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The President's Welcome:
Unix - Open for Business

The recent opening of Te Papa and the massive attendance since brings home the multi-faceted diversity of New Zealand and the strong interest we have in our own accomplishments. An intense balance forged from past, present and future, Te Papa has dared to stretch the definition of a museum and dared people to stretch themselves to envisage the past more vividly on the way to a more imaginative vision of the future. What has this to do with UniForum NZ??? What has this to do with UniForum NZ '98 ??? The answer is, of course, "everything". UniForum NZ has always represented a wide spectrum of New Zealand perspectives on information technology. That representation goes back through a number of years and an extraordinary number of disparate technologies. Each year the people of UniForum NZ gather to discuss and review how their industry has changed over the last year and how they think it might continue to change over the coming year or perhaps into the next Millenium. The recent opening of Te Papa and the massive attendance since brings home the multi-faceted diversity of New Zealand and the strong interest we have in our own accomplishments. An intense balance forged from past, present and future, Te Papa has dared to stretch the definition of a museum and dared people to stretch themselves to envisage the past more vividly on the way to a more imaginative vision of the future. What has this to do with UniForum NZ??? What has this to do with UniForum NZ '98 ??? The answer is, of course, "everything". UniForum NZ has always represented a wide spectrum of New Zealand perspectives on information technology. That representation goes back through a number of years and an extraordinary number of disparate technologies. Each year the people of UniForum NZ gather to discuss and review how their industry has changed over the last year and how they think it might continue to change over the coming year or perhaps into the next Millenium.

UniForum NZ '98 is showcased at a new venue: the Wairakei Resort. It offers superb facilities, seemingly tailor-made for the unique residential character we've grown to expect at a UniForum NZ conference. Added to this is the superb technical infrastructure already built into the conference area: ceiling-mounted projectors and network cabling.

To get the cerebral juices churning, try a tutorial before the conference. From a simple half-day on virtual reality through a full day of LINUX or PERL, to sessions on the practical aspects of making systems work or gaining an awareness of new technologies, there are in-depth sessions to suit all comers. Speakers gather at UniForum NZ '98 from around the country and around the world, having first passed through a variety of careers, vendors, projects, crises and New Zealand Customs. What they bring for us is a variety of opinions and observations on the everyday reality of making systems work. Some are new to us, like Rob Kolstad from BSDI. Others are old friends, returning to continue conversations and debates ongoing from years before. As usual, you can be sure that the New Zealand audience will latch onto the issues (and occasionally a speaker) for the traditional 24-hour-a-day debating treatment made famous at these gatherings. If you've been here before, I don't have to explain. If this is going to be yoru first year at UniForum NZ, I won't spoil the surprise!

One of the issues currently gathering momentum this year concerns the long term effect of the Massive Mergers: Compaq and DEC, CA and CSC. Other mergers are predicted. How will this change the IT landscape?? Are these relevant to NZ? Is this good for the companies AND New Zealand? My favourite part of the conference is sampling the futurist prognostications which seem to flow so freely from any conference gathering totaling more than one. Internet commerce, browsers, the Network Computer, LINUX going big time, palmtops and what of ADSL to the home ?

A UniForum NZ conference comes but once a year. This is your chance to take a break from the daily battle to install, fix and finagle systems into submission. This year, it's better than ever. I invite you to make your plans now, register early, and join us at Wairakei for UniForum NZ '98.

The conference information, and some proceedings can be found at www.UniForum.org.nz. The brochure can be downloaded and printed locally if required. The registration form can be downloaded and printed individually.

Bruce Miller,
President,
UniForum NZ
bruce.miller@xtra.co.nz