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A Linux Journal Preview: This article will appear in the May 1999 issue of Linux Journal.

LinuxWorld Conference & Expo

By Marjorie Richardson

Photo Album

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 16'' 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 were:

Perl does one thing right--it integrates all its features into one language.

Journalists who give Perl bad press should experience more angst in their writing.

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 found out:

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.

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