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LinuxCon to feature Red Hat, WebOS, Ubuntu and more as Linux turns 20

With the 20th anniversary of Linux on the horizon, the Linux Foundation has tapped personalities representing Red Hat, HP's WebOS and Ubuntu to keynote its annual conference.

LinuxCon North America will be in Vancouver, B.C., Aug. 17-19, featuring Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst, HP CTO Phil McKinney, Ubuntu technical architect Allison Randal and others including Marten Mickos, CEO of Eucalyptus Systems and former CEO of MySQL. The speaking lineup was revealed Wednesday.

IN PICTURES: The oddest places to find Linux

Linux creator Linus Torvalds wasn't mentioned as a speaker, although he will be judging a contest in which Linux enthusiasts are invited to create videos commemorating the 20th anniversary.

Whitehurst is an obvious choice for a keynote, as Red Hat is probably the biggest enterprise IT vendor to bet its future on Linux and open source. McKinney of HP will detail his company's strategy with WebOS, a Linux-based mobile operating system running on smartphones, tablets and perhaps even Windows PCs.

While Red Hat is huge in the enterprise Linux market, Ubuntu may be the most popular Linux desktop distribution for consumers. Keynote speaker Randal, who works for Canonical, "will share how the vibrant Ubuntu community and development team are turning the vision for Linux into reality," the Linux Foundation said.

Mickos "will discuss the changing enterprise Linux landscape, specifically as it relates to cloud computing." While Mickos' Eucalyptus company offers an open source platform for building private clouds, his former company, MySQL, is now owned by Oracle.

Keynote speakers also include Clay Shirky, an author of books about the effect of the Internet on society, and Mark Charlebois, director of open source strategy at Qualcomm Innovation Center. Charlebois will discuss Linux's role in mobile technology innovation.

LinuxCon registration is $500 through July 8 and $600 after that.

Torvalds started creating Linux in 1991 to provide an open source version of the Unix operating system. From its tiny beginnings, Linux has soared to become a major player in enterprise data centers, supercomputing, mobile devices and embedded systems.

But Linux has seen no major adoption on the desktop, and has faced various patent threats over the years from the likes of SCO and Microsoft. There's also division within the ranks between free software proponents and open source advocates, with free software movement founder Richard Stallman criticizing Torvalds for using some non-free software and not adopting the latest version of the GPL license for Linux.

But the rise of Linux has continued, to the point where Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin is talking trash about rival Microsoft. (See also: Bashing Microsoft 'like kicking a puppy,' says Linux Foundation chief.)

The actual anniversary of Linux is either on Aug. 25 or Oct. 5, depending on whether you count Torvalds' first announcement or the first release of Linux code as the starting date. The Linux Foundation is celebrating both dates.

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.


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