LinuxWorld Hints of Business to Come

News Analysis: Quiet but key moves in the desktop, database and virtualization fields suggest that LinuxWorld has become, first and foremost, a business trade show.

BOSTON—On the surface, it was a quiet LinuxWorld Conference. There was little in the way of new product news and the trade show crowd rattled about in the huge Boston Convention and Exhibition Center here like the last coffee beans in a can, but under the unassuming surface, important news was brewing.

First, the Linux desktop market, which has been divided for years between the KDE and GNOME desktop interface camps, is on its way to peace, as the two have agreed on a common set of APIs.

This will lead to a software development environment where ISVs can write to the Linux desktop without worrying over which interface to support.

The open-source database business also got a big boost when MySQL CEO Marten Mickos revealed that MySQL was creating its own transaction storage engine.

This means that even though Oracle recently bought Innobase, the company behind the InnoDB transaction engine, which MySQL has been using, MySQL no longer needs to fear Oracle restricting access to the engine.

Ingres, another open-source database company, which has been spun off from CA, is also working on getting its database into the market via the channel.

IBM and Novell are also partnering up with Avnet, a major distributor, to deliver a Linux software stack for Web services and databases to SMBs (small and medium businesses).

Another move that appears quiet, but speaks volumes, is that Ubuntu, the popular community Linux, is starting its own certification program. Since the only reason to certify administrators on an operating system is for business use, this makes it clear that Ubuntu is going to try the jump from community distribution to business Linux.

Intel also continued to make it loud and clear that the company is moving into full support for Linux. Besides lending its full supportto getting the desktop Linux factions working on the same page, Intel and Red Hat also announced that the two would work together to help bring business customers over to Linux.

Virtualization, as expected, was the loudest news of the week, from the continued groundswell of support for Xen, to Microsoft trying to grab the attention first with its announcement that it was going to make its Virtual Server 2005 free, and then Bill Hilf, Microsofts director for platform technology strategy, singing the praises of Microsoft virtualization.

Taken as a whole, theres a common theme to this LinuxWorld. It was a theme that was visible on the show floor. Instead of young developers walking the halls, this shows byways were filled with middle-aged businesspeople. LinuxWorld is no longer a programmers show; it is a business show.


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