The buzz at Linuxworld in New York last week was security—or, rather, the conspicuous lack thereof. But, alas, it wasnt the usual gripes about Microsofts numerous security issues that one would expect to hear in a crowd full of Linux lovers. The security that attendees were buzzing about concerned the doors to the Javits Center being as accessible as a Hotmail account to a script kiddie.
Most folks the Kitty talked to expected to encounter metal detectors, bomb-sniffing dogs and possibly the individual hand checking of bags. Surely, one would have assumed, in the aftermath of Sept. 11, that an event in the Big Apple would have implemented some of the same security measures as the Kitty had encountered previously at Comdex in Las Vegas.
"And if you think those bomb-sniffing Vegas canines didnt have a separate profiling agenda while checking out a tall, tawny Tabby, think again," groused the Grimalkin.
The biggest delay the Linux faithful faced was the holdup encountered at the entrance to the first keynote, given by HP CEO Carly Fiorina. And that wasnt due to the signs that threatened "all parcels are subject to search" upon entrance to the keynote—every laptop-, backpack- and briefcase-carrying attendee was allowed into the hall totally unmolested. Oddly, it was the pecking order in which attendees were let in to the keynote that held up and annoyed many. HP and Compaq staffers and guests were allowed in first, followed by the media, VIPs and then the regular attendees.
Spencer thinks Gil Scott-Herons "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," an old song about how the medium wasnt the message for effecting social change, might be a good theme for the HP-Compaq debacle. Both sides are taking a multimedia approach to make their point. Last week, David Packard used a full-page Wall Street Journal ad to condemn the merger. Now, its dueling Web sites: Walter Hewletts www.votenohpcompaq.com was just countered last Tuesday with Carly & Co.s www.votethehpway.com.
After Spencer returned home from LinuxWorld, he was reminiscing with a former tech executive who mentioned that in the early days of IBMs services organization, the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) was to make services 50 percent of IBMs revenues. Doesnt look much like a BHAG now, mused the industry veteran. Theyre at 41 percent of IBMs revenues. "Now the question is," laughed the Lynx, "do they make services the dog and products the wagging tail?"
Spencer F. Katt can be reached at [email protected].