LinuxWorld: It's About The Apps (Dummy)!

People were talking about what works, and what doesn't in the Linux world, and at a LinuxWorld conference.
NEW YORK -- Reporter's Notebook: Open source is more than just Linux. It's more than just infrastructure and it can save you money.

These were some of the messages to float out of the LinuxWorld Open Solutions Summit in New York this week. No need to stop the presses on these revelations, but the case studies that went with them proved their points.

Novell's CIO, Debra Anderson, talked about her experience rolling out Linux in an organization that has had its fair share of proprietary applications. It's easy to just assume that since Novell is now a Linux vendor, that it runs everything on Linux and only runs open source. The reality is that the company had a mix of fixed IT assets and infrastructure on different platforms that made the transition daunting, to say the least.

But the company knew it had to drink its own champagne (or eats its own dog food if you will). Once the company got through migrating big enterprise applications, it saved money. But getting through that process struck a chord with the New York audience.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Defense talked about open source security applications to pro-actively protect their critical IT infrastructure. The CTO of retailer ran down how that company rolled out an open source application and infrastructure in order to support its e-commerce operations.

The event picked a tough week, thanks to a winter snow storm that hammered the Northeast and kept some speakers and attendees from the show.

Microsoft's appearance was an unexpected highlight. I half expected to be inundated by Microsoft messaging and materials about what Microsoft is doing with Novell. Instead, the Redmondites just mingled with the open sourcers, chatting them up about what they thought about the show and, of course, Microsoft.

There was actually more news outside of the event than in it, such as from rPath, IBM, HP and Sun.

But sometimes it's better to define an event by the experience, rather than the news. In the words of the great Jedi master Yoda, "Try Not. Do or Do Not. There is No Try."

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