OpenSource World offering free admission

The long-running show is trying to reach rank-and-file system administrators, the conference chairman says

Organizers of the upcoming OpenSource World conference broadened the event program and are offering free admission, hoping to attract more attendees in a time of slashed travel budgets and increased competition from similar shows.

The conference was previously known as LinuxWorld. This year's event is scheduled for Aug. 11-13 in San Francisco's Moscone Center.

Key topics will include Drizzle, a database project based on the MySQL codebase, mobile development and security, said event chairman Don Marti.

The CloudWorld and Next Generation Data Center events will run concurrently with OpenSource World.

But perhaps the most telling change is the decision to drop admission charges for qualified IT professionals and to instead gain revenue solely from sponsorships.

Organizers have implemented a qualifying process in order to weed out marketing staffers from vendors that aren't exhibiting at the show, but might be interested in attending to check out the competition, Marti said.

"The kind of people the program committee wants to reach are those hardcore sysadmins and working IT managers," he said.

"We want them to get something out of it that they can take back to the office," Marti added. "This is not just a high-level strategy show."

What's not yet clear is how many such individuals the event will attract, given that the global economic recession has put a damper on tech trade-show attendance overall in recent months.

Current attendance figures for the event, which is backed by IDG World Expo, a division of IDG News Service's parent corporation, weren't immediately available Thursday.

"Every show in the whole IT market is in trouble," Marti said. "Travel budgets are tight and training budgets are tight. ... This show's affected by the same conditions as other shows."

There is also a great deal of competition from other open-source events, such as LinuxCon, he added.

But OpenSource World nonetheless has "a good long-term story," he said.

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