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Linux Magazine: The Future of Linux

Jan 27, 2001, 12:04 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Robert McMillan)

"With virtually every significant Linux developer now employed by a company with a commercial stake in the success of Linux, will Linux be able to meet the demands of new users and partners while at the same time retaining its traditional openness and spirit of cooperation?"

"This question cuts both ways --how will commercialization affect Linux's development and, on a broader scale, how will open source ultimately affect the enterprise? Most pundits agree that, for now, the enterprise is not prepared for open source. As with the personal computer revolution, corporate IT types are adopting Linux only when forced to by their sales or marketing departments, which may have Internet services that were set up by a Linux-savvy administrator. Before Linux can take over the corporate world, a number of things need to happen."

"So, how will Linux penetrate the enterprise? "Tentatively and slowly," according to IDC's Kusnetzky. "In studies we've done as recently as the first of this year, over 80 percent of decision makers said they were open to Linux, but only 23 percent of them said that they had a Linux system in shop." Why? Kusnetzky says that it's because Linux still lacks the infrastructure necessary to make CIOs comfortable choosing it. He says that Linux needs applications, development environments, middleware tools, and a pool of certificate-in-hand Linux-certified administrators before it will make serious inroads into corporate IT --things that Microsoft and traditional Unix companies have spent years developing."

"People want to have the LSB right now," says Linux creator Linus Torvalds, "but people are not necessarily committed enough to put resources into it. So it's not going very fast." For Torvalds, however, the lack of progress is not a major cause for concern. Standards like the LSB should not be seen as "the road to heaven," he says. "If you look at standards that way, you're always going to be disappointed." Torvalds believes that the community will eventually coalesce around the best technology, and that the role of the LSB is to follow behind, documenting what has already become de facto industry standard."

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