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Wall Street Journal: Linux gains corporate respectability

Apr 09, 2001, 20:45 (24 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by William M. Bulkeley)

"Linux, the free operating system developed by Finland's Linus Torvalds, was organically grown by thousands of programmers around the globe and once seemed out of place in the orderly world of corporate computing. But a maturing Linux is starting to be used by major companies to run key businesses. Royal Dutch/Shell Group and Amerada Hess Corp. are using Linux-based supercomputers to sift through seismic data, hunting for undersea oil. Home Depot Inc. is starting to roll out Linux-based kiosks and point-of-sale systems in a project that will involve installing 90,000 terminals at all of its home-improvement stores."

"All operating systems function as a computer's chief program--the software that runs every other program--but differ in other respects. Linux is a variant of the popular Unix operating system. Unlike other company-owned Unix variants such as Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris, Linux is enhanced and backed by programmers all over the world who disclose the code they develop to each other by e-mail. Periodically, Torvalds evaluates the new developments and designates the best as part of the Linux 'kernel' for a new distribution. In January, Linux 2.4 was unveiled."

"Linux garnered a 27 percent share of operating-system software for computer servers sold last year, up from 24 percent in 1999 and 17 percent in 1998, according to market-researcher International Data Corp. Linux is one of only two major operating systems gaining market share. The other, industry leader Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000 operating system, captured a 41 percent share last year, up from 38 percent in 1999."

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