Big boxes at LinuxWorld

Want to see the latest in quad-core servers? Go to the LinuxWorld Conference, going on this week at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Want to check out Motorola’s latest cell phones? Want to see racks full of blade servers? Want to see the Palm Foleo mobile computer, “the perfect companion for your smartphone”? Go to LinuxWorld.

If you want exciting news about Linux, maybe it is hiding there somewhere, but I sure didn’t find it.

Perhaps it’s because Linux has reached a level of maturity where most changes are very incremental. Perhaps it’s because LinuxWorld hasn’t captured the heart and soul of the Linux industry, which values newsgroups over face-to-face gatherings. Perhaps it’s because the plethora of Linux distributions bogs everything down so much that you can’t refer to Linux with the same singularity that you’d use to describe Windows or Mac OS X or Solaris.

The fact that IDG World Expo, the producers of LinuxWorld, chose to mash this conference up with a new event, “Next Generation Data Center,” should have been a tip-off that this wasn’t, well, a Linux conference. Data centers buy blade servers and UPSes… and there were plenty of those at the combined LinuxWorld/NGDC event. Data centers don’t buy software development tools, and there were sadly few of them in evidence. Of the more than 100 technical sessions at LinuxWorld, only a handful were focused on desktop/server applications and development.

By contrast, there were tons of sessions on mobile device development at – though, admittedly, most of those were conducted by Motorola, which paid big bucks to sponsor LinuxWorld this year. The company was out in force talking about its brand-new MotoMagx Linux run-time and development platform for cell phones. Another big-dollar sponsor, Wind River, ran classes on real-time device development. Beyond that, most of LinuxWorld was geared to either basic Linux tutorials or on hardware, hardware, hardware (specifically, quad-core and blades).

Fortunately, San Francisco’s Moscone Center is only a half-hour’s drive from my office. Had I traveled farther to LinuxWorld, or spent money on airfare or hotels, I would have been seriously depressed.

Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick
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