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COMDEX Fall '96

By Belinda Frazier and Kevin Pierce

Comdex has come and gone once again. COMDEX is the second largest computer trade show in the world, offering multiple convention floors with 2000 exhibitors plying their new computer products to approximately 220,000 attendees. The Fall 1996 show was held last November in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This show was a great success for Linux in general. The first ever ``Linux Pavilion'' was organized at the Sands Convention Center and Linux vendors from all over the country participated. The Linux International (LI) booth was in the center, giving away literature and information for all the Linux Vendors. Linux International is a not-for-profit organization formed to promote Linux to computer users and organizations. Staffed by volunteers including Jon ``Maddog'' Hall and Steve Harrington, the LI booth was a great place for people to go to have their questions answered. Needless to say, the Linux International Booth was never empty. Surrounding LI, were Red Hat Software and WorkGroup Solutions.

Other vendors in the pavilion included Craftwork Solutions, DCG Computers, Digital Equipment Corporation, Frank Kasper & Associates, Infomagic, Linux Hardware Solutions, SSC (publishers of Linux Journal), and Yggdrasil Computing. Caldera, Pacific HiTech, and Walnut Creek both exhibited at Comdex, but not as part of the Linux Pavilion.

SSC gave out Linux Journals at the show and actually ran out of magazines early Thursday morning. Luckily, we were able to have some more shipped to us, but we still ran out again on Friday, the last day of the show. Comdex ran five full days and the Sands pavilion was open from 8:30 to 6 most show days which meant long days for all the exhibitors there.

Show management put up signs, directing attendees to the Linux Pavilion and to "more Linux vendors". The show was so large that it was easy to get lost.

At the LI booth and at SSC's booth, the response to Linux was overwhelmingly positive. Questions ranged from ``I've heard a lot about Linux, but I'm not sure what it is, can you enlighten me?'' to ``I haven't checked for a few days---what is the latest development kernel?''

For next year's Comdex in November '97, Linux vendors, coordinated by Linux International, are already working to put together a Linux pavilion at least three times as big as the one this year.

Vendors interested in being part of the Linux pavilion in November '97 may contact Softbank who put on Comdex at mandino@comdex.com or to do this through Linux International, contact ``Jon Maddog'' Hall via e-mail at maddog@zk3.dec.com.

Copyright © 1997, Belinda Frazier & Kevin Pierce
Published in Issue 13 of the Linux Gazette