LinuxCafe Attracts All Sorts

Back to Contents of Issue: June 2002

by By Sam Joseph

AS LINUX STARTS TO attract more attention (see Open Source free for all) in Japan, perhaps the LinuxCafe in a five story building nestled behind the bright lights of Akihabara's Electric Town, will be the community's Mecca. Katsumi Hirakawa, the CEO of LinuxCafe and president of BusinessCafe the broader business incubation organization of which it is a part, says that many companies working with Linux and other open source solutions had approached his group for support, sparking the idea for the LinuxCafe Hirakawa says there are particular challenges associated with open source business models. To face these challenges, the LinuxCafe is trying to get all the different parties under one roof: the kernel hackers, the application developers, the component engineers.

Companies from India, Korea and Canada are connected to the cafe and Hosei University is running open source seminars in the building.

The ground floor of the LinuxCafe is a Pronto coffee shop equipped with wireless surfing terminals, while the second floor is called the Penguin Village, with seminar spaces and public access computers running each of the different Linux distributions.

The third floor is the college cafE which Hirakawa refers to as an open source laboratory. It contains a computer lab and meeting space. "We want to allow existing businesses to use open source solutions," Hirakawa says.

The cafe hosted the second Digital and Academic Liberty of Information Workshop -- DALI 2002 -- on its third floor earlier this year. At the time, Toshiyasu Kunii, professor at Hosei University, whipped his audience into an open source frenzy by telling the crowd that Microsoft was the wooly mammoth of our time -- well adapted to its environment but unable to change.

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