The Comdexification of Linux

Summary:At some point, it's possible that open source conventions will have to go to Vegas. I have seen many industries try Vegas since Comdex, and all failed, unable to match the distractions.

Comdex show floor
Linuxworld hits San Francisco next week with 11,000 attendees. The media is filled with stories about the "mainstreaming" of open source.

Maybe. I'm more worried about open source Comdexifying, about Comdexification if you will.

If you're under 30 you may barely know what I'm talking about. But back in the last century Comdex was the computing industry's Woodstock.

One year Comdex' exhibits sprawled across 9 different hotels, as well as the giant Las Vegas Convention Center. The motto was "See it all," which I took to mean "We dare you to try and see it all." I dared, and still have the scars of blisters to prove it.

The point is you couldn't see it all. As Comdex grew you couldn't really do business there. Companies stayed at Comdex until a daring few abandoned it and everyone suddenly realized no one had to be there.

It's a problem of scaling anyone trying to fly into Linuxworld this weekend will appreciate. As would some politicians.

The question is whether the Linux industry should worry about it. Despite additions to the Moscone Center, Linuxworld is threatening to overflow it. And there are just so many hotel rooms.

Penguinjive 2
At some point, it's possible that open source conventions will have to go to Vegas. I have seen many industries try Vegas since Comdex, and all failed, unable to match the distractions.

So can Linux scale up to Vegas? Can it scale to the mainstream? Or will it be Comdexified? I don't know but I think we're going to find out.

Topics: Linux, Open Source

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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