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Red Hat Summit: Reporter's notebook, Day 1

Amid a sold out crowd at the Red Hat Summit, executives took the stage to praise open source while session leaders told audiences about SELinux and open source backup applications.

SAN DIEGO -- The weather wasn't the only thing to grace the Red Hat Summit here this week; a sold out crowd of 1,400 was also on hand to pack the Sheraton Hotel and Marina and a few other area hotels as well.

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Because of the crowds, day one conference sessions often burst at the seams with attendees eager to hear about new technologies in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.

Fellow members of the press corps have already remarked that this is probably the biggest summit in the event's brief three-year history. With two summits under my belt thus far, this reporter was inclined to agree with them.

There were several good reasons why attendance should have swelled this time around, the most notable being the recent release of RHEL 5 and all that the upgrade to that operating system entails for users. The virtualization track, understandably, saw crowded standing-room-only sessions as users took advantage of the ability to ask session leaders questions at the conclusion of their remarks and slide shows.

People really wanted to know more about Xen and Linux -- how to make them hum, best practices, whatever. Our site editor Jan Stafford is covering the virtualization angles for us this week, and you can definitely check out her stuff later this week on our site and at sister site

Alternately, you can also get a taste of the conference keynotes over at our blog, the Enterprise Linux Log. I've already logged a few thoughts on Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik's "uplifting" keynote on the proliferation of open source in developing nations, as well as some run-of-the-mill press conference notes on the brand new Red Hat Exchange (RHX) and an announcement from IBM about Linux on the mainframe.

RHX was an idea originally unveiled in March at the official launch of RHEL 5. There were scant details then ("It's like Amazon," said Red Hat's vice president of engineering Paul Cormier), but today we got the meat and potatoes from director of online services Matt Maddox. There are 14 members who will participate, including well-known open source software staples like MySQL. Check out the blog entry above for the rest of the info.

In the afternoon I attended a session on SELinux best practices hosted by Dan Walsh, the man who runs the SELinux operation at Red Hat. will have an article up on that later, but for now I leave you with the unforgettable quote Walsh used to quiet the audience and get things started:

"Software sucks. Why? Because humans write software … leave SELinux on all the time everywhere."

All in all it was an eventful day one. Expect some more Red Hat Exchange news and an interview with Red Hat's Tim Yeaton on his response to Oracle's Unbreakable Linux and the Microsoft-Novell deal in day two.

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