itwales.com: Are the merits of Linux's business
applications attracting users?
Alan: The main things that attract business at that level are
the pricing, reliability and the reduced business risk. The fact
that there are multiple suppliers of the operating system gives a
great deal of comfort to companies using it. In addition the
license ensures that they can always get a custom change made for
their own use, even if the main distributors are not interested. In
the open source world one example of this was Y2K. When packages
had Y2K problems and were no longer maintained by their authors,
anyone or any group of users could fix or pay for fixing work.
There was no 'enforced upgrade' risk.
itwales.com: It's been said that in the last year,
particularly with IBM's use of Linux technology, Linux has become a
mass-market alternative to Windows. Was 2001 a turning point for
Alan: It didn't strike me as a turning point. There has been a
continuous trend in the increasing use of Linux particularly server
side. With some of the big names now using and supporting it,
visibility has increased."