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The Economist: Linux Gets Serious

Jan 26, 2001, 12:57 (12 Talkback[s])

[ Belated thanks to Jacek Piskozub for this link. ]

"Linux, the free computer operating system developed by thousands of volunteers collaborating over the Internet, is still not taken very seriously in corporate circles. It is used for niche tasks, such as running web servers, but it is generally deemed to be too immature for the most demanding environments, such as heavy-duty database systems. Recent events, however, suggest that Linux -- whose mascot is a cheerful penguin -- may have outgrown the commune of its birth."

"On January 4th, Linus Torvalds, the Finnish programmer who co-ordinates the development of Linux (see article ), quietly released the latest version of the Linux kernel, the software that, as its name suggests, is at the core of the operating system. Many of the enhancements in this new kernel (version 2.4) make Linux more suitable for corporate use. In particular, they make it more scalable, in other words, as capable of working on very large computer systems as on small ones. Linux 2.4 can support more processors, more memory, and faster networking and disk access, all prerequisites for industrial-strength corporate use."

"Just as the software itself has become more solid, so support for Linux within the computer industry has also been growing. IBM, which has embraced Linux across its product range, from PC s to mainframes, announced in December that it would spend $1 billion on Linux-related activities in 2001. And this week the Open Source Development Laboratory, an independent, not-for-profit research centre financed by such industry giants as IBM, Intel and Dell, opened its doors. It is intended to accelerate the adoption of Linux in business computing, and to allow developers to test their software on the largest systems. In other words, with the notable exceptions of Microsoft and Sun Microsystems, the industry is pushing Linux for use in corporate computing."

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