Systems 2001: Panel Discussion GNU/Linux and Free Software

Frank Koormann frank.koormann at
Fri Oct 19 10:42:08 UTC 2001

Dear all,

another report from the Systems 2001 fair in Munich:

Yesterday afternoon there was a panel discussion entitled
"10 years Linux - What next?" The discussion was moderated by
Jan Kleinert (editor, Linux Magazin). Participants:
Hans Baier (Caldera Germany), Robin Tawa (IT Consultant, former Apptime),
Udo Hertz (IBM EMEA), Georg Greve (president FSF Europe), 
Sebastian Hetze (Linux Information Systems AG) and Daniel Riek (Alcove GmbH).

After an initial round considering the history of the Linux kernel 
the discussion focussed on the position of Free Software in the current
IT world, the chances of business models based on Free Software and the 
future. Most notably the term Free Software dominated the discussion 
instead of Linux and Open Source (thanks to Georg).

It was common sense that the bankrupts of GNU/Linux related companies we all 
saw during the last year does not proof a failure of Free Software, 
but is more related to the new economy hype and the cooling of the IT
market in general. 

However, the proposed options for future business models were quite 
different. Where on the one hand proprietary models based on GNU/Linux 
were prefered, the other strong hand favorited service based models with 
free software. Udo Hertz stated, that IBM's customers demand the freedoms 
to run the software for any purpose, to study and to redistribute the
programs, to improve them and to choose service partners for the software
they use. 

Free Software is ready for the future. Daniel Riek and Sebastian Hetze
pointed out, that whether business models will succeed or not, Free Software
will still be there - and will even grow. As an example the current 
development of free office software was mentioned. 

At the close Georg Greve stressed to achieve the success of Free Software
the users have to be informed what Free Software stands for, to take them
out of their lethargy to be content with the restrictions their tools to
work with currently have, to demand their freedoms.

The auditorium of about 80 people got a profound argumentation
for free software.

Kind regards,

	Frank Koormann

Frank Koormann                             <frank.koormann at>
 Professional Service around Free Software       (
 FreeGIS Project                                 (
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