On the LinuxWorld Floor

Join eWEEK.com Linux & Open-Source Center Editor Steven Vaughan-Nichols as he roams LinuxWorld.

NEW YORK—Like a contented beehive, New Yorks Javits Center is abuzz with happy LinuxWorld goers. SCO may be suing Novell and trying to lobby Congress in the cold (25 degrees in NYC) outside world, but such mere nuisances arent dampening the mood of the exhibitors inside.

The first thing youll notice as you enter the LinuxWorld main hall are the exhibitors: Computer Associates, HP, IBM, Novell, Oracle ... oh, did I mention that this is a Linux show? Tux, the penguin, is everywhere, and so are the big-time corporate IT companies that support him. Let me say this again with feeling: Linux is now just as part of the computing mainstream as Unix or Windows.

Speaking of Windows, Microsoft has a booth in the show. On the first day of the show, however, it was shrouded with signs that youd be able to get the facts (about Linux) at 10:30 a.m. the next day. Isnt that just like Microsoft, big promises and a late delivery?

The smaller, pure-Linux-play companies are here as well, with Red Hat leading the way. But there arent many of them: Gentoo, Debian, Steeleye, Xandros and a handful of others.

Perhaps the most different booth on the show floor is Googles. No, Google isnt here to get people to use Google. Theyve already done a pretty good job of that, dont you think? Google is here to look for employees.

When it comes to conversation, all you need to do is say, "I think KDE is much better than Gnome," or vice-versa, and voila, instant discussion. Usually this is followed by a, ahem, heated debate.

The clinching argument for a Linux desktop though was experienced by one poor attendee whose Windows laptop was wreaked by a Windows virus. Say what you will about Linux security, this is one guy who really wishes he had been running a Linux desktop at the show.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here for a story on kernel maintainer Andrew Mortons optimism on Linux desktops and client apps.

BEA Systems, the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) power, is here in force. Its slogan is: "BEA enables Java and Linux." JBoss and other open Java development companies would have been interested to see all the attendees who have been swarming about the BEA booth.

Eric Raymond, one of the founding fathers of open source, is at the show signing his newest book, The Art of Unix Programming. Now, let me say beforehand that Ive known Eric for more than 20 years, so Im clearly biased here. That said, his book is the best Ive ever read on the zen of programming. If you read it, you wont learn how to program, but you will learn how to program well.