Last month, the IBM Haifa Research Lab hosted the GNU/Linux Free Software and Open Source seminar, which focused on the technical aspects of the GNU/Linux operating system, IBM's involvement in Linux, and the Free Software movement. The seminar was immensely popular-more than 200 people signed up for the preliminary registration for the event.
The seminar was offered as part of a two-day GNU/Linux-IBM event in Israel. The first day, held on the campus of Tel Aviv University and hosted by IBM Israel, was a workshop for the general public that focused on the business-oriented aspects of the GNU/Linux OS. The purpose of the seminar in Haifa was to support the IBM-Linux connection, and to present recent technological developments in the GNU/Linux field.
Representatives of more than 30 companies from nearly the entire spectrum of the Israeli high-tech industry attended the seminar, as did staff members from a number of Israeli venture capital funds and representatives from top local universities. Many university students attended the lectures as well, due to the immense popularity of GNU/Linux on campuses.
The seminar featured lectures on a variety of topics, such as applications for the GNU/Linux platform, similarities and differences between free and open source software, and business applications and future directions of open source software. Ted Tso, a senior Linux developer from IBM, referred to by ZDNet as a "Linux luminary," spoke about the origins of the Linux kernel.
The keynote lecture was given by Richard Stallman, the founder of the GNU project and a pioneer of the Free Software Movement. Stallman explained in his lecture the necessity for free software and the benefits of shared development of applications. He also noted that despite recent gains, there is still much to be done to assure the total acceptance of the free software concept.
The seminar was organized by David Bernstein, manager of the IBM Haifa Research Lab's Software and Verification Department, and Jacob P. Ukelson, the director of technical venture relations in Israel for IBM.
"This was the first time a seminar of this magnitude was held for GNU/Linux in Israel," said Bernstein. "By supporting GNU/Linux, we at IBM hope to push forward free and open source software, and help bring the GNU/Linux OS to the client level, and even to PDAs."