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Wow! What a dud.

In the good old days, ponytailed freaks at LinuxWorld would mingle with - or at least watch - the likes of Michael Dell, Carly Fiorina, Scott McNealy and Larry Ellison. The biggest name the LinuxWorld organizers could muster this year was Jeopardy answer-cum-forehead model Larry Lessig. The second biggest name? XenSource CEO Peter Levine, who is still trying to understand the power of open source software.

The conference was so lackluster that Red Hat didn't even bother show up. The company rejected the show floor - and the thousands of minions that made it a success - in favor of holding meetings with a select few at a hotel. Apparently your pricey support contract does not buy any face time with this Linux prima donna.

That's great news for Novell which seems to need all the help it can get drumming up business.

Speaking of Novell, the company eliminated any chance of real news coming out of LinuxWorld by announcing SLES 10 well before the show. Novell apparently told partners that it planned to re-launch the software at LinuxWorld, which explains a lot about why the company does so poorly. Our attention span doesn't really...

The whopping list of two press conferences, the suits and the boredom all made us wonder if Linux isn't over in the cultural phenomenon sense. Linus Torvalds has sure been doing his best to kill the Linux culture. Now it seems the rest of you are happy to kill off Linux mania as well. Good riddance.

Our hat goes off to Mandriva, which still seems to care about this Linux thing.

The Mandriva team used LinuxWorld to announce the Sept. 14 release of Mandriva Corporate Server 4, the Oct. release of Mandriva 2007 and the mid-Nov. release of Mandriva Corporate Desktop. The company was also showing off its slick Pulse management software for controlling Windows and Linux servers. It's worth a look.

In other Linux news, Qlusters said that its openQRM systems management software now supports FreeBSD and Solaris (SPARC and x86). ®

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