August 09, 2004
LinuxWorld, 2004, San Francisco
Several of us from $Job went to LinuxWorld in San Francisco last week for one day. Our team's product was being introduced/showcased there, and we went to show the flag. I was relatively pleased. After two years of taking only part of the exhibit hall floor, the show actually filled most of the room!
The embedded and enterprise areas seem to be going the best, and some major vendors like AMD, Sun and Wyse were there. [Disclosure: I currently contract for one of these.] AMD was touting not only their Opteron 64 bit processor toys, but also their low power Geode processor for embedded applications. One vendor, had tiny embedded linux microtops, with wireless, touchscreen, and pcmcia slots. The size was perfect for use as a book reader, IMO. At $1000, I won't be getting one soon, but it would fit nicely in my regular bag, and weigh less than Linux in a Nutshell
Many tools vendors were there, including Perforce (source control), Parasoft (automated testing), and InstallShield (installation automation). The nice thing about this is that many of these vendors are cross platform, therefore making it easier for developers who've previously tied to windows tools to migrate to Linux.
The publishers were also out in force, featuring O'Reilly, Apress, Prentice Hall PTR, and Sams/Que. I was "lucky"?? that I didn't have a lot of money to spend, or I'd have brought home about ten new books. (I'm a book junkie, BTW.) Also, both LinuxWorld Magazine and Linux Journal were there, having weathered the dot bomb storm, albeit lean and mean.
What was interesting was who wasn't there. The casualty list seems to include LinuxCare, who used to be there with bootable rescue CDs every year since 1998. Microsoft also didn't show, apparently giving up on the illusion that they were Linux "Compatible".
What would a show be without swag! While not as lavish as in the heyday of the dot bombs, it still was pretty decent. The usual contests and drawings were there, as well as a decent selection of T-shirts (I came home with 6). There were the usual evaluation CDs, including an evaluation copy of StarOffice 7 (time limited). A couple places had baseball caps, and I picked up one - handy on a sunny day.
Then there were the gadgets. I picked up three that I particularly found delightful. The first was a USB cell phone charger, from Wyse, with an attachment that fits my Motorola phone. Nifty. Then IBM's Cloudscape had a little Lexar 32 M USB key with their info on it, plus room to spare. It looked really nifty on the booth person's lapel as a clip on, too. Then, a case vendor and VIA ITX Mainboards had these nifty pen/stylus/laser pointer goodies - well made, like the Via boards themselves (drool) and the mini-ITX style cases. These three were tied for first place in the useful swag department, in my opinion.