CeBIT, the world's largest IT trade show, attracted a healthy mix of open source companies and enthusiasts this week, and ZDNet UK was there to get a flavour of the action.
Klaus Knopper attracted a packed crowd on Friday lunchtime when he demonstrated the latest version of his Linux distribution. Knoppix 3.8 contains a full range of open source applications and can be booted directly from a CD.
So many people turned up to Knopper's event that there wasn't a spare seat to be had, and our correspondent on the ground reports that "a mad rush broke out" when Knoppix 3.8 CDs were distributed.
CeBIT was the venue for the launch of SuSE Linux Professional 9.3, which will include support for Xen — allowing users run multiple versions of the operating system simultaneously.
It also hosted a debate on whether Linux or Windows would be the operating system of choice for businesses in the future. Some users said were predictably passionate about running their applications on open source software because of its better stability, while others remained adamant Windows had many advantages.
One of CeBIT's many halls included the Linux Park, where open source vendors and developers could mingle. This included Debian , the free Linux distribution. One developer claimed Debian was a better choice for mission-critical applications than rival commercial distributions, as the lack of commercial pressures meant for better code.
With 500,000 people expected to visit CeBIT 2005, it's a great place to spread the open source message. And several people were doing just that by dressing up in giant penguin costumes to get the message out.