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IT-Director: [Colin Tenwick] Interview: The Red Hat Phenomenon

Mar 07, 2000, 15:31 (0 Talkback[s])

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"With the Linux revolution in full swing we decided to talk to one of the companies at the center of this mystical storm - Red Hat. Red Hat is one of the oldest and most successful of the open-source companies in Silicon Valley. The other, Cygnus, has just been acquired by Red Hat making the combined power-house perhaps the ultimate open-source company. We spoke to Colin Tenwick, the company's VP for EMEA [Europe, Middle East, and Asia] operations about the future of Red Hat, Linux and the open source movement."

"ITD: When will Linux really hit the mainstream?
CT: It depends on your definition of mainstream. In the Unix marketplace the pace of Linux acceptance has been considerable. Similarly in the Windows user base. These are the sort of companies that we are dealing with on a daily basis moving from Windows or Unix to Linux for both performance and economic benefits. ..."

"ITD: Does that mean that Linux will be soon be available on the desktop?
CT: It already is available really in a variety of forms. But that's not our target. We are concerned with the next generation appliances, things like hand-helds, and next generation phones. The PC is really a 1980's device, we see the challenge for Linux as getting it onto the chip - that's where the real potential is, and that's why we acquired Cygnus because in this space there is really no-one better. The Linux space at this end of the market is a new one and one that is ripe for development for this new economy. Windows CE is struggling to make in-roads to this area although EPOC, from Symbian, will perhaps be around, but that leaves us with an excellent opportunity. That's where we are heading."

"ITD: How important is Windows 2000 to the future of Linux?
CT: Windows 2000 is probably Microsoft's most critical release to date because for the first time it simply cannot take its customer base for granted. If you look at the Microsoft situation you can see that it is being attacked from all sides. Linux, databases, web, mobile, Microsoft is facing stiff competition and it is really having to fight for its corner. With Windows 2000 there is no guarantee that it will be a success, and that's the first time that has happened for quite a while."

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