CeBIT Australia 2007 has ended on a high, with all exhibitors and visitors polled by ZDNet Australia saying they plan to return next year.
"This year was an improvement over previous years ... it's more business-focused as well," said one exhibitor.
ZDNet Australia spoke with exhibitors from a cross-section of the floor -- government, hardware, software and telecommunications sectors -- including Google, Red Hat, CSIRO, Panasonic, ELO, NetGear, and Internode.
Most exhibitors were happy with the contacts gained and sales leads obtained during the three-day event at Sydney's Darling Harbour.
Meanwhile, CeBIT spokesperson Tori Gorman declined to project visitor numbers, saying the figures will be sent to its German office for auditing prior to public release.
According to CeBIT organiser Hannover Fairs Australia, last year's technology conference and exhibition attracted 721 exhibitors and 24,130 visitors.
Earlier today, a special leg dedicated to open-source software was kicked off by Patrick Callioni from the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO).
Underscoring the government's commitment to open source, Callioni used bold language to make his point: "The Government is very interested in open source".
"On a more personal level, I believe open source solutions represent the future," he added.
In a session dedicated to Open Source for Business, Mozilla Foundation CEO Mitchell Baker and IBM Linux program executive Mary Ann Fisher found themselves facing an appreciative, but unexpectedly knowledgable crowd.
Baker used Netscape versus Internet Explorer as an example of where the traditional methods of competition were not working, and how an open development model allowed a variety of groups with a stake in the browser industry to contribute and work towards an alternative.
Fisher and Baker found their carefully prepared points on the reasons to switch to open-source software in their businesses too simple for the audience, as a quick show of hands showed that the great majority of attendees in both the private and public sector were already using open source in some capacity.
Later in the day, National ICT Australia's Professor Gernot Heiser had some blunt words for the OpenOffice community -- the product isn't ready to compete with the big boys.