Where's the hot chicks?
Yeah you heard it, Summer LinuxWorld Expo sucked. Again.
No, I didn't go this year. In fact, I haven't gone in two years. So how can I say it sucked? Because everyone who I know who was a speaker or a journalist that went said it sucked, that's why. No significantly new announcements or products, no really cool vendor booths, the parties suck or are non-existent, and as my friend above states, no hot female Penguins to be found.
But is this horrible news? Is interest in Linux faltering? Is the world coming to an end?
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HELL NO. It's the best possible news, ever. It means Linux is mainstream. It means that we have an ecosystem so strong, that we don't need dedicated trade shows for it anymore. Has the world ended since COMDEX shut down? Do we really need an E3 anymore? Ok, so we still have INTEROP and CeBIT but still, does anyone really care as much about those shows anymore now that we have excellent dissemination of marketing and demo material on the Internet, with webcast technology effectively perfected at this point?
What this means for LinuxWorld and all broad appeal trade shows in general is that people don't want to travel anymore now that the price of airline tickets are, well, ludicrous. Taking several days off to go to a trade show and spending exorbitant amounts of cash on hotels and show admission is hardly justifiable anymore, especially if you work in a IT shop or in IT delivery and if attendance doesn't have specific business goals in mind.
Sure, if you work on a big community project and someone can sponsor you, or if your company wants to send you out there to network, then perhaps there is still a reason to go, but honestly, the days of the big glitzy expos are long gone. I mean how many booth bunnies do you need to look at before you get your money's worth? The booth shwag isn't even that good anymore. Do I really need ANOTHER 256MB USB keychain? More mousepads from startup vendors or products that we'll never hear the light of day from in 2 years? C'mon.
What I would really like to see is LinuxWorld Expo and similar conferences get more innovative with online webcasts and better electronic ways to disseminate vendor material and announcements. Run LinuxWorld Expo ALL YEAR LONG on the Internet, with a virtual trade show floor using a really slick website and virtual conference sessions using WebEx or NetMeeting. Put all the marketing material up there as PDFs, using a sophisticated tag-based CMS, so I can find what I want. RSS feeds for new product announcements. Targeted monthly suscriber newsletters for specific topic areas, such as SOA, Virtualization, and Open Source solutions.
Schlep out to San Francisco and pay big bucks again at the downtown Hilton or pay a reasonable membership fee to access a website with vendor-supported targeted advertising and specialized multimedia content? Guess which one I'll pick.
Should trade shows like LinuxWorld Expo still exist or are web technologies sufficient in this day in age? Talk Back and let me know.