The Linux Foundation is holding its first End User Summit beginning Monday in New York, in an effort to bring Linux kernel developers in closer contact with users at Wall Street institutions and other major companies.
"We're talking about a direct dialogue between the very highest-level Linux developers and the very highest-level Linux users," said Jim Zemlin, the organization's executive director.
Right now, the latter group is likely working with the kernel community indirectly, he said: "Most very large, sophisticated users of Linux acquire it through a vendor that supports that software."
Top contributors to kernel development include software vendors such as Red Hat and Novell.
"Sometimes the desires of what end-users really need end up getting filtered through the salesperson at a [vendor] and up the management chain, and by the time it gets to a developer, it gets pretty garbled," said kernel maintainer Ted Ts'o, an IBM employee who is serving a fellowship as chief platform strategist for the Linux Foundation.
The event is closed to the public and press. Set to attend are representatives from the New York Stock Exchange, Fifth Third Bank, Credit Suisse and Fidelity.
The show is more than a feel-good effort, suggested Redmonk analyst Stephen O'Grady, who will moderate a panel discussion there.
"The tangible gains from such end-user conferences of this type are always difficult to quantify with any precision, but it's virtually indisputable that collecting those that work on a particular technology and those that build businesses upon it is a good thing," O'Grady wrote in an e-mail Friday. "Even if it's just an improved understanding of where both parties are coming from, events such as these are useful."