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The second LinuxWorld Conference and Expo is happening as this is typed. It has been an interesting week, thus far. Here are a few of our observations:
  • Attendance seems to be down somewhat this time, though we have seen no official figures. The tutorials were much more sparsely attended, and there seem to be fewer people around in general. Many possible reasons for this exist. SIGGraph is also happening this week, and has probably drawn some people away. Others will be attending the O'Reilly conferences later this month instead. And, after all, this is the second LinuxWorld in the same place in six months, maybe people have seen enough.

  • Another reason may be that the technical program is much weaker this time than it was last Spring. There are fewer big names on the program this time around. Many of the people who were here last Spring are instead going to Monterey for the O'Reilly show. Thus, this time, LinuxWorld is more of a pure trade show.

  • The exhibit floor is much bigger, but there are not necessarily a lot more exhibitors here. There are certainly more large booths, the companies have spread out somewhat. Some new folks this time around include the huge Dell booth, and a presence by Motorola, Lineo, Slackware, FreeBSD, and others. Sun has two booths this time: one of them is dedicated to recruiting.

  • The ".ORG Pavillion" has replaced "the ghetto" from last time around. In general, the noncommercial groups seem to be treated a little better this time around.
There are some nice facilities this time, such as the "laptop garden" with ethernet connections at which this text is being typed.

Please see our LinuxWorld page for our coverage of the event, pictures and more.

A full wrapup of what has happened here will take some time, and will be present in next week's issue. For now, it's all a blur. At the same time, it is amazing what one can get used to. The first LinuxWorld was striking in that it made it clear how much money was going into Linux. This time around is just as glitzy, but that's just the way the world is now. Linux is obscure no longer.

Speaking of money, Red Hat's IPO launched on Wednesday as scheduled. Prices immediately shot up to over $50 per share, and closed at $52, despite a market that has been hostile to IPO's recently. Red Hat's ability to overcome the direction of the market shows just how much interest there is in Linux businesses. Almost 18 million shares were traded - meaning that each share changed hands three times over the course of the day. Truly a busy day.

Given Red Hat's success, expect many more Linux-related IPO's in the near future.

In another sign of the times, Andover acquired Freshmeat.net, adding it to their Linux site portfolio alongside the recently-acquired Slashdot. There is quite a bit of consolidation beginning to happen in the Linux world, expect to see much more of it.

The problem of viruses. Will you be cracked next? asks Eric Raymond. This short piece looks at a number of security problems - such as viruses - and points the finger directly at Microsoft. It's a good piece that will, with luck, bring a little enlightenment to the mainstream press.

Given that most of the LWN staff is at LinuxWorld, parts of this week's newsletter will be a little thin. We should be back up to full coverage again next week.

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August 12, 1999


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