Reviews of SVLUG/Taos "Future of Linux" Panel

Online video clips now available! (on 8/22) See the Reviews section.
More results (on 9/17): ZDNet says "Future of Linux" was the event that
marked the end of the "Wintel" alliance

Contents

Introduction
Participants
Results of the Event
Reviews From SVLUG Members
Press Coverage
Upcoming Open-Source-Related Events in Silicon Valley

Introduction

On July 14, 1998, about 1000 people came to the Santa Clara Convention Center in the center of Silicon Valley to see the "Future of Linux" panel. This event came together as a cooperation of Taos Mountain and the Silicon Valley Linux User Group. Without Taos's help, the event couldn't have been in such a large facility. Without SVLUG's help, the event couldn't have had a panel like this. All the participants and attendees whom we've heard from said they enjoyed it, and found it informative. In fact, it was successful beyond all its planners' expectations.

There was some frank talk about things Linux needs to be able to do and barriers Linux needs to break through. But there was a lot of good news about progress Linux has made, and exciting outlooks for the near future.

Taos reports that streaming video (in RealVideo format) has been prepared and is available on their Web site.

See also Taos's Tech Talks page about this event.

Note about attendance: We originally listed "at least 850" for the attendance, based on the nearly-full status of the seating for 920 in the room. However, our estimate was called into question as being too conservative: Easily 150 people were standing along the side aisles near the front, because they didn't want to sit in the back. That's why we revised the estimate to 1000.

Participants

Panel Members (in seating order)
Jeremy Allison, maintainer of Samba
Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux
Sunil Saxena, principal engineer at Intel's Unix Performance Lab
Larry Augustin, president of VA Research, representing Linux International and SVLUG
Robert Hart, Red Hat Software support
Journalist/questioner: Phillip Hughes, publisher of Linux Journal
Event Sponsors
Silicon Valley Linux User Group (SVLUG)
Taos Mountain

Results of the Event

The most obvious effect of the event was that Linux users were pleased about what they heard. The future of Linux indeed looks bright.

However, there are other, more-specific effects as well: SVLUG discovered that Linux is getting attention from a wider range of reporters, sometimes less technical and less familiar with Linux. SVLUG is now preparing background material in a "Linux Press Kit" in an effort to help. This is covered in more detail in the Press Coverage section below.

The most significant direct effect was one we heard from VA Research: People from Oracle were present at the "Future of Linux" event. Oracle's statement on Friday, July 17 that Oracle 8 will be ported to Linux was a direct result of their attendance at this panel discussion.

So, in at least one way, the panel didn't just talk about the Future of Linux: It helped to shape it.

Even hindsight seems to place new emphasis on this event: On September 17, ZDNet carried an article, "With Wintel passe, Linux support may be it", marking Intel's participation in the SVLUG/Taos "Future of Linux" panel as the historical landmark for the end of the "Wintel" alliance between Microsoft and Intel. Ever since then, Intel has provided much more support for multiple operating systems (including many Unix variants) on its processors.

Reviews From SVLUG Members

(New on 8/22) Taos has made video clips available on their Web site.

Reviews submitted by SVLUG members:

Please send more reports.

Press Coverage

See the original Taos press advisory.
Why only a few articles after all the press presence? We wondered about that too. As we see more articles trickle out, apparently some publications are just taking their time to write up the story.... There's a lot to write.

We've also heard from one SVLUG member at the meeting, about a conversation with one reporter, although it is unknown how many or few others this may apply to. The reporter said that he heard Linux was going to be a big thing and wanted to find out more about it. The reporter didn't know any of the people on the panel (including Linus) or why they were there, so that person had a lot of difficulty following the event.

This is a new need that is just being brought to the attention of SVLUG, as a result of that conversation. This may be an indication that a wider range of reporters than just the technical ones are now taking an interest in Linux. As a result, SVLUG is now preparing some introductory material in a "Linux Press Kit" geared toward members of the press who have previously had no introduction at all to Linux. There will be a link and announcement on the SVLUG home page when it's ready.

Upcoming Open-Source-Related Events in Silicon Valley

Date(s) Event Location
August 17-20, 1998 O'Reilly Perl Conference 2.0 Fairmont Hotel, downtown San Jose
August 21, 1998 Open Source Developer Day Fairmont Hotel, downtown San Jose
January 7-10, 1999 Linux International Conference and Exposition Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara
See also SVLUG's Events List and the Bay Area Linux Events (BALE) page