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IBM developerWorks: Words of wisdom from one of Linux's most vocal supporters [Jon "maddog" Hall]

Sep 01, 2001, 14:09 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Steve Brody)

[ Thanks to Frank for this link. ]

dW: What about Linux development and expansion? How will that be affected by a possible recession? After all, Linux has been very popular with many of the companies that are now declaring bankruptcy.

maddog: Well, the primary difference is that over the last few years, Linux has been targeting a lot of the new e-commerce companies, which were started by a lot of Linux-savvy younger people with no already-installed base. That was an easier sell, but now we're selling to the bigger companies. Fortunately, a lot of the hoopla surrounding Linux got the CIOs and the CTOs interested in it and thinking about how to implement it, and now they're looking at Linux as a way to save money. So in some ways the need to cut costs can be a good thing for the OS. They're thinking: I can take a Solaris box running Oracle as well as a file and print server, and move the file and print server to an inexpensive PC with Linux.

dW: So if it's a harder sell to the more traditional companies, what new approach should this entail?

maddog: It's not so much that it's a harder sell. The problem is really that more traditional companies are not working with a clean slate; they have legacy systems that they want to integrate Linux into, but they can't just sweep whole systems aside during installation, because they need to maintain uptime availability. It's quite a bit different from building a whole new bank of Web servers and being able to plan from square one. In the future there will be a huge market for established companies who say "My software is doing 90 to 95% of what I want it to do, and I'll pay someone to get that last 5%." Well, it might cost 20 or 50 thousand dollars, but it'll be cheaper than retraining 100 people. That kind of improvement will be done by consultants, and they'll need to have access to the source code of the OS so they can go in and make the adjustments without being held back."

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