Virtualization, Road Maps Lead the Way at LinuxWorld

Reporter's Notebook: Dell demonstrates systems management software, IBM makes big claims for its open-source development future and cell phone operating systems are on the move.

SAN FRANCISCO—Upward of 10,000 IT- and open source-minded folks can be seen milling around the Moscone Center at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo here through Aug. 17, and there is plenty of information about new products and services to keep their tongues wagging for a lot more than three days.

Big companies like IBM, Novell, Motorola and Dell, and small ones—such as FiveRuns, a 12-employee hosted systems management services provider based in Austin, Texas—shared floor space and took turns hosting press conferences.

So here for your further reading enjoyment is a virtual grab bag of random news, facts, figures and observations from the show floor and adjoining meeting rooms (as well as from candid conversations off-site):

  • Youve no doubt heard the realtors mantra: Location, location, location! The hottest term overheard consistently in conversations throughout the show was virtualization, virtualization, virtualization! For example, Dell—not particularly known for its software products—was giving a demonstration of its new homegrown VMware- and Xen-based systems management software on some of its new servers, which was quite impressive.
  • Second-most uttered term at the show: road map.
  • Linux is the fastest-growing operating system in the world in terms of unit share, according to both Gartner, in Stamford, Conn., and IDC, in Framingham, Mass. Gartner gauges the overall 2006 Linux market as just shy of $7 billion in revenues, up 35 percent from the 2005 figure.
  • In 2007, Linux is expected to surpass Windows as the operating system for which more developers write applications, according to a recent survey of 400 developers conducted by Evans Data, of Santa Cruz, Calif.
  • Seventy-three percent of the worlds Top 500 Supercomputers run Linux.
  • The number of copies of SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop that have been downloaded since SLED 10 was launched on July 17 is 170,000.

/zimages/4/28571.gifIs LinuxWorld focusing less on philosophy and more on enterprise concerns? Click here to read more.

  • The number of IBM "customer engagements" that include some form of Linux use is 15,000. IBM itself introduced a new "open-source development road map beyond Linux" that IBM Vice President of Worldwide Linux and Open Source Scott Handy said "will have more impact on the enterprise than the introduction of Linux itself did."

There were more than a few snickers from the audience following that statement.

Handy and Dan Frye, another IBM open-source executive, outlined eight areas the company has targeted for open-source, but not necessarily Linux, development: client-side middleware, development tools, Web application servers, data servers, systems management, open hardware architectures, grid computing and business consulting.

True, IBM already offers products in those areas right now—and many of them already work in conjunction with existing open-source software, like Apache and Samba. So whats new about this?

"You very well may see some new open-source software come out of these initiatives," Handy said. "IBM has a history of working with partners on solutions and then giving a lot of it back to the community."

  • On Aug. 14, Sun Microsystems finally explained its road map for open-sourcing Java SE (Standard Edition) and ME (Micro Edition, for embedded development) after CEO Jonathan Schwartz said in the spring of 2005 that it "really was" going to happen—eventually.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead more here about Suns road map for open-sourcing Java.

  • Hosted by, a Webcast titled "Open Source Desktop Day—Real Demos 2006," tentatively set for Dec. 14, is billed as a new way to demonstrate the features of various Linux desktop distributions. This multivendor event is designed to instruct G2000 executives (including CIOs, chief technology officers, IT managers, vice presidents and end users) about the powerful features of the latest open-source desktops. For more information, e-mail the host, Tom Donoghue.
  • By far the coolest giveaway at the show: Motorolas glowing blue Plexiglas "M" medallion necklace, lit up by three little watch-type batteries. Other than that, giveaways in general were few and far between—even T-shirts.

/zimages/4/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...