Linux Expo in London

Posted 11 Jul 2001 at 16:06 UTC by Jewelsthorn Share This

For those of you who have been in the Unix/Linux space for a few years, you may recall the days before big commercial events like LinuxWorld. I've just returned from a trip down memory lane....

It was very refreshing to attend Linux Expo in London, where a combination of Linux users, Microsoft haters, and curious onlookers were milling about, attending lectures, and forming new paradigms.

The UK seems to be remarkably slower to adopt Linux than any other "civilized" country I've visited or read about. While this is disconcerting, I did find myself enjoying the show because it had that ambiance of ALS and RedHat's Linux Expo of 1998 & 1999. I'll never forget when maddog got up at ALS and proclaimed it the largest gathering of Linux users ever recorded in the world with an attendance of only 2000. Those were the days!

I was pleased to see many of the folks at Linux Expo London expressing a desire to see Linux use grow. Also, as many as 40% of the people who stopped by the LI/LPI booth said they use Linux at work.

Another interesting side note from the show was that there are three Linux magazines being published in the UK. That is more than the current two magazines in the US, with only a fraction of the user base that we have. Perhaps by being geographically closer to the rest of Europe, the costs for international circulation are lower. If so, perhaps each of them will find their niche.

While one can never go back in time, I do feel that the Linux Expo was as close as one can get to being taken on a trip down memory lane. Perhaps by escaping the VC craziness of the US 2000 money frenzy, Britain Linux Users can catch up and even move ahead of the rest of us in contribution and adoption, demonstrating that a conservative approach is often a good strategy.

UK LUGs, posted 11 Jul 2001 at 17:47 UTC by Denny » (Journeyer)

Just thought I'd insert the obligatory plug here for the UK Linux User Groups which can be found at - if you're in the UK and using or contemplating Linux, get in touch with your local LUG.


Pretty small indeed, posted 11 Jul 2001 at 19:49 UTC by hadess » (Master)

I've been there on the thursday afternoon, with workmates, as the conference centers is just 3 tube stations away from work. I was disappointed by the size of it, although I was expecting it. Nothing that can compare with the LWCE in New York I've been to earlier this year. To worsen this, I missed telsa and Alan, zaheer (from the gstreamer crew) and a friend from Ericsson, and Tux Games were out of Alpha Centauri boxes.

Fortunately, Debian was there, cheering up the .org ground, downstairs, and I signed up to be a developer, thanks to Robot101, the person that packages your unofficial Mozilla. Thanks mate.

oh, about the magazines, posted 11 Jul 2001 at 19:54 UTC by hadess » (Master)

The UK might have more Linux magazines than the US, but certainly less than Germany, or France (which when I left last year had something like 6 or 7 of them). A bunch of them are pretty crappy, or very newbie orientated, but at least Linux users have more choice.

oh, about the magazines, posted 11 Jul 2001 at 19:54 UTC by hadess » (Master)

The UK might have more Linux magazines than the US, but certainly less than Germany, or France (which when I left last year had something like 6 or 7 of them). A bunch of them are pretty crappy, or very newbie orientated, but at least Linux users have more choice.

more re: magazines, posted 12 Jul 2001 at 10:23 UTC by Denny » (Journeyer)

It's interesting as a LUG admin to note that every Linux magazine being distributed in the UK (and some from abroad) have given my LUG a free subscription to their magazine, with the notable exception of Linux Format who don't even answer my emails pointing out a problem with their LUG listings (and yet they keep managing to send me spam once every few months).

Also, while Linux User and Linux Magazine continue to run interesting content aimed at various ability levels, Linux Format seems to be stuck re-hashing the same "all the newbies, all the time" stuff which most people get tired of after about six months...

I know which magazine I'll NOT be subscribing to personally.


it sucked,, posted 12 Jul 2001 at 13:44 UTC by pjdowner » (Journeyer)

The Linuxexpo this year was smaller than last year and I was disappointed that there were more Windows machines than Linux machines there. But then I went there for the meetings/drinking sessions that occur in the evenings :)

I'm with pjdowner: not so keen, posted 12 Jul 2001 at 20:25 UTC by Telsa » (Master)

I certainly recall the days before LinuxWorld: I've managed to avoid LinuxWorld events completely so far but I remember the amazed comments on LWEs originally. "Freebies! Parties! Glitter!". I have only been attending Linux events since 1997 (when -was- the Kongress in Aachen? That was it) and missed the earlier ones.

I don't agree that the London event was like the Expos in NC I got to ('98 and '99). This year's London show was like the London one the year before, only smaller. Lots and lots of businesses, and a tiny area for talks.

What did take me back to "those days" was the first Guadec: a couple of trestle tables for the sponsors and everyone crowding into lecture theatres and workshops. Second one was similar, but the first one definitely had that flavour. I missed UKUUG this year, but that had a similar atmosphere last year and the reports I heard of it this year were very positive. Something they both had in common was that they were hosted at universities, and a university playing at being a conference centre doesn't compete with Olympia or high-powered hotels in glamour.

Finally, I can't say that having Microsoft-haters in attendance is refreshing. I don't want to hear about their evils. I want to hear about the conference topic. Particularly if it's a pay-for job.

UKUUG, posted 13 Jul 2001 at 00:55 UTC by dan » (Master)

Linux Expo was a trade show (and one run by ITEvents, at that), whereas the UKUUG conference was a conference. The chance of learning anything interesting - and meeting anyone interesting - just usually tends to be that much greater at the latter kind of event. Even if you don't actually go to the talks, the fact that they're being held tends to draw people in anyway.

If you were at UKUUG last year, this year was pretty similar this but held in more pleasant surroundings (i.e. not London). If you were there this year but not last year, imagine the same basic style of operation but in Hammersmith - hotter, grimier, and with more traffic noise. Don't ask me how it went in 1999, because I wasn't there. And yes, the usual culprits (O'Reilly, smattering of CD vendors, etc) were out there with their trestle tables. (It's rumoured that IBM - the conference sponsors - wanted to put up a stand along the lines of the one they had at Linux Expo. They were, I hear, discouraged.)

I vote Scotland for location next time. Sensible licencing hours.

Somebody who was at the LSM event wants to give us a potted review, don't they? Go on...

Not bad but not great, posted 16 Jul 2001 at 12:11 UTC by jono » (Master)

I was running the KDE booth at the London expo and while it was small, I don't think it was *that* bad. I personally like expos so I can meet up with friends that I dont get to see too often and to promote KDE as much as I can.

The Birmingham one promises to be bigger and better, so we have that to look forward to. I will be running the KDE booth there also. :-)

Oh, I wake up and see it now, posted 25 Jul 2001 at 21:50 UTC by bownie » (Master)

Yeah, Linux Expo. I was expecting something a little more vibrant but then what do I know?

Spent the first ten minutes wondering when the twenty sided dice were going to make an appearance and the next why schoolboy simple questions should call for hostility and derision (take a bow, Tivoli).

So yeah, it's in the geek trap. Will it ever get out? Will we ever care as long as we have it to play with? The hurdle we discuss is that Linux has Desktop and Business to wow at the same stroke - does it cut both ways?

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