"It's official. The Linux operating system has secured its
position on a very short list of products that can claim cult
status. Since a Finnish student posted the first lines of Linux
code on the Internet in 1991, hobbyists, investors, IT executives
and blue-chip companies have been fascinated by its potential.
"There's no question that Linux is here to stay as a viable
technology, but some were overly bullish about its prospects. For
example, Linux will never rival Windows as a mainstream desktop PC
operating system, and Linux still has a long way to go before being
widely used in 'back-end' applications like databases and
enterprise resource planning.
"'Linux has done either spectacularly well or not well at all,'
says analyst Dan Kusnetzky of International Data Corp. in
Framingham, Mass. What it has done well is provide a robust, less
expensive alternative to Unix and Windows for certain server