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8/8/2005
01:14 PM
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Lindex 2005?

Let me say right off the bat: I wouldn't wish the ghost of that bloated old dingbat of a trade show on my worst enemy, much less on my meal ticket. It's true that the pre-LinuxWorld PR feeding frenzy of the past few weeks reminded me just a bit of "Bombdex" during its late-90s baroque peak. The similarities, however, end right there: Unlike the exercise in self-parody that until last year vi

Let me say right off the bat: I wouldn't wish the ghost of that bloated old dingbat of a trade show on my worst enemy, much less on my meal ticket. It's true that the pre-LinuxWorld PR feeding frenzy of the past few weeks reminded me just a bit of "Bombdex" during its late-90s baroque peak. The similarities, however, end right there: Unlike the exercise in self-parody that until last year visited Las Vegas every November, I can look at the LinuxWorld exhibitor list without wondering when the drugs will start to wear off.Although I haven't bothered to count them all, I'm guessing that I received around 200 PR-related messages, and that may be a conservative estimate. Several stood out, although perhaps not for the right reasons. One persistent soul, for example, reminded me of his first email five more times. (I think one unsolicited follow-up is just fine; two is a bit much but understandable; and three or more make a vendor memorable for all of the wrong reasons). Another informed me that I would have ten minutes, at a randomly selected time, to interview his client firm's CEO -- even though I had never heard of company, its product, its CEO, or a useful ten-minute interview. (Does this work on anyone?)

In every case, fortunately, I had a better way to gauge my interest in a company: what it sold. For every interesting new piece of technology I'll see in person this week, I've got two or three more that are on my radar but will have to wait

If you're going to be around LinuxWorld this week, here are a few things worth noting:

-- Wilkommen SAP! Ladies and gentlemen, the 300-pound gorilla has entered the buildiing. The show is one of the few things about Linux that is new for SAP; the company has been selling its products on the platform since December of 1999, probably predating the existence of many other exhibitors.

-- The answer: Google vs. Microsoft. The question: Which two companies are competing against one another in the Golden Penguin Bowl, a "geek trivia" game held on Tuesday evening? Rumor has it, by the way, that "Tlatchtli" rules will be in effect this year in an effort to boost turnout.

-- What's on my calendar (besides my mom's birthday)? Some of the companies I decided to meet in person include Kapersky (notable because they haven't allowed ClamAV to make them look like a bunch of chumps), OpenGear (purveyors of cool IP-based KVM tech and users of the magic words, "open-source hardware"), Black Duck (risk management par excellence), MEPIS Linux (who are trying to extend the desktop ease-of-use paradigm to the small-biz server market) , OpenLogic (sort of like SourceLabs and SpikeSource, but then again, sort of different), Astaro (because I was in a good mood when I read their email), Coverity (because they're not a bunch of weasels -- and they're one of the few IT firms that hasn't yet decided, for whatever odd reason, to use stock photos of what look like lobotomized Gap models on their home page), and a bunch of other companies whose names I forget at the moment.

-- Which sessions look good? A lot more than I'll have time even to think about attending. I'm making time, however, for at least two: A "State Of The Open-Source Union" panel, which will include Stuart Cohen from OSDL and Google's Chris DiBona; and Microsoft's Bill Hilft discussing the company's Linux and open-source software lab, which will focus mostly on interoperability issues.

-- Just two? Here's a third: Coverity CEO Seth Hallem's "Linux Security Report" on Tuesday morning. Like everyone else doing business in the Linux security field, Seth naturally brings his own agenda, point of view, and biases. Unlike some people doing Linux security "research," however, he and his colleagues have the integrity not to hit you on the head and then tell you the sky is falling. Oh, and there's OSDL CTO Tim Whitham's session, "The State of the Open-Source Kernel," which is also very unlikely to suck.

Help me do my job -- for no credit and no pay! By the way, if any of you think of questions you'd like me to ask Seth -- or anyone else I mentioned meeting this week -- email them to me, and maybe I'll add it to the list for when I speak with him.

Drop a dime, anytime. For the time being, you can reach me with blog-related comments, questions, rants, threats, etc. at mattblog@sonic.net. That address may change soon, and I understand we're also hoping to get the system for posting comments up and running pretty soon, as well.

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