SCALE 5X and LinuxWorld Summit – It's going to be a busy week

Well, I've just confirmed bookings for both SCALE 5X (where LQ is a sponsor) and LinuxWorld Open Solutions Summit (where I'm on the speakers list). Considering the events are only a couple days apart but 2,795 miles apart, it should be an interesting week. I do have one day to “sleep in my own bed” in between the two events, so it should work out fine ;) I attended SCALE 4X last year and it was a great event. I'm really looking forward to both of these. If you'll be at either one and would like to meet up, drop me a line.

LinuxWorld Open Solutions Summit

Looks like I'll be on the “Ask the Experts” panel at the upcoming LinuxWorld Open Solutions Summit in NYC.
Bring your toughest open source problem to our crack team of contributors, open source developers, and IT security and administration professionals! From software selection, configuration, and hardware, and bandwidth requirements to the unpredictable human elements that make an IT project succeed or fail, you'll get working answers and pointers to open source projects, documentation, and online forums that will turn every problem into an opportunity.
I don't have a ton of detail beyond that yet, but I do know fellow panelists include Jeremy Allison and Donald Becker. If you'll be near New York City (or need an excuse to go to NYC) on February 14-15, I highly suggest you check out the LinuxWorld Open Solutions Summit.

ACCESS to Release Open Source Application Framework

ACCESS has announced it plans to release an Application Framework to the open source community under Mozilla Public License (MPL) v1.1. Security features that extend the Linux kernel are planned for release under the General Public License (GPL) v2. The Framework will be released before the end of the year and will be the industry’s first open source mobile Linux application framework for commercial use. From the article:
Developed as part of the ACCESS Linux Platform, the Application Framework has been designed specifically to meet the requirements of mobile phones and devices. In addition to providing a set of services to install and manage applications, the Application Framework from ACCESS can integrate communication between applications, enabling a seamless user experience for music, messaging and other advanced features. The Application Framework is also designed to enhance application security to prevent unauthorized use of phone services or tampering with critical system data.
As part of its efforts to help grow the mobile Linux market and foster a global ecosystem, ACCESS has decided to contribute its Application Framework to the open source community. By open sourcing the Application Framework, ACCESS’ goal is to help speed the development and adoption of mobile Linux phones and devices while taking the first step to help prevent fragmentation. The next step in preventing fragmentation will be to work with industry standards organizations, such as the Linux Phone Standards (LiPS) Forum and Open Source Developers Labs (OSDL) to determine how they may adopt the Application Framework.

I got a chance to play with ALP at a recent Linux world, and while it wasn't quite ready for prime time then, that was about 9 months ago. I'd be interested to see how far they've come since then. Motorola is already starting to release some main stream Linux-based phones and other companies are following. While I've not heard any definitive plans yet, it's very possible we may end up with a Linux-based Treo at some point. I'm really pulling for that one. I already like the Treo and having Linux and GTK+ on it would be fantastic. I'd expect a large amount of growth for Linux in the mobile space over the next 2-3 years and this move by ACCESS should help to foster an active developer community, much like the one the Palm OS has now.
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Final LinuxWorld UK Reminder

A final reminder that LQ will be in the .Org Village at the upcoming LinuxWorld UK. If you'll be anywhere near London on the 25th or 26th, make sure to stop into Olympia 2 and say hello. My plane leaves in a couple hours, but I don't land in the UK until tomorrow. If you'll be around and would like to connect, feel free to either email me or leave a comment here. See you on the other side of the pond.

LWE UK Bound

I just booked my flight so it's official – LQ is LWE UK bound. If you'll be in or around London on October 25 or 26 make sure to stop in the .Org Village and say hello. From the looks of things we are going to have the largest mod turnout ever. On a side note, US Air has got to be the worst airlines ever. I've told myself I'd never fly US Air again, but I had a credit so I felt obligated to use it. Believe or not after the fees and difference between online and phone pricing the credit shrunk to about 12.5% of its original value. That and the fact that in my experience they are on time about 20% of the time means this will be my last US Air flight. I'll happily pay more or just not travel to avoid these jokers.
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Open source guru advocates ideological shift

I have to admit I was a bit surprised after reading this article, which include the following:
Eric Raymond has told the community that painful compromises are needed to the way it deals with closed source platforms and formats to avoid losing ground on desktops and new media players.
Raymond said the community is not moving fast enough to engage with non-technical users whose first-choice platform is either an iPod, MP3 player or Microsoft desktop running Windows Media Player.
Binary drivers are considered an evil for open source because of their proprietary nature, however Raymond called support for them in Linux “a necessary compromise.”
Raymond, a champion of all things open, said it is vital to the future uptake of Linux that the community compromise to win the new generation of non-technical users aged younger than 30. This group is more interested in having Linux “just work” on their iPod or MP3 player and “don't care about our notions of doctrinal purity”

Take a moment to process that. Now, while I completely agree that Linux too often does not engage with non-technical users, that's sort of by design and ingrained into the hierarchy of things. To be fair though, that's changing. Since Linux historically was a “by programmers, for programmers” kind of project, the non-technical users really didn't have a voice. With the entrance of companies like Novell and Linspire, that's no longer really the case. What I disagree with is the assertion that “The end of the 64-bit transition happens at the end of 2008. After that the operating system gets locked in for the next 30 years.” I honestly don't see how a move to 64-bit is going to lock any OS in. There's just no logical progression there. People (especially on the desktop) just aren't clamoring for the 32->64 conversion right now. It makes sense on the server, but the real benefits just aren't applicable to the average desktop PC. What I'd guess we'll see is a slow transition where by people will get 64-bit by default as the upgrade their PC – and they won't even know it happened. Because they won't know it happened, I'd hesitate to call it a “major architectural shift”. At least not when compared to the painful 16->32 change. That's why Linux OEM deals are so important… the average user simply doesn't care about their OS.
This brings us back to a topic I've discussed before. What are we, as a community, willing to give up to get mainstream adoption. I completely agree with ESR that “painful compromises” will be needed to gain more desktop penetration. Probably very painful compromises. I still question if the Linux we'd end up with is a Linux we'd all still be so passionate about. In the past I've indicated that I was unsure. Unfortunately, I'm still not. It's a very precarious thing, and I don't think people appreciate that there's a very real chance that Linux could end up being a victim of its own success in many ways. Luckily our communities are varied and resilient. While we're divided on many topics, in the end I hope we have the fortitude to persevere.
This article brings up a couple other topics that I'd like to break out into other posts (and will soon), including binary driver, Linux with an iPod and working with commercial and proprietary software vendors.
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HP offers Debian Linux support

Hewlett-Packard is throwing its support behind Debian, and is the first tier one hardware maker to align itself with the noncommercial community-based Linux offering. From the article:
“We've had a number of customers continuing to ask us to have broader support for Debian,” and HP decided to oblige, said Jeffrey Wade, worldwide marketing manager at HP's Open Source and Linux Organization. Red Hat and Novell will remain HP's main Linux partners globally, however.
According to the article, HP will offer technical support for installation and configuration during a server's warranty period and later this year, it will begin selling “care packs” to help customers with Debian problems (although no details on what a care pack constitutes was in the article). HP has had a long history with Debian, and many will likely find it surprising that there is no mention of Ubuntu. I think this is an interesting move, but you should take note of the following:
Debian won't be on the same level as Red Hat or Novell, though, Wade said. HP won't market it, and customers will have to download the software on their own. Software combinations with partners such as BEA Systems or Oracle won't be available with Debian. And HP won't formally certify Debian for its servers.
Despite those caveats, this should serve to further solidify Linux in the server market and it will be interesting to see how other OEM's react. I think HP could be a possibility as an OEM that jumps into the Linux on the desktop game. They're looking for any way they can to get a leg up on Dell at this point, and a good Linux strategy on both the server and the desktop may give them an extra boost.
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LinuxWorld Boston Wrapup

Taking a quick look at my last post (which is tagged LinuxWorld, I realized that I never posted a LinuxWorld wrapup. LQ once again exhibited at LWE in the .org Pavilion. We've been participants in numerous cities from New York to San Francisco to Boston to London. Exhibiting at LWE is always a fantastic time. The .org Pavilion always has a very fun set of both visitors and exhibitors. This year was no different. In fact, the “Best of Show” winner OpenSuse with located directly next to us. The LQ booth was a little less staffed than normal for us. This was the result of a last minute issue that came up for a traveling mod. The show was a little quieter than normal though, so Robin and I had no problems manning the both with just two people. Asking around a little, most (if not all) exhibitors said the show was quieter this year than last, and almost all attributed it to the location (which was BCEC this year and Hynes last year). The new BCEC is very nice, but the location of Hynes is much better. Back to the show itself, it started off with a bang when the Unisys booth literally caught on fire. Things settled down from there though and the rest of the expo went as expected. One interesting thing to see after exhibiting at these for a fair number of years now is the shear number of people who are either LQ members or at least remember getting help from the site. When we first exhibited in New York, the most popular question, BY FAR, was “what is”. That is no longer the case by a long shot. The shear number of people who come over to the booth just to shake our hand and say hello is staggering. It makes it all worth while (and then some). As usual the after expo festivities were in full swing in Boston. We didn't make the SugarCRM party unfortunately, but some of the Fedora guys said it was a great time. I got to chat with the TLTS guys quite a bit and they're a great group. All in all another great LWE. I hope LQ is once again invited to San Francisco, if we are I'll see you there. On the conference note, I have confirmed my trip to San Diego for DLS, so if you'd like to connect there, drop me a line.

Hilf speaks about Linux through Microsoft eyes

When I saw the title of this article, I was quite interested to see what Bill Hilf had to say on the topic. As Director of Platform Technology Strategy he's in charge of the Microsoft LinuxLab, which means he must have a pretty interesting perspective on things. Unfortunately, the article was extremely light on what he thinks about Linux or about what Microsoft is actually doing with Linux. It does get a little into what they are doing with Open Source though, which is also a topic of interest for me. The first thing that caught my eye was his reason for pulling out out LinuxWorld AU – “an internal meeting that could not be moved”. Considering his job function, that must be a pretty important meeting. I found his statement about the size of his department quite telling also. “It's a small, experienced and focused team – it usually is around eight to 10 people at any given time.” Reading between the lines a bit, I'd say the department must have extremely high turnover. To be fair, I can certainly see why. The two questions he seemed to dodge, “How does Microsoft plan to make money from open source and Linux?” and “How much does Microsoft view open source and Linux as competition?” were the two I'd liked to have seen answered the most. One thing that comes up in the article is something I've seen said by multiple people from Microsoft from multiple disparate department, both on and off the record. Microsoft is learning from the OSS development model itself and are indeed using some of the methodologies and parts of the paradigm to improve their internal development process. More proof (although at this point I don't even think more proof is necessary) that the model demonstrably produces better code. Even though you know it, it's always great to see it in print in an interview like this. I think an open dialog between Bill and the Linux team at Microsoft could be quite beneficial for all involved. If anyone from Microsoft reading this interested in making it happen, feel free to contact me.
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LQ is LWE Boston Bound

It's official – will once again be a .org Pavilion participant at the LinuxWorld Expo in Boston. We just got the word! At this point it will be at least myself, Robin and John. I'll post more details soon, but I wanted to let everyone know that we're definitely in. Looking forward to the show, see you all there.
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