Red Herring: Linux may someday rule, but can it make money?

“Mounting interest by institutional investors in Linux is
proving the operating system is more than a fad. But a nagging
question remains: how do Linux companies make money when the core
product is free?…

“Linux certainly is more than a fluke. Nearly a third of all
Internet servers are powered by the open source software. The
rapidly evolving and freely distributed operating system, developed
largely by a loose confederacy of freelance programmers, is
expected to continue taking a bigger bite out of the market. But
it’ll take many years, if ever, for Linux to displace Sun
Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW) for use with corporate databases, or to
displace Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) for running desktop

“Linux also is a growing force in Web server “farms” that house
hundreds or thousands of computers. That’s because the core
operating system is free while Sun’s Solaris is expensive. Although
Microsoft’s NT is cheaper than Solaris, it’s proven to be more
prone to crashing.”