"Linux, the free computer operating system developed by
thousands of volunteers collaborating over the Internet, is still
not taken very seriously in corporate circles. It is used for
niche tasks, such as running web servers, but it is generally
deemed to be too immature for the most demanding environments, such
as heavy-duty database systems. Recent events, however, suggest
that Linux -- whose mascot is a cheerful penguin -- may have
outgrown the commune of its birth."
"On January 4th, Linus Torvalds, the Finnish programmer who
co-ordinates the development of Linux (see article ), quietly
released the latest version of the Linux kernel, the software that,
as its name suggests, is at the core of the operating system. Many
of the enhancements in this new kernel (version 2.4) make Linux
more suitable for corporate use. In particular, they make it more
scalable, in other words, as capable of working on very large
computer systems as on small ones. Linux 2.4 can support more
processors, more memory, and faster networking and disk access, all
prerequisites for industrial-strength corporate use."
"Just as the software itself has become more solid, so support
for Linux within the computer industry has also been growing. IBM,
which has embraced Linux across its product range, from PC s to
mainframes, announced in December that it would spend $1 billion on
Linux-related activities in 2001. And this week the Open Source
Development Laboratory, an independent, not-for-profit research
centre financed by such industry giants as IBM, Intel and Dell,
opened its doors. It is intended to accelerate the adoption of
Linux in business computing, and to allow developers to test their
software on the largest systems. In other words, with the notable
exceptions of Microsoft and Sun Microsystems, the industry is
pushing Linux for use in corporate computing."
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