More Linux promotion than Linux adoption evidenced at LinuxWorld

While open source phones have been the talk of this year's LinuxWorld, a majority of attendees and vendors we saw were typing away on their iPhones and BlackBerrys -- neither of which is nearly as open as, say, OpenMoko's NeoFreerunner.

SAN FRANCISCO (BetaNews) - Although LinuxWorld is one of Moscone Center's smaller events, especially compared to the Apple's Macworld or Oracle's OpenWorld conference, it's typically a good place to gauge the state of the Linux community. One look around the place will tell you that there's more talk about Linux adoption than there is actual adoption.

Linux-based operating systems continue to expand away from the desktop and servers more towards mobile devices and laptops, but there's talk here that there are simply too many mobile Linux versions right now. A quick look at a handful of people using laptops revealed most of them were using either Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac OS X, although there were a few Linux users scattered around the Moscone Center.


The representatives I spoke with at the Ubuntu booth were fairly optimistic that its users are interested in taking Ubuntu off the desktop and using it on their laptops. But after randomly selecting 50 people who were laptop users, eight of them admitted to having a Linux distribution installed on their notebooks. Twenty of the people admitted they have tested a version of Linux on their laptop, but simply were not happy with the performance of the OS.

I believe Linux distributions need to fully tackle the desktop market before switching its focus to the laptop market.

Even though Ubuntu Linux and Oracle's Unbreakable Linux have received a large amount of publicity during the show, several other Linux flavors have a presence at LinuxWorld. Attendees were able to pick up copies of Novell's OpenSUSE 11.0, Fedora 9, FreeBSD's PC-BSD 1.5 Edison Edition, and others. While these distributions haven't been in the spotlight as much as Oracle or Canonical's offerings, they each play an important part in the open source movement.

Also at LinuxWorld this year is gOS, this time introducing its newest operating system able to operate specifically for Google Gadgets, LXDE, and Wine. The gOS system can normally be found in low-cost PCs and notebooks, such as the $199 Wal-Mart gPC and NetBooks.

After spending a couple of minutes playing with it, I could tell it's obviously not designed for experienced Linux users, but could give people new to Linux pain-free access to several different programs that could ease the transition from Windows to Linux.

The goS 3 Gadgets Beta is now available for download on the thinkgos Web site. The company is requesting that more experienced Linux users test out the beta, and offer feedback on the official gOS Linux Google discussion board.

Finally, after the voting disaster in Florida in 2000, things on the voting front remain unchanged, much to the dismay of many voters. Computer engineer Alan Dechert, creator of an open source e-voting system, was among those disgusted with the closed source voting system.

Dechert made an appearance here to talk about his proposed, fully open source e-voting system that he hopes will be picked up by counties for use in upcoming elections. BetaNews has an interview scheduled with Dechert for the end of the week, and will learn more about the system and why Dechert chose to create it.

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