The fourth annual Red Hat Summit is expected to draw as many as 1,200 customers and vendors -- about 15% more than last year -- to Boston next week. The convention takes place June 18 through June 20 at the Hynes Convention
The conference features an all-star roster of keynote speakers, including Jim Stallings, the general manager of IBM's Enterprise Systems Division; John Halamka, CIO of Harvard Medical School; Joel Cohen, co-creator of The Simpsons; Red Hat President and CEO Jim Whitehurst, and Brian Stevens, Red Hat's chief technology officer.
With as many as 84% of attendees coming from the customer base of the Raleigh, N.C.-based company, the conference has created several avenues for users to interact with Red Hat , including a Campground instant forum where attendees can speak on a topic of their choice. In addition, there will be a customer feedback forum every day with the Iain Gray, the vice president of global support, who also has a booth at the show to answer questions.
"We want to be as accessible as possible," said Leigh Day, Red Hat's senior director of global corporate communications.
The big picture
A central theme of the conference is likely to be Linux Automation, Red Hat's vision for anywhere, anytime computing on any deployment platform. This roadmap encompasses Red Hat's trajectory of development over the next few years, with some of the components already in place and others in design.
In addition, Red Hat will urge attendees to get off the sidelines and become involved in community efforts to improve open source code, Day said.
The convention comes at a key time for open source in general and for Red Hat in particular, she said. First, Linux has finally won recognition as an enterprise-ready business platform and is no longer perceived as a mere pastime for hobbyists, she said.
Second, this Red Hat conference is its first as a multiproduct company, including JBoss middleware as well as Red Hat's operating system, Day said.
Another first this year is that the Fedora open source community, which develops free software that Red Hat in turn tests and perfects to bring it up to commercial grade, will host its FUDCon convention in conjunction with the Red Hat Summit. FUDCon will run June 19 to June 21, also at the Hynes Convention Center, and Whitehurst will address the group at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 19.
Attendees at the free FUDCon convention can also visit vendor booths in the Red Hat exhibit hall.