical books on a range of subjects. Apress books, however, have not been around as long as O’Reilly and don’t have the history with Linux that O’Reilly do. I expect their market share to increase over the coming years though. Maybe they need a logo gimmick like O’Reilly to make their books even more recognisable. At the moment, their covers are yellow, which makes them indistinguishable from the “…For Dummies” books. Just a thought.
Tux Games definitely deserve an honourable mention here. They had a very small stand tucked away in a back corner well away from the normal flow of things. They did have a number of visitors though and also set up a couple of PCs to demo games like “Postal 2”. They also ran prize draws throughout the days which, unfortunately, I didn’t win. Maybe next year they’ll let me win and I can give them a much bigger paragraph 🙂
And now for the annual rant: the .org village where were sited was even smaller than last year. While I appreciate that we are not paying for the stands and that the businesses are paying a fair old whack for theirs, the .org village is something that should be pretty integral to the event – before people were making serious money from Linux, we were there hacking away, writing programs and generally promoting the system through word of mouth. Without the home and very small office user, there would be no Linux.
That said, we had an enjoyable time meeting and greeting people and it was great to meet up again with members of the Mod team of LQ and to meet Mara and Vusi who I had only previously known online.Â See you all there next year!