There wasn't much of interest on the exhibit floor. Lots of small companies doing virtualization or sysadmin tools. The usual assortment of publishers. A few big companies, but fewer than in past years. Not much swag. Dave commented that there was a much higher "bunny quotient" this year than last (lots of perky booth bunnies, very few knowledgeable people working the floor). The ratio of Linux to Windows in the big-company booths was much lower than last year, especially at AMD and HP, who both had far more Windows machines visible than Linux ones.
The most interesting new hardware was the Palm Foleo. It looks like a very thin 10-inch screen laptop, much like my own Vaio only much thinner and lighter, with a full QWERTY keyboard with a good feel to it. The booth staff weren't very technical, but apparently it sports a 300MHz Intel processor, built-in wi-fi and bluetooth, a resolution a hair under 1024x768 (I didn't write down the exact numbers and their literature doesn't say), a claimed battery life of 5 hours, and runs a Linux from Wind River. The booth rep I talked to said it would run regular Linux apps once they were recompiled for the processor, but he didn't seem very technical and I doubt it runs X, so I'm not sure I believe that. For a claimed price of around $400 it looks potentially quite interesting.
Their glossy handout says it has VGA out and can display PowerPoint presentations, which was interesting since the only powerpoint reader I know of on Linux is OpenOffice and I don't see that running on 300MHz (considering how slow it is on my P3 700). Apparently they're using Documents To Go from DataVis, a PalmOS app.
Aside from that there wasn't much of interest going on. They split up the "Dot Org Pavilion" this year so not all the community groups were in the same place, which was a bummer -- usually that's where all the interesting booths are (local LUGs, FSF, EFF, Debian, Ubuntu and groups like that: no Mozilla booth this time around). But this year the dotorgs were too spread out to offer a good hangout spot. It didn't look like there was much of interest at the conference either: this year they gave us Exhibit Hall pass attendees a free ticket to attend one of the paid talks, and I couldn't find one on the day we attended that looked interesting enough to bother.
However, that changed at the end of the day with the BOF sessions. The Intel Powertop BOF was an easy choice -- I've been curious about Powertop ever since it was announced, and was eager to hear more about it from one of the developers. The BOF didn't disappoint, though the room did: they didn't even provide a projector (!), so we all had to cluster around the presenter's laptop when he wanted to show something. Too bad! but it didn't keep the BOF from being full of interesting information. I'll split that off into a separate article.
[ 12:34 Aug 11, 2007 More conferences | permalink to this entry | ]