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Enterprise Linux Today: The Open Days Are Just Beginning

Aug 30, 2000, 21:23 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Ferris)

"I remember the Open Systems promises like they were only yesterday. It's been a long time, actually eons in computing years, since I first read about some of the ways that the big industry leaders were making "Open Systems". These were interchangeable systems from IBM, HP, Sun and DEC (Now rolled into Compaq) that would allow Unix and enterprise customers to work together interchangeably. That was the promise, at least."

"The first problem was cost. The systems were usually a bit on the high side. In larger companies, this cost was easy to justify, especially since in the early days commodity Intel PC systems didn't really scale all that well. The customer who was in need of industrial strength hardware and software and a support line to back it all up needed something more than a PC running Windows 3.x ."

"The second problem was inter-operability. The promise of Open Systems kept getting derailed by differences in API's between the vendors. It made developing software for each platform just a little bit different. The differences were by some accounts, very small, and others, all the difference in the world...."

"Enter the dark horse, Linux. Linux has a very low procurement cost, and is very good when it comes to inter-operability with the Unices from IBM, Sun, HP and Compaq. Linux has the quality that singularly developed non-Unix (non-Open Systems) solutions in the market lack. All it really needs is a bit of a push and it could provide enterprise class features that would actually fulfill the promises made in the Open Systems days."

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