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A Linux Journal Preview:
This article will appear in the May 1999 issue of Linux
LinuxWorld Conference & Expo
By Marjorie Richardson
Back home from LinuxWorld, the first Linux conference held on the West
Coast, I am finding it difficult to concentrate and get back in the normal
groove. I spent a remarkable two days, March 2 and 3, in the San Jose
Convention Center and everyone who didn't go has been dropping by to find out
about it. This was a major conference with more than just the usual
suspects in attendance, and everyone had a big announcement.
Over 6,000 people
turned out to join in the excitement. Described by one attendee as
``heady stuff'', I can't think of a better way to describe it.
The attendance by the big-name vendors is a sure sign that Linux has made the
big leagues. When introducing Dr. Michael Cowpland's keynote speech,
Jon ``maddog'' Hall described this conference as Linux's ``coming out'' or ``sweet
party, with the business community embracing the Linux community and Linux
embracing business--``Welcome to the world of Linux!'' he said.
Dr. Cowpland gave an articulate speech, focusing on the ways Corel is
using Linux now and in the future. While I was a bit surprised to learn the first
keynote was a company presentation,
it certainly gave a clear picture of how big business perceives Linux as an
excellent opportunity for promoting growth and profit. Dr. Cowpland said again
that Corel would be porting all their products to Linux and continuing to
support the WINE project. His presentation of the Quattro Pro spreadsheet
program running on WINE was quite impressive--fast and quite attractive.
He announced WordPerfect Office 2000, stressing their goal of ``value, performance
and compatibility'', and a Corel distribution which will
combine the best features from each of the current distributions and be ready
for release in the fall. He predicted that by the end of the year, we will be
able to buy high-performance computers, such as Gateway, for $600 to $800,
preloaded with Linux. Sounds good to me.
Linus gave a well-received keynote address and participated on a panel discussion
of ``The Continuing Revolution'',
moderated by Eric Raymond. He also showed up at the Compaq booth with Jon Hall
for fans to visit, take photos and get autographs.
I attended only one other talk (too much booth duty) and that one was by
Larry Wall (See in this issue). Larry has a casual
speaking style that fits well into this environment. Two quotes I enjoyed
Perl does one thing right--it integrates all its features into one
Journalists who give Perl bad press should experience more angst in
Speaker Dan Quinlan will also be appearing in our pages
soon. Dan is writing a feature article for our June Standards issue.
I spent a good bit of time talking to various vendors. Here's a bit of what I
All the major distributions were there giving away t-shirts and other
goodies, and in general amazing everyone with their new releases. I saw a
beta demonstration of Caldera's next release of OpenLinux which has the
easiest install I've ever seen. They've provided a GUI using QT from Troll
Tech, and it just zips through, probing for mouse and other information,
completing the install without the user having to do a thing. It even provides
a window so you can play Tetris while waiting for the install to complete.
Not having a ``smart'' install is one item many people have said was a major
drawback for Linux--well, now Linux has it. One more reason for not using
Linux has just been blown away.
- Tripwire Security Systems, Inc.: Tripwire is a file integrity
security system (see ``Tripping up Intruders with Tripwire'' by Kevin Fenzi,
August 1997) that became commercial in January of this year. All 2.x
releases are still freely available and include the basic support of 48-hour
e-mail response. They provide extended support (4-hour response) for a fee.
Biggest additions are Algomol encryption for the database, damage
inventories and e-mail warnings when damaged files are found. I brought back a
Tripwire CD for our system administrator to play with, so expect a review in
a future issue.
- GraphOn: This company is promoting their Go-Global thin PC X
server software designed for high-speed access to UNIX/X-based applications
on the server from any desktop. A web site has been established at
http://playpen.graphon.com/, where Windows users can enjoy the experience of
running Linux. Corel, a partner of GraphOn, has embedded the thin-client
software in WordPerfect 8, making it web-enabled.
- ICP Vortex: This German-based company has the number one RAID
controller in Europe and they have a fully bootable implementation for Linux.
Drivers for their controller can be found in all major distributions.
Beginning this month, they are shipping a 64-bit PCI-fibre channel RAID
controller, which can also be run in 32-bit slots. ICP is committed to
continuing support of the Linux operating system. One of their big users in
the U.S. is Linux Hardware Solutions, and they have promised us a review of this
excellent RAID device.
- Precision Insight: With funding from Red Hat and XGI, this
company is creating an OpenGL 3-D infrastructure within XFree86 servers that
will enable developers to access device drivers which permit access to OpenGL
- Cygnus Solutions: Cygnus Solutions has had an open source
business model since 1989, providing support for open source software. It is
now a member of the Fortune 500. At this show,
they talked to me about the cross-compilers included in their GNUPro Toolkit
for Linux. The Toolkit includes all the popular GNU tools, along with added
features and custom enhancements such as a graphical user interface to the
- IBM demonstrated several of their products that now run on
Linux, including the WebSphere product line, the Andrew File System and the DB2
database system. Also on display was the first commercial, Java-based emulator
for Linux called IBM Host On-Demand. This product provides secure access to
data and applications via a web browser. When I asked how it happened that
IBM was entering the Linux market, the answer was ``user demand''. How about
that--asking for what you want truly works!
- Informix: Janet Smith of Informix graciously came by the
Linux Journal booth to visit me while I was on booth duty. Informix has
a very large presence among value added resellers (VARs) and recently
formed an alliance with
Hewlett-Packard to deliver Linux-based Internet solutions through their
Covision program. Informix also announced an alliance with Jones Business
Systems, by which Informix Linux products will be distributed through JBS'
reseller channels. HP was also at the conference to show off OpenMail, but I
didn't get the chance to talk to them.
- Stalker Software: Ali Liptrot of Stalker Software also came
by to say ``hi''. When I went by their booth, it was
flooded with traffic to see the demonstrations of their CommuniGate Pro
- Appgen Business Software, Inc.: Jim Kelly stopped by to tell
me about their financial software. I had thought financial software
was one place Linux was weak--looks like I was wrong.
While doing booth duty on Wednesday, I got to meet many of our readers and
authors as well as introduce new people to Linux Journal. I had a lot of
fun. We shared our booth space with our publisher SSC, there to promote their
latest book, The Artists' Guide to the GIMP by Michael J. Hammel. Michael was
there and many fans showed up to meet him and have their books signed.
All in all, it was a great show and IDG is planning a repeat performance in
August. So if you missed it, come and drop by the LJ booth then for a
visit. Heady stuff, indeed!
Copyright © 1999, Marjorie Richardson
Published in Issue 39 of Linux Gazette, April 1999