LinuxWorld Expo 2004 San Francisco

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Pictures from the Expo:

Perhaps the previous LinuxWorld Expo events were a bit amateurish, or lacked focus, but not this one. This is probably the first LW Expo "with a theme". We all knew that Linux is here to stay, but perhaps what we weren't told so far was where exactly was going to be the penguin's lair. Thanks to the LWE 2004, we know that now. Ladies and gentlemen users of Linux, welcome to...

The Age of the Datacenter

Where were the games? Maybe someone was displaying games, but i didn't see any. Where were the cute little things that found Linux and the Open Source as a last refuge after the dot-com boat sunk? Last year, they were still on the Expo floor, desperately clinging for life. Not this time. There's nothing better than a few seasons of harsh climate to weed off underperforming life forms and to let the viable species thrive on the cleaned-up ecosystem.

The Mighty Datacenter was everywhere. Servers, clusters of servers, and clusters of clusters were the big stars of the show. The "grid" was a big buzzword.

Intel was showing off, together with SGI, two big Altix supercomputers, that are supposed to run everything from a huge database to a NASA space shuttle simulation.

Oracle was touting loud and clear just how much they love Linux, and how dedicated and devouted... Well, you get the picture, they swallowed Linux raw - hook, line and sinker. But the MySQL booth was just too close, and just too much the same in size and activity. The border between the old empire and the young rising power was still peaceful, but i've got the "unexplicable" impression that it's a peace that isn't going to last for too long...

A cute yet obnoxious penguin was kidnaping people and luring them to the Computer Associates booth. I got rid of the silly bird by taking a picture together and then running off quickly. You can see my escape in the pictures that i took (see link above).

One of Sun's multiple selves was on the Expo floor. I guess the other components of the split-personality syndrome were complaining bitterly, but muffled by the treatment, and were threatening with a penguin-killing spree once Dr. Jekyll hands the reins over to Mr. Hyde. In any case, the Linux-loving self that participated to the Expo was big and loud, albeit kinda boring.
For a second, i asked myself "where's SuSE?" That, until i stumbled upon Novell's big booth and my senses came back to me. Close to it, the competition, Red Hat, was delivering presentations one after another, the corporate machine gun sizzling red hot (pun intended).

AMD had a very nice pet project, an autonomous motorcycle (a bike without a pilot) that was supposed to manage to "keep the rubber side down" all by itself, without human intervention. The one on the Expo floor had its wheels buried into sand, as if to keep it from taking off. But i saw a movie where it demonstrated its capabilities and all i can say, as a battered owner of a fast and nervous sport motorcycle, who had a few too many encounters with the law of gravity, that "autonomous" gizmo was pretty damn impressive. The onboard computer was running Linux, of course, and was based on the new AMD64 chips, of course.

The little guys

Funny how the quick evolution of a software and how its penetration into the corporate realm can change the landscape. The big names, that previously were ignoring Linux, or even frowning upon it, were having huge colorful booths. While, at the same time, the guys who started it all, the small organizations and the non-profits and the enthusiasts were pushed to the dark corners of the Expo floor.

I'm talking here about Gnome and KDE and Gentoo and and everyone else in the same category - they were all having their own booths, and of course these are the people who "lighted the fire" - yet their booths were, ironically, mom-n-pop type of things. Sure, the floor space at the Expo costs money, and big, heavy money at that, but somehow i couldn't stop from noticing the pseudo-paradox.

Well, that was it.

Interesting? Yes. Surprising? No. We all knew that Linux is taking the datacenter by storm. We all know all too well that it's still kinda weak in the other areas. And the "desktop revolution" is still in its infancy.

Maybe next year...