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."