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LinuxWorld: Get Ready For Some Surprises

It's that time of year again when the Linux world converges on San Francisco to talk about all things Linux.

And of course all the major players in the Linux world will be there; many have news, and others just have things they want to say about the news to come.

A lot of this year's topics will sound familiar to past attendees of LinuxWorld, with topics such as virtualization, mobility, desktop and grid computing filling up the schedule.

Expect some news to be more shocking than others. This year's iteration marks a significant milestone for the event for a number or reasons.

The San Francisco show is now the LinuxWorld event, as conference organizers have elected to torpedo the full east coast show last held in Boston in April.

In a mid-week analyst conference call hosted by LinuxWorld organizers, IDC analyst Al Gilen said he thought virtualization would again be a hot topic at the San Francisco event.

Virtualization was a key topic at the Boston event, with news from XenSource, VirtualIron, VMware and others, as well as a keynote on virtualization from Dell CTO Kevin Kettler.

This year, there are no fewer than six sessions over the course of the three-day event dealing with virtualization-related topics.

And there will be a keynote on virtualization, this one coming on the last day of the conference and delivered by XenSource CEO Peter Levine.

Linux on the desktop once again will be a topic of discussion, with an entire track is being devoted to the topic.

Novell's Nat Friedman, who has been speaking about the Linux desktop at LinuxWorld's since at least 2004, will again be delivering a talk on the same subject.

There is a bit of difference this time around, however.

Novell now has in market its Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10, which is arguably the best such product out there today.

Friedman will be showing off its most visible asset, the XGL 3D enhancements.

Expected desktop adoption to also be further buoyed this year. Lenovo is expected to announce that it will ship notebooks preloaded with Novell's SUSE Linux.

Another key component of Linux desktop adoption is application availability. Expect to see news from IBM and others in that vein that brings necessary enterprise applications to the Linux desktop.

Mobile Linux will also be an area of discussion, with an entire track and a keynote.

On the news end, Trolltech is holding an invitation-only fete on Monday night at which it is expected to announce something so secret they wouldn't do a pre-briefing on without a signed non-disclosure agreement.

This LinuxWorld is also expected to have at least two party crashers.

In Boston, Microsoft was an active participant in the event with Bill Hilf, general manager of Microsoft Platform Strategy, delivering the final-day keynote.

This time around Microsoft is hosting an event outside of the convention.

"At LinuxWorld, Microsoft will be showcasing the biggest selection of apps outside of Moscone Center -- appetizers, that is!" Microsoft's press pitch states.

The event appears to be about Microsoft's Embedded initiatives, a market in which it faces fierce competition from Linux.

Sun Microsystems is also going to crash the party with an event of its own on Monday night.

Rich Green, Sun's executive vice president of software, will detail where the company is with open source Java.

And finally, it is important to note that this year is a little special, as it marks the 15th anniversary of Linux.

On Aug. 25 1991, Linus Torvalds sent his now-legendary usenet posting announcing the birth of Linux.

Open source pioneer Eric Raymond will take the stage alongside Google's Chris DiBona, Jon 'maddog' Hall and others to discuss the last 15 years and what they expect to see in the next five.

To say that much has happened in the last 15 years is a ridiculous understatement.

Linux and the Open Source ecosystem of which it is a part have from inception been about more than just technology. It's been about freedom.

The opening keynote for the conference will be by Professor Lawrence Lessig and called "Free Culture: What We Need From You."

This LinuxWorld will likely show that there is still a lot more to come, as Linux continues to permeate all aspects of IT.

It will also mark the beginning of a new era in enterprise Linux.