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Who Let The Source Out? OOoFf! OOoFf!

On February 9-11th 2005, in San Diego, CA the most important forces of the open source desktop business are coming together for the first time, and I invite you to be part of this monumental event. It will be the third-annual Desktop Linux Summit, but this year's event will be like none other because in addition to the leading desktop Linux companies converging in San Diego, and Mozilla/Firefox will be given their own half-day tracks. As in years past, you'll hear from the leaders in the desktop Linux business, but this year and Mozilla/Firefox will each have a time dedicated to speakers, demos and panels addressing the needs of their communities. For attendees, this means that one affordable registration fee gives them admission to three events in one, where they can hear from the groups whose efforts are having the biggest impact on the desktop today.

Even though we've expanded the conference from two days to three, we've worked hard to keep the registration fee affordable so people with any size budget can attend. A $99 pre-registration gains complete access for exhibits and speakers to all events (DLS, OpenOffice and Mozilla tracks), plus breakfasts, lunch on 3 days and the obligatory T-shirt. We're also lining up a stellar list of speakers, just like we did last year with Clay Christensen and others. This year we already have Mitch Kapor, the founder of Lotus, The EFF, and current Chairman of the Mozilla Foundation as a keynote speaker. (I'm sure we can talk him into demoing Chandler!) We've packed 3 informative programs into one affordable price, so we're likely to reach our 1,000 person limit - you'll want to register early for this event to ensure a slot. (If you'd like to exhibit, please go here for more info.)

Now some might be wondering why Linspire would pay all the costs and take on the burden of logistics for an event where a significant portion of the agenda will be dedicated to and Mozilla technologies (like Firefox), which most people use on Microsoft Windows computers. First off, we are big believers in and Mozilla. Mozilla has been our default browser and email since the earliest versions. Our recently released Internet suite is based around Mozilla and we've released the code and are working with Mozilla to get some of the snazzy features like in-line spell checking, MailMinder and Hot Words into future versions of Firefox. We've also worked with the StarOffice team that does virtually all of the engineering on, to help provide usability testing and feedback to improve those products. But there's something much bigger at work here.

I mean it when I say that the DLS will bring together the most powerful forces in the open source desktop business. I'm not referring to companies such as Linspire, Sun or Novell, but rather OOoFf. What is OOoFf? + Firefox. There is tremendous momentum building for those two products. Pick up any magazine or newspaper and you'll likely see an article lauding these programs. They have clearly reached quality thresholds to satisfy most users, and the press momentum behind them is unstoppable. And it is more about the trend they represent, than the actual products.

See what and Firefox look like on Linux and on Windows
The trend is capable, cross-platform, open source applications. Programs that do a good job at their designated task and look and operate similarly whether you are on Microsoft Windows or Linux. If a user gets familiar with and Firefox on Microsoft Windows, then it's just a baby step to desktop Linux, where those same applications work well and are often standard. These cross-platform tools will help smooth the way for desktop Linux migration.

The open source nature of these products is critical because it encourages a communal effort. No one company can compete with Microsoft now - they are simply too powerful. It will take an industry pooling their efforts to crack Microsoft's desktop monopoly. And that's what you're witnessing, with OOoFf leading the way. Here's a list of just a few products that are helping:

Cross-platform Product
Office Suite
Mozilla Foundation
Real Player
Media Player
Real Networks
HTML Editor

You'll hear and see lots about OOoFf and other cross-platform technologies at the upcoming DLS. I hope you'll consider attending and registering early to assure your spot at the pre-registration price of just $99. After January 7th, the price jumps to $175.

-- Michael
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