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BeOpen.com: BeOpen Interview with Beau Vrolyk of SGI

May 10, 2000, 19:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Sam Williams)

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"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 itself."

"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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