"I remember the Open Systems promises like they were only
yesterday. It's been a long time, actually eons in computing
years, since I first read about some of the ways that the big
industry leaders were making "Open Systems". These were
interchangeable systems from IBM, HP, Sun and DEC (Now rolled into
Compaq) that would allow Unix and enterprise customers to work
together interchangeably. That was the promise, at least."
"The first problem was cost. The systems were usually a
bit on the high side. In larger companies, this cost was easy to
justify, especially since in the early days commodity Intel PC
systems didn't really scale all that well. The customer who was in
need of industrial strength hardware and software and a support
line to back it all up needed something more than a PC running
Windows 3.x ."
"The second problem was inter-operability. The promise
of Open Systems kept getting derailed by differences in API's
between the vendors. It made developing software for each platform
just a little bit different. The differences were by some accounts,
very small, and others, all the difference in the world...."
"Enter the dark horse, Linux. Linux has a very low
procurement cost, and is very good when it comes to
inter-operability with the Unices from IBM, Sun, HP and Compaq.
Linux has the quality that singularly developed non-Unix (non-Open
Systems) solutions in the market lack. All it really needs is a bit
of a push and it could provide enterprise class features that would
actually fulfill the promises made in the Open Systems days."
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