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Linux.ie: Alan Cox Interview

May 28, 2000, 02:23 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Karlin Lillington)

"Q: Where would you like to see Linux go today? ...What could be done to most enhance the OS itself and why would that element be important (user interface, killer app, or whatever) and ... in terms of commercial success. Is total world domination (in the commercial space) important?"

"A: The big step is the desktop. There are vendors with clear interests in this sort of area - Helixcode and Eazel for example who are doing real money work on the GNOME desktop. The other big area to deal with is high availability clustering. Wensong Zhang did the first free Linux clustering for web server failover and the like but that is only the baby steps. To do full clustering and to be able to position Linux to replace things like VMS as a highly available (and here we are talking minutes of downtime a year) clustering solution is no small job. I personally think the desktop or at least the thin client end of the desktop is the most important. Linux has good security features which makes it ideal for things like call centre environments, although perhaps less so for their staff. Building a thin client Linux environment with hotdesking, sensible shared file store and good network efficiency is a golden opportunity."

"Total domination is bad. The Microsoft dominance already badly misled people about how to choose systems. Instead of 'what tool do I use for the job' it's 'well it was shipped with the box'. Linux is a tool, Windows is a tool and so are numerous other systems. It's really important people go back to looking for the right tool for the job. That will never always be Linux. No single tool can do everything well."

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