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Home ::> Events ::> LWCE 1999 ::> Tue, 3/2


After spending $2 for a muffin and $2 for each 12 ounce can of soda at the food cart in the convention center yesterday, Christian and I agreed to hit a grocery store we saw Sunday night about six blocks from our hotel for breakfast and lunch.

We loaded up on pop, Sobes and other energy drinks and also got some sandwiches to take with us.

Dr. Cowpland's Keynote Address

   Cowpland]Corel's CEO gave a speech touting Corel's enthusiastic support of Linux and included some surprising announcements as well. Corel claims to support XML better than Microsoft in its future office suite products. This is exciting news!

Here's some other items:

  • Corel hopes to woo their current Windows user base to Linux
  • Corel's XML implementation will support Unicode, MathML, ChemicalML and has been endorsed by W3C
  • Corel Office 2000 will be very XML and Internet friendly
  • Next version of QuatroPro will support up to 1 million lines of data and will do XML import/export
  • The following programs will be available natively for Linux by 2000: WordPerfect, Quatro Pro, Presentations, Paradox, Corel Draw, and PhotoPaint. Other Corel applications will be available in Linux through Wine.
  • Corel is enhancing Wine to provide better support for their Windows products.
  • Corel intends to provide its own Linux desktop system called "Corel Desktop Linux" by Fall 99.
  • Corel Desktop Linux will be open source and will include the Corel-enhanced Wine and GraphOn thin client support.


I didn't attend the keynote by the Oracle guy. I simply wasn't interested. Christian said it was pretty cool... Lots of anti-Microsoft stuff (no surprise there). I instead went and explored the exhibition floor.

Caldera had a big show going on the exhibition floor. Their infomercial style repeating presentation is not surprising considerring this company comes from NuSkin country (Orem, Utah).

Interestingly, Corel had a somewhat similar presentation going on- although it was more of a presentation and less of a gimmick.

Lots of stuff was being given away, but most of it was limited. RedHat was giving away a "Microscared" t-shirt, but ran out when I was third in line to get one of my own. Christian managed to get one, though.

Sun Microsystems had a similar situation with their Java shirts. I got one. Christian missed out. Sun was also showing off Quake II running (unmodified) on their Solaris boxes. I'm not exactly sure why they were showing off Solaris at LinuxWorld, but it was still pretty cool to see.

The Slashdot Guys were there and I got to meet Rob. That was cool... but it was obvious he was soaking up the bigness of it all. They put the Slashdot booth right next to the Debian Linux booth and that area of the exhibition floor was a real pain to walk through because of the crowding. The Debian booth included demos of the Empeg car MP3 player and a Mac SE running Debian Linux.

Someone should do a special web page on "Women at LinuxWorld". There were so few female attendees at this show, those that did show up deserve special attention. Most of the women I saw at the exhibition were exhibitors and not conference attendees.

Linus's Keynote

[Linus Torvalds] Linux's keynote address was scheduled for 6:30. We showed up at the convention center at 6:05 to find a line beginning at the exhibit hall doors and clear down to the other side of the building. I really didn't want to get a seat in the back of the room, so I convinced Christian we should get in line for the overflow seating in an adjacent ballroom.

We got seats very close to one of the projection screens in the overflow room. It was nice and I think it was a wise decision to sit there.

Linus seems like a guy who, despite all the media hoopla surrounding the Linux OS, still has not gotten used to the spotlight. I'm sure he never expected this. Standing in front of ten thousand pairs of eyes has got to be a little mind boggling. I'd be checking my zipper, anyway.

Linus was introduced by Larry Augustin, president of VA Research, who said that Linux could best be described by retelling a story of what had recently taken place backstage. The IDG staff were beginning to panic because Linus was nowhere to be found. Then someone mentioned that he had just gone to get the diaper bag.

Linus talked about the state of the Linux kernel and what people should expect in the coming months including better support for SMP and other architectures. Pretty standard technical crap.

When it came time for Linux to talk about the future, his slide presentation took a wild turn. Instead of technical specs of the v2.4 Linux kernel, we were faced with humorous scenarios from the future world of Linux:

World Domination. It's just the first step.

    "My dog rejected her chip implant. What should I do?"

    "My pacemaker is sending out spurious ARP packets. Should I be nervous? I upgraded to a development kernel because it has the new anti-fibrillation code, and I feel a lot better, but it still worries me."

    "My 12-year-old son hacked my toaster, and changed the root password. Now it only does peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Do I need to buy a new toaster, or can I use remote administration for Linux v7.1 to reset it?"

    "What do you mean 'There are no penguins left?' What's a nativity scene without any penguins? What do you think they herded? Sheep? Really, sometimes I despair about young people of today."

    "MicroSoft? They used to do computers, right?"

Linus Torvalds just kicks ass.

LinuxCare, VA Research, and IDG Throw a Party

[Cool lighting at the party]Christian and I were especially glad we were in the overflow room as we were able to slip out toward the end of the keynote speech and get into the exhibit hall where the party early.

The party was awesome. The exhibit hall was full of electronically-controlled varilights, lasers, video screens, fog machines, and food.

Christian was especially grateful for all the free beer. *grins*

After eating, Christian and I walked around. We spotted Linus with his wife and kids and I walked over and talked to him briefly and shook his hand. I also met Chip Salzenburg who had won an award that evening for his open source development efforts.

After everyone had their turn hitting the tables of all-you-can-eat hot dogs and thick-crust pizza, a short film titled "Linux Users Speak Out" was shown on a big screen. This was basically interviews with various Linux users interspersed with footage from Windows Refund Day marches.

After the movie, a gentleman appeared on the stage introducing himself as an MSNBC reporter who was there to interview a special guest from Redmond. It was at that time that Bill Gates walked out onto the stage (or at least, someone in the spitting image of Bill Gates).

[Bill Gates?] The Bill Gates interview was pretty typical. They played a short word association game in which "Gates" responded with "World Domination" to "Windows 2000" and "Buy" to "Government."

Then the reporter asked Gates what he thought of people saying that Linus Torvalds was going to be the next Bill Gates. It was then that the truth came out. "Gates" admitted that he had previously created a clone of himself and, due to circumstances out of his control, his clone had been bitten by a radioactive penguin and had since been giving way software for free. Pretty funny stuff.

After the "Gates Interview," the Atlanta band Man or Astroman came on stage playing raw industrial grunge mosh music which was accompanied by various sound samples and sound effects driven by their Linux machines on stage. Pretty cool band.