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IT-Director: Enterprise Linux; 2.4 kernel plus IBM backing leave little doubt

Jan 09, 2001, 18:18 (12 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by March Hare)

"The issue with Linux is scalability, crucial in enterprise systems. Release 2.4 of the kernel, which Linus Torvalds' has just delivered, adds symmetric multiprocessing capabilities to increase scalability. The release was promised for December but has arrived a month late. In terms of large systems delivery, that is phenomenally close to schedule; contrast, for instance, delivery against schedule of Windows 2000."

"The new kernel still has to be tested to prove its performance and that could easily take a year. However, with IBM backing it to the tune of $5 billion over the next 4 years and adding 1500 developers' efforts to those of a worldwide army of enthusiasts, there's little doubt Linux will get there in the end. Moreover, Big Blue has announced Linux as the first operating system to run on its just-released zSeries 64-bit mainframes, ahead of its own proprietary z/OS (the former MVS). Ten years ago, a move like that would have been unthinkable."

"Reliability has never really been an issue with Linux. With half the world's nerds enthusiastically working on it, that should come as no surprise. Periodic reliability tests on different flavours of UNIX have consistently confirmed Linux as a front- runner. MVS of course was ultra-reliable too but took a few decades to get there. In 1969, IBM declared its earlier incarnation, OS/360, to be "stable" on the grounds that successive releases contained no more bugs than previous ones. In fact, OS/360 was declared stable at 1000 bugs per release. Does that remind you of some other contender for enterprise credibility today?"

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