I've been reading a number of stories about LinuxWorld in San Francisco, such as this one by Sean Michael Kerner of Internetnews.com. The authors of these articles appear surprised that the focus of LinuxWorld has been broadening over time to focus on how Linux is being used in the corporate datacenter and other important, related technologies such as virtualization. There's no surprise for long-time industry watchers.
If a person had watched the industry introduction of Unix and Windows they would be seeing the past all over again. As before, industry events went through the following cycle:
- Early events focused on only on the operating system and helped IT-staff come to understand the capabilities and functions available. There was a great deal of excitement about the operating system itself.
- Second generation events continued a strong focus on the operating system but, started focusing on application development frameworks and tools. At this point, many knew about the operating system but, didn't have experience using it as part of an IT-based solution.
- Third generation events continued the focus on the operating system and application development and then went on to focus on interoperability. Now people knew about the operating system, had developed something based upon it and were grappling with the challenges of bringing what they built into the organization's network.
- Fourth generation events focused on how that operating system fit into the corporate network and what tasks it was best suited to handle.
- Operating system specific events gradually faded away as the operating system was firmly part of mainstream computing environments. At that point, IT-staff went to different shows because they already knew a great deal about that operating environment and were now more interested in cross platform development, data management, storage management, security and the like.
Linux has clearly become part of the corporate network. Linux expertise can be found in most medium and large enterprises. IDG World Expo, the company behind LinuxWorld, Macworld and several other interesting events are wisely expanding the focus of these events beyond the operating system.