The Secret to LinuxCon's Success

Why LinuxCon Won't Implode Like LinuxWorld

Even though I won't be able to attend, I'm pretty excited about next week's LinuxCon--excuse me, LinuxCon North America 2010.

Last year's inaugural event in Portland (disclaimer: which I assisted with in my former tenure with the Linux Foundation) was a great success, in no small part to the organizers, with whom I was fortunate to assist. With one such show under their belts, I expect this year's offering to surpass the last one.

The keynotes include some of the usual suspects: Stormy Peters, Marcus Rex, Eben Moglen, and Wim Coekaerts, just to name a few. But there's some new blood in the speaker lineup that I will be very interested to hear from, such as Ravi Simhambhatla, VP and CIO of Virgin America. Virgin America is known for innovative business practices, so I will be interested in learning about how they integrate Linux and open source into their operations.

The tenor of this year's event shows an ever-so-slight shift away from the "traditional" Linux topics, such as desktop, kernel, and embedded, into virtualization, cloud, and mobile. I know mobile has often been classified as embedded, but that's where the kind of shift I'm talking about lies. The same technologies are being discussed, just repackaged.

This repackaging may initially seem like a a bunch of hype, but it helps to remember that innovation doesn't just spring up out of nowhere. Ideas, words, and inventions get taken apart, mixed around, and put back together to come up with new ideas.

What's cool about LinuxCon, and events like it, is that it's a good environment for more innovation to happen. You hear a session, you ponder it for a while, and an hour, a day, or even a month later an new thought can just pop into your head.

Because of that, we need events like LinuxCon in the community. I know a lot of people weren't sorry to see it go, but LinuxWorld used to be the place to get things done in Linux. At first it was direct innovation, then later it was more along the lines of business deals. The whole thing got too big to self-sustain, and there's always a chance that this could happen with LinuxCon, but I kind of doubt it. The Linux Foundation isn't out to make big money with their events. Sure, they want revenue, but as a non-profit, they're not looking to make a killing.

Whether you like the LF or not, having an organization like them organizing LinuxCon will always keep the event focused on the important stuff, and not turning it into a marketing haven like LinuxWorld turned out to be. That's what will keep this event relevant, and a hot ticket for anyone interested in Linux.

LinuxCon will happen August 10-12, at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront, in Boston. Mini-summits will take place the day before at the same location. If you are in New England, you should try to make an appearance. If you can't, take heart: the LF is again offering live video streaming for those who are unable to attend.

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