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Linux supporters gather at Foundation annual meeting


Austin, Texas—How do you herd cats? Well, as the famous EDS commercial shows, it isn’t easy. In a sense, that’s what the Linux Foundation, the nonprofit pro-Linux organization, will be doing this week at the invitation-only LF Collaboration Summit at the University of Texas Super Computing Center here.

Linux, as anyone who follows it knows, is the result of the efforts of hundreds of developers, and it serves the needs of at least as many companies and–thanks to its role in leading Web sites such as Google and its popularity with Web-hosting companies–hundreds of millions of users.

So, while no one “runs” Linux in the same way that Microsoft runs Windows, the Linux Foundation, and its related projects such as the Linux Standard Base, does the best it can to herd the Linux cats.

Or, to be more precise, the LF brings together the top cats from both the corporate world and the open-source community. At this week’s meeting, engineers and developers, and CEOs and CIOs will join together to talk about Linux’s recent path and its future for the coming year and beyond.

While the technology of the Linux kernel and Linux printing, for example, will be star subjects of the meeting, the attendees will also be discussing the economics of Linux. Make no mistake, this is no gathering of Linux fan boys. This is a gathering of chip vendors, such as AMD and Intel; PC OEMs, such as Asus, Dell, Everex and Hewlett-Packard; and Linux companies, from the biggest–Red Hat and Novell–to some of the smallest.

Among the subjects the attendees will be addressing are how well PC vendors are doing with their preinstalled Linux offerings; how MySQL–in a speech given by MySQL CEO Marten Mikos–will work with Linux now that the popular open-source DMBS company has been acquired by Sun; and how Google, the LiMo Foundation and OpenMoko, among others, will be bringing out Linux phones.

In addition, IDC Vice President of Research Al Gillen will be presenting a Linux Foundation-sponsored white paper: “The Role of Linux Servers in Commercial Workloads.” The gist of the paper is that Linux servers are transforming from simply being edge (Web servers and services) and infrastructure (file and print sharing) servers to “mainstream business-oriented workloads.” The bottom line is that IDC sees Linux server spending increasing from 2007’s $21 billion to almost $50 billion by 2011.

Also, top executives from Red Hat, IBM, Intel, Motorola, Oracle, and Via Technology, among others, will be speaking at the conference. The more important part of the gathering won’t be the speeches and panel discussions; it will be the gathering of open-source developers, desktop and server vendors, ISVs, corporate Linux consumers, and end users to work out where the Linux cat herd will be going next. It should be an interesting week.

A version of this story first appeared in Linux-Watch.

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