Linux World Conference and Expo - Day One


Today was the first day of the Linux World Conference and Expo 2008 in San Francisco. This is my second time attending LWCE as a exhibitor... being part of the OpenVZ Project booth. LWCE is primarily a conference for business people using Linux in a business environment. It has a rather large exhibit floor (think football field size), several keynote presentations from executives in leading industries and I believe this is the 12th year the show has been running.

This year the show seems a little smaller although it is hard to know for sure without comparing numbers (which I don't have handy). My only point of reference being the exhibit floor which appears to have fewer exhibitors, wider isles... and this year there is an "Installfest" section that takes up a bit of room... that makes one wonder if they decided to add it to eliminate a big chunk of empty space.

First Impressions

Last year there was a tiny bit of community / hacker flavor because Andrew Morton gave the kickoff keynote presentation about the future of the Linux kernel. This year, from a keynote perspective it seems to be completely business oriented with executives from various industries giving all of the keynotes. There are a number of smaller presentations on a variety of topics (7 different tracks) so the technical content is available for people who can afford it. Access to the exhibit floor is free if you signed up before the show, and $50 if you didn't. The cost of the various conference tracks is more expensive and out of range for most Linux hobbyists.

LWCE still continues to have the ".org Pavilion" in the back right corner of the exhibit area. That is where you will find the OpenVZ Project booth which you will recall I am helping to staff. Other .org Pavilion booths include, Fedora, Joomla, Drupal, FSF, Creative Commons, the Linux Foundation, OLPC, OpenSUSE... and a number of others I haven't had time to visit yet.

All of the Linux magazines have a booth... and are giving away their latest issues with show specials geared to attract new subscribers.

The vast majority of the commercial exhibitors are hardware makers (server hardware, networking equipment, storage system manufacturers, etc), network service providers, and software companies like VMware, Oracle, etc. Some of the booths are very elaborate (take the giant pair of dice hanging over the Dice booth for example) that took much of Monday to unpack from huge wooden shipping crates. Other booths, like those in the ".org Pavilion" are quite simplistic in nature with just a generic sign, a table, a couple of chairs... and a one or two people behind laptops. The later is what the OpenVZ Project booth is like.

.org Pavilion Facilities

Last year each booth in the .org Pavilion had their own wired network drop. This year it seems like they have cut back because our side of the isle only had 2 or 3 drops that the booths had to share. Luckily one of our guys brought an eight port network switch... that we plugged one of the drops into so all of the booths near us have a continuous network connection... without having to unplug and share between booths. I pity anyone at the show who doesn't have Internet access and would imagine that there will be a number of complaints as a result. Wireless was available for conference attendees in the concourse area... but not really for exhibitors. Supposedly the LWCE folks were renting out wireless access point router thingies for $150 but I don't know anyone who actually rented one. Luckily, even with the limited number of wired network connections available, using our own switch we were all able to get IPs via DHCP.

OpenVZ Project Booth visits

Today wasn't too bad for the booth. Most of time there was at least one visitor to the booth to talk to... but there were a few times when we didn't have any visitors. During such times I checked into the OpenVZ IRC channel. Speaking of IRC, a long time #openvz chatter dropped by the booth - Adeel. Adeel is a Gentoo user so he and Kir (the OpenVZ Project manager who travelled all the way from Russia to attend the show) touched base with their Gentoo lingo. Adeel hung around the booth for a few hours and talked to a lot of people about OpenVZ... which helped out a lot. He said he may or may not be able to make it tomorrow and Thursday. I hope he can because it made it a lot less lonley. :)

After hours

Kir invited me to dinner and I took him up on the offer. We went to an Italian restaurant just a few blocks from the Moscone Center. During dinner I was able to ask him a lot of questions about what is going on in both OpenVZ development and with the effort to get container features into the mainline kernel. Kir answered all of my questions and I learned quite a bit that was new... including a few surprises. I'll continue to ask him questions over the next two days of the show... and eventually write a separate blog entry to summarize my findings.


Day one was interesting but I didn't get a lot of time to look around... and I haven't taken any pictures yet. Kir gives a presentation tomorrow morning and I'll be stuck in the booth during that... but I hope later in the day to stretch my legs and do some booth hopping. There did seem to be less swag being handed out this year... but most of that stuff is just crap you don't need/use anyway... although I do always keep my eyes open for free tee-shirts. I do look forward to the next two days... and talking to more folks about OpenVZ. Please stop by the booth if you can make it to the show.