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Dominos Falling

Hi gang. Well, we've just gotten finished with Linux's annual Main Event -- the summer LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San Jose. As with every LWCE, it was certainly an enlightening experience. The expo has grown so rapidly that lots of vendors were unable to buy space on the show floor. It is scheduled to move to bigger digs next year.

Hi gang. Well, we’ve just gotten finished with Linux’s annual Main Event — the summer LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San Jose. As with every LWCE, it was certainly an enlightening experience. The expo has grown so rapidly that lots of vendors were unable to buy space on the show floor. It is scheduled to move to bigger digs next year.

As with each of the previous shows, there were many new vendors present as well as the usual assortment of “old school” Linux companies and traditional “big guys” who have woken up to the promise of Linux.

Despite the wide variety of companies at the show, there was definitely a feeling in the air that Linux is making major inroads when it comes to certain technologies. For example, I kept thinking about that scene in the movie “The Graduate” where some guy gives Dustin Hoffman that famous piece of advice: “I’ve got one word for you… Plastics.” Only in the context of Linux, I would replace plastics with “clusters.”

There seemed to be a great deal of activity surrounding cluster-based solutions. Everyone from VA Linux to IBM to some newer companies with names like SteelEye and Linux NetworX were proudly displaying their Linux-based clusters. When you think about it, Linux makes tremendous sense in this context. If you purchase hundreds of machines at a relatively low cost, and you put them together in a cluster, it would cost you tens of thousands of dollars more to equip those machines with a proprietary OS. With Linux, you can cluster together the largest number of machines at the lowest possible cost.

Actually, it’s not really fair to say that clusters dominated the expo. They were a major part of it, but there was also a ton of activity surrounding embedded systems, “Internet Infrastructure” and (believe it or not) Linux on the desktop!

The Linux on the desktop angle was especially interesting. Not only did Eazel announce that their Nautlilus GUI preview release 1 was ready, but Miguel de Icaza and his HelixCode company announced the formation of the GNOME Foundation. The GNOME Foundation was joined by Sun, IBM, Hewlett Packard and Compaq. The big deal here is that all of these companies announced that they would be shipping GNOME as the standard GUI on all of their Linux systems. Sun went further and hinted that they may consider replacing CDE with GNOME as the standard interface shipping with Solaris. Sun is also making StarOffice available under the GPL, and it will become the standard “GNOME Office.”

Of course there were also some companies that were doing some really innovative and interesting things. Most notable among those new companies was a start-up named 3Ware. 3Ware is helmed by a group of very smart ex-SGI folks whose goal is to revolutionize the storage industry. Their first product is an IDE-based RAID controller; and, based on the people I met and the products I saw, I’d say that these guys have a good chance of standing the storage industry on its head.

The new companies keep coming, and the old guard of computing keeps lining up behind Linux. Like dominos falling one by one, Linux seems to be re-shaping the entire industry.

I wonder what next summer’s LWCE will look like…

See you next month,

Adam Signature

Adam M. Goodman

Editor & Publisher

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