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[vox] [fwd] The Death of Linuxworld
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[vox] [fwd] The Death of Linuxworld

Darth's post to SacLUG about this year's OpenSource World
(previously known as LinuxWorld).

It sounds like it was even worse than I had expected, based on various
random people complaining in their Facebook statuses a few days ago.

Seriously?  Exhibit hall only one 1hr at a time?


----- Forwarded message from Darth Borehd <darth.borehd@gmail.com> -----

Date: Fri, 14 Aug 2009 13:53:21 -0700
From: Darth Borehd <darth.borehd@gmail.com>
Subject: [Lug-nuts] The Death of Linuxworld
To: General SacLUG discussing <lug-nuts@saclug.org>
Reply-To: General SacLUG discussing <lug-nuts@saclug.org>

Linuxworld died sometime at the end of 2008.

I have been a regular attendee for roughly 10 years now.  I only
missed the 2005 conference because my daughter was born on the same
day.  I was a huge fan of LinuxWorld, I was an organiser of several
LinuxWorld attending groups, I have a closet full of material from
past Linuxworlds.  Senator, you are no Linuxworld.

IDG claims they merely renamed it to "OpenSource World/NextGen Data
Center/CloudWorld" but it's quite obviously they were out to remove
anything that resembled the Linuxworld and try to pawn off a new
conference as its successor.  It's not.  Not even close.

Let me explain why.

* The name change.  First thing you notice is the confusing
buzzword-heavy new name where 3 conference share equal size and space
on the banner.  Not only is it aesthetically unappealing, its
confusing what the focus is going to be.  Sure they combined
conferences before, but they were always auxiliary riders latched onto
LinuxWorld.  It was the king and quite obviously the main event.
There is no main event any more.

* The size.  The conference was moved from the main Moscone Hall where
it had resided for about 10 years and is now in a smaller space on the
west side.  The main Moscone Hall now sits empty.  The exhibit hall is
now .25 of the size of what it was in 2008 and even smaller if you
compare it to previous years.  The number of conference/lecture rooms
are roughly the same.  There are no testing centers for LPI
certification or workshops.

* The exhibit hall.  This is the *worst* part of the whole conference.
 Now about a quarter of the size.  Just one of the major vendor
squares from 2008 would have taken up the size of a half dozen booths
at the 2009 conference.  Gone are a lot of the usual exhibitors from
years past.  No VMWare, IBM, HP, CDW, Dice, Intel, AMD, Motorola,
O'Reilly, and dozens of others.   Of those that were there, you
quickly found they were staffed with salespeople and temp presenters
hired off the street.  Dell was there.  Sun was there.  Both had
competent programmers and engineers to actually talk to but the
exhibit spaces were reduced to the size of two small booth put
together.  The most frustrating thing is that the exhibit hall was
only open for about an hour at a time.  Yes, you heard that right.
After only an hour inside, security guards come and herd you into
lecture rooms for the next 3 hours until the exhibits open again.

* Alcohol.  During the last hour, they served free beer.  It would
seem to me to be a stupid move liability-wise to serve alcohol to
people who might be getting in cars and driving away when it closes.
Also, they were not checking IDs and I personally met a young man who
said he was 19 and had several beers already.  Beyond that, it was
just annoying to see drunken people stumbling around.  It wasn't even
good beer.  I don't drink beer, but I was told that it tasted like
watered-down Budweiser.  Maybe some marketing maven got confused by
the phrase "free, as in beer"???

* Almost no Linux.  Roughly 3/4th of the entire conference was Windows
oriented.  Increase that if you include Cloud Computing products.  The
only distro present was Ubuntu.  BSD guys were there if you want to
stretch to include them.  Even Sun did their presentation on a
Macintosh.  Almost all other vendors ran their presentation on Windows
XP or Vista.

* .orgs treated like lepers.  They were all forced into a small room
isolated from the main exhibit hall like the conference promoters were
ashamed of their presence.  They didn't even get booths.  They had to
share small tables.  Most didn't even show up.  No slashdot, gentoo,
debian, linuxfund, sourceforge, fedora, etcetera.  The only two active
tables were Clonezilla and Haiku OS.  A complete insult to the
non-profit community.

* Attempts to turn away "undesirable" people.  An environmental
engineer I met at the conference was initially denied entrance because
his "job did not include direct influence on the purchasing of IT
products" and it would be a "waste of time for the exhibitors to even
talk to [[him]]" (note: direct quotes except they said "you").  The
fact he had pre-registered, attended previous Linuxworlds and made
arrangements to attend made no difference. Only after the rest of his
"desired target audience" threatened to leave did they grudgingly
grant him access.

* Lectures were non-technical.  Not only non-technical, but they were
basic, vague, buzzword-laden, and vendor specific.  In other words,
they were sales pitches--complete with flashy lights and Powerpoint
presentations with terms like "in the Cloud", "Paradigm-shifting", and
"Web 2.0".  Any attempts to ask technical questions were usually
deferred to "offline" discussions.  What was left was the equivalent
of sitting through an hour-long infomercial.  The only exceptions to
this was the presentation by the California Secretary of State about
Open Source Voting, a somewhat interesting panel about open source on
netbooks, and an amusing "evolution of desktop" given by Jono from

* Outdone by a 6-booth career fair.  Dice had set up their own
unrelated career fair a few doors down.  We stepped in and got a small
taste of what Linuxworld used to be like.  Amazon had a C programming
puzzle up for people to solve.  Phoenix Bios was there to recruit new
employees but were happen to just discuss the motherboard BIOS
subjects as well.  They had prizes and cool things to show with
friendly and intelligent people.

In closing, I do not plan to attend this conference any more.  I have
to make a lot of arrangements months in advance to be able to attend
and the pathetic excuse of a conference it has become is not worth it
to me.  Linuxworld used to be more than just about Linux.  It was the
IT departments of some companies showing off their latest stuff to
other IT people.  Geeks talking to geeks.  Not only was it cool and
fun, but I feel it did a better job of promoting those products.
There are still some vendor contacts that I maintain from the
conference and use professionally.  Many of the products I proposed
and purchased for work I remember first seeing at Linuxworld.  The
"OpenSource World/NextGen Data Center/CloudWorld" just doesn't do
that.  I deeply saddened, but I must declare, that for me, the mighty
Linuxworld has died.
Lug-nuts mailing list

----- End forwarded message -----

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