Saturday, August 09, 2008

Linux: LinuxWorld, BeOS, Openmoko

I went to LinuxWorld Conference & Expo again this year like I always do. My mentor Leon Atkinson and I always go together. Here are a few notes.

There was a guy who had a booth for the New York Times. I asked him what it had to do with Linux. He said, "Nothing, but I've sold about 40 subscriptions in the last two days and made about $2000. Wanna buy a subscription?" I felt like I had been hit with a 5lb chunk of pink meat right in the face. There was another booth selling office chairs and another selling (I think) foot messages.

I didn't see Novell, HP, O'Reilly, Slashdot, GNOME, KDE, or a ton of other booths I expected to see. I talked with the lead editor at another "very large, but purposely unnamed" publisher, and he said that they wouldn't be back next year either.

There was a pretty cool spherical sculpture made of used computer parts. I was also pleased to see a bunch of guys putting together used computers and loading Linux on them for schools.

Other than that, I think LinuxWorld may be dead or dying. The editor of that publishing company said that this happens to conferences. They "run their course." Since Linux and FOSS were almost a religious experience for me when I was in college, I'm sorry to see LinuxWorld fizzle out.

I talked to the Haiku guys. I've been watching them. They're trying to rebuild BeOS. I knew that Palm bought Be's IP, so I asked them whatever happened to BeOS's source code. A very knowledgeable person gave me the whole rundown. The summary is that a company now owns it but can't release it for legal reasons. There's too much software in there that they can't get a clear copyright on, and they also have proprietary codecs that they're not allowed to release. He said that there was nothing to fear; Haiku is coming along nicely. They have some of the original BeOS developers, and they are staying true to the super-finely threaded nature of the original BeOS kernel. Unfortunately, it's not yet ready for production use, but they've come a long way.

I talked to a guy at the Openmoko booth. I told him that I'd be very interested in running Openmoko hardware, which is fully open, with Android, which I'm guessing will be relatively polished by the end of the year. He said that they had been talking to Google about it, but it's still up to Google to decide on a timetable. Unfortunately, Openmoko still isn't ready for everyday use yet. I'm waiting hopefully.

1 comment:

CharlesMerriam said...

I agree; LinuxWorld seems to be dying a bit. The point of trade shows is for commercial companies to get exposure for paying customers. The actual nuts and bolts of conference meet-ups got eaten by SHDH and bar camps.