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Linux Foundation plans new, more open open-source conference next year

Pro-Linux consortium says LinuxCon will be open to all comers, not invitation-only

By Todd R. Weiss
September 30, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - After holding an invitation-only conference for key open-source developers and community members in each of the past two years, the Linux Foundation is expanding its events schedule to add a conference focused on a broader attendee base.

In an announcement today, the San Francisco-based consortium, which sets Linux standards and works to promote the use of the open-source operating system, said it will hold an event called LinuxCon next September that will be open to anyone who wants to attend.

The first LinuxCon will be held in Portland, Ore., and will include a technology showcase as well as technical sessions, tutorials, keynotes and targeted mini-summits on topics such as enterprise open source, mobile computing and embedded systems. LinuxCon will take place simultaneously with the foundation's second annual Linux Plumbers Conference, a previously planned event for leaders of the open-source development community.

"People who've attended our other events have asked for [a conference like LinuxCon], including people who are members of the foundation who'd like to open it to a broader audience," said Jim Zemlin, the consortium's executive director.

The foundation's annual Collaboration Summit, which most recently was held in April, is designed to gather a small group of open-source community leaders to work on the issues and challenges facing the community. In New York next month, the group will hold its inaugural End User Collaboration Summit, a similarly invitation-only event aimed at enabling Linux users and developers to interact with one another.

LinuxCon, on the other hand, will be a larger and more inclusive event, according to Zemlin. "It will be open to anyone," he said, adding that the new conference will have "a broader focus than some of our other events have."

Zemlin said LinuxCon also is being organized in response to trends in the IT conference business, with a bent toward user-to-user conversations and connections, as well as technical training and education — not glitzy displays and vendor marketing pushes. "It's been a long time coming, but I think we can all acknowledge that the days of Comdex and huge trade-show floors are waning," he said.

Joe "Zonker" Brockmeier, community manager of the OpenSUSE open-source project, said in a statement that he expects LinuxCon to "meet a crucial need" for the open-source community. "We don't have a single forum where Linux contributors and users can collaborate on real issues at every level," he added.

The Linux Foundation was created early last year through the merger of Open Source Development Lab Inc. and Free Standards Group Inc., which at the time were the two primary evangelists for Linux.

Read more about Linux and Unix in Computerworld's Linux and Unix Topic Center.

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