"Beau Vrolyk, Senior Vice President, Product Group, at
Silicon Graphics is one of the highest positioned Open Source
converts in the Linux business community. Within the last twelve
months, Silicon Graphics has gone from an also-ran in the
proprietary UNIX market to one of the leading corporate
collaborators in the Linux community. In the spring of 1999,
SGI released its XFS journaling file system as Open Source in an
effort to shore up Linux stability for high-end supercomputing
applications. The company quickly followed it up with the release
of source code for GLX, the glue integrating SGI's OpenGL 3D
rendering library with the Open Source X Window System. In January
of 2000, SGI followed this up with the release of the OpenGL code
"BeOpen: What was the strategic motivation for
releasing XFS as Open Source? It's one thing to embrace Linux. It's
quite another to offer intellectual property to the Open Source
community with no strings attached.
Vrolyk: The fundamental strategic goal of SGI
is to make Linux extremely successful. To accomplish that, we will
be making a whole series of products Open Source. We are working
very closely with the community for two reasons: first, to make
sure that Linux is successful and widely adopted; second, to ensure
there is one standard version of Linux."
"BeOpen: SGI's attitude toward Linux and Open
Source stands in sharp contrast with Sun's. Sun, as evidenced by
the Sun Community Source License (SCSL), wants to reap the rewards
of Open Source development yet doesn't want to give up control.
What is your explanation for the difference?
Vrolyk: The reason for that is very simple. For
every copy of Linux that sells, it's one less Solaris(tm) machine.
People have quite mistakenly made this out to be a battle between
Microsoft's NT operating system and the Linux operating system. I
know very few customers who are confused about whether to use Linux
or NT. On the other hand, I know tens of thousands of customers who
are debating whether to choose Linux or Solaris."
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