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osOpinion: Why Linux won't fall down

Dec 21, 1999, 05:45 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dave Lane)

[ Thanks to Kelly McNeill for this link. ]

"In recent months, as Linux has suddenly appeared in the commercial computing world's rear-view mirror (warning: Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear), many journalists have been forwarding the idea that Linux will inevitably fragment as Unix in general has done in years past, to the detriment of anyone foolish to leave the Microsoft fold and adopt it. This position demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of Linux as a system and of the open software "movement" as a force in technological development. The critical point that these dooms-sayers need to recognise is this: it's free. Not only in terms of dollars and cents, but much more importantly in terms of ownership...."

"And then along comes Linux. Out of nowhere, a result of many people just "hacking around", surprising even themselves by, in their spare time, putting together a system which, despite the commercial industries attempts to discredit it, compares favourably to the operating system technologies hoarded by the worlds' richest entities. What they developed is not, strictly speaking, UNIX. Linux was built from the ground up, without using any of the original AT&T UNIX code, but learning from its conventions...."

"Instead of competing by keeping their competitors in the dark, Linux distributors are vying to sponsor as much userful software development and innovation as possible, knowing full well that although their competitors will snap it up immediately, the community will remember who did what, and show their respect with their dollars. Score one for the consumer. Isn't it appropriate that, in the virtual world where a person can adopt a new online identity at will, the only real source of wealth is credibility."

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