With the rename to “OpenSource World (TM)”, the former LinuxWorld made it clear what many of us knew before then. The show had seriously dropped in relevance, not only for business but also for the Linux communities. Aren’t the open source projects the lifeblood for all of the commercial vendors present? If so, why was the “.ORG Pavilion” was jammed all the way back in the corner behind ten-foot walls? Seemed like a clear sign of serious disconnect on the part of the expo. How long until they strung barbed wire and mounted machine-gun nests with the weapons pointing inward?
Several years ago, when Red Hat stopped going to LinuxWorld, North American Fedora Ambassadors still felt it was relevant to Fedora. I believe this was primarily because of the chance to connect with other contributors, the oxygen in the lifeblood for so much else at the show. LinuxWorld was a touchstone for the communities to reach out to each other, network, and grow the contributor-base, to attract more O2 molecules.
When IDG changed the name after the 2008 show to OpenSource World, myself and some folks I talked with were not sure if the show could maintain relevance. The change seemd to go head-to-head with O’Reilly’s OSCON. I also heard that the expo floor would not be free this year, although I haven’t found any confirmation. If that were the case, it would mean the flow of volunteer-oriented people who might participate or contribute to an open source project would trickle to a drip or a full-stop.
Just this week two things happened that sealed the deal. First, my keynote proposal for “Participate or Die” was turned down. I had said if I got a keynote talk in (fat chance!), then I would rally for a Fedora presence to back me up. Why was it rejected? “Possible reasons include: multiple submissions on the same topic, the appropriateness of the proposal to the conference format and ranking the expected level of interest.” I’d bet it was the middle one — IDG probably doesn’ t think their audience wants me to threaten them with irrelevance.
The other item came from an email from IDG that was forwarded to me. Apparently, the free booth space for open source projects in the .ORG Pavilion is no more. Open source projects are being offered a 10×10 booth with two stools, high counter, carpet, and electricity (no network) for $1995. Hey, it’s a 60% discount!
Just to add salt to the wound, I got an email to the account I’ve used for years to register for a free expo pass. I’m eligible for a free pass as an event alum! Not sure what there is to see since all the actual open source projects have been conveniently priced out of the expo floor.
So, I’m just an Ambassador in the Western NA region, but I certainly am not going to waste a dime or ten more seconds of my time on the clearly irrelevant OpenSource World. My recommendation is for Fedora Ambassadors to skip this show.
Maybe everyone should skip it?