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MSNBC: So Whatever Happened to Linux?

Jun 26, 2002, 13:00 (60 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John W. Schoen)

"Just a few years ago, one of the hottest topics at this annual confluence of PC hardware and software makers was the so-called “open source†alternative to Microsoft’s industry-dominant Windows operating system. Soon, open source proponents argued, PC users would be liberated from the burden of paying for software. The Linux operating system, and other 'open source' alternatives written by devoted bands of volunteer programmers, would be available to anyone for the cost of a download. But today, Windows is still running on the vast majority of PCs. So what happened?

"Linux hasn't gone away. But after attracting widespread attention and generating several moonshot initial public offerings during the tech boom, purveyors of Linux software and support have fallen back to earth--along with their stocks. Earlier this month, Red Hat, which sells about half of all Linux software, reported a loss of $4.3 million on an 8 percent drop in revenues in the latest quarter as corporate customers continued to squeeze every penny of their computer budgets...

"Those continuing upgrades have begun to generate increased interest from cost-conscious technology managers. A recent survey of 800 companies in North America and Western Europe found that some 40 percent said they were either using or testing Linux, according to the research firm IDC. With some 27 percent of the market, Linux is now the second most popular operating system for servers, supplanting the decades-old operating system UNIX; Microsoft holds the top spot..."

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