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PlanetIT: Interview: Linux Disrupts The Status Quo; Michael Tiemann, Red Hat CTO

Feb 06, 2001, 14:38 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dave Johnson)

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"Q: What are disruptive dynamics?

A: The premise of disruptive technology is that when measured conventionally, it doesn't measure up in any real way, but when measured according to new markets or the new customers that it enables, it rises to the top and exceeds conventional technology. I see a disruptive shift away from proprietary platforms and toward building open platforms. The fact that Linux doesn't run Microsoft applications is terrible from a conventional perspective, but the fact that Linux gives you an open platform on which to build your infrastructure and is so much better than the proprietary alternatives is what explains our growth rate."

"Q: What are some places that you think the open source community is being innovative right now?

A: TUX, certainly. TUX is an architecture for network services, for accelerating network services. But it's disguised as a Web server. Last year we announced world-record performance in single, dual, four-way and eight-way processor configurations for SPECweb99. And we continue to hold the record in each of those categories. As the hardware has gotten faster, we've posted new numbers. With the TUX server architecture, we've been able to show linear scalability from one to eight processors. In fact we expect to be able to continue on. As long as people build the hardware correctly, we see no problem with scaling to 16 or 32 processors as well. When we get closer to that, we can develop an opinion about 64 processors. An example to put this into context: A TUX accelerator for Apache allows you to scale a machine from 300 simultaneous connections to 3,000 with no changes to the hardware."

"Q: It looks to me like Microsoft is getting nervous about Linux. Do you see Whistler as a sort of showdown with Linux?

A: I've been told that one of the biggest features of Whistler is the availability of a command-line interface for Windows. I don't know if you ever saw the T-shirt that used to say "Windows 95 equals Macintosh 89," but I can imagine a T-shirt that says "Whistler 2002 equals Unix 69." But no, I don't think there's any sort of showdown happening. We're fundamentally trying to change the economics of the computer industry by putting power into the hands of users, which is something Microsoft and other members of the proprietary-system industry are not willing to do. We aren't going to butt heads with Microsoft because we're not really on the same path. Is Microsoft threatened because we're not following them down the same road? Perhaps."

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