Big Blue eclipsed at LinuxExpo

Maybe not, but not the only show in town

"The news here is that the big guys have taken over!" we overheard a rather excitable reporter inform his editor via cellphone in the LinuxWorld Expo press room. "They've squeezed the little guys out! That's the news!"

Well, not only is that not news, folks, but it isn't even true. Not from our impressions of the show floor, and we've been to the last four Stateside Expos. Of them all, this one has the healthiest balance between the come-latelys - the IBMs, Dells and SGIs - and pure play newcomers.

We're not sure if IDG has eased the gate pressure, or simply made the floor tax more equitable; but expansive stands from the likes of Zelerate, Blue Cat, Zimian easily outnumbered the traditional corporate big spenders. And it's only three years since we spent an afternoon with Maddog in a corner of CeBIT hall smaller than a Jacob Javitz bathroom. And that was the entire Linux stand. So that's one of the perils of deciding your angle in advance, we guess,

Naturally, the big hitters were there, and all had something to announce. Even if it wasn't very much. Take IBM for example. So enormous is Big Blue, and so extensive its product catalogue, that it can an afford to release an enormous amount of hot air in the form of Linux announcements at regular intervals, without any noticable depreciation in body mass.

Today it said it had Linux up and running on its Sequent ccNUMA boxes, now renamed eServer x430, scaling up to 64 nodes. It's already got Linux either natively or in virtual machine mode on AS/400 and S/390(ZzzzSeries), and IBM pointed to Deutsche Telekom subsidiary TSystems hosting email services on large multiple Linux VMs. There was plenty more largely inconsequential updates to Tivoli and Notes, NetFinity and NetStation thin clients.

Strategy! What Strategy?
After trotting through this, we were awoken from a near coma by a brave reporter - one of several non-professional journalists, it's worth adding. How worried she asked IBM's chief Linux strategist Irving Wladawsky-Berger was Big Blue about the recent, mooted boycott because of its involvement in the CPRM caper? And what it would to stop shooting itself in the feet again?

We were fully awake by now, and after some confusion Wladawsky-Berger deflected the issue with the comment "you have people who know a lot, but not everything." And it's with that kind of delegation, we guess, is how you get to be a Veep of strategy, while the underlings get left with the task of explaining the gory details. ®

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