Saturday, April 08, 2006

Does LinuxWord Conference still make sense?

I came off a long week, flying to Boston to speak at LinuxWorld, then to Las Vegas for CTIA, where we had a booth.

It felt strange. I am open source guy, but I felt uneasy at LinuxWorld. I just could not understand the reason for people to be there. Linux is cool, but does a new kernel release justify a conference (and more than one)? Traffic seemed slow at LinuxWorld. People looked bored.

On the other side, as the mobile open source company we draw huge crowds at CTIA. Everybody was excited about open source (in mobile). Interest. Excitement. I did not find that at LinuxWorld. Ok, maybe Vegas is more exciting than Boston. But it was not just that.

I am starting to feel LinuxWorld does not make sense anymore. I reminds me of that winter in 1995 when I flew to the same place (Boston) for the third World Wide Web conference (man, it was cold!!). Back then, I started feeling a conference about the web was useless, because the web was becoming mainstream.

Open source is becoming mainstream, the risk for it to become boring is significant. Let's spread out open source in vertical conferences and keep the excitement up. Let's shut down LinuxWorld and then OSBC in a year or so (open source and business is still somewhat interesting, but it will get boring soon, and there are too many OSBC Conferences). If we really want to do something in open source, let's create a Mobile Linux conference. I know I am biased, but the mobile track was quite interesting (and we had a fire alarm evacuation in the middle of my speech, which was exciting ;-)