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BRW.com.au: OS: Linux's corporate test [Linux backgrounder]

Sep 30, 2000, 17:28 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brad Howarth)

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"...Support for Linux is growing, and the hype that has accompanied its rise to prominence is fading. Questions are emerging as to whether it will become a serious contender in enterprise computing. Linux is popular as a platform for Web and e-mail servers, but it has yet to find success in corporate data and applications or on the desktop. Those markets belong to Unix and Windows respectively. Many software developers, such as Red Hat, Caldera and Corel, have hitched their wagons to the Linux star in the hope that they can crack those markets, but will they survive the ride?"

"John Hall, executive director of the Linux promoter group Linux International, says the introduction of Linux into a company is a "bottom up" process, usually starting with a systems administrator using it as a low-cost way of meeting a particular need, such as for hosting a firewall system or e-mail server. Because of its open-source nature, many versions of Linux are available free of charge, making it a low-cost alternative to commercial Unix servers or even Windows NT/2000. The shared development process also ensures that differing versions of the operating system, called "distributions", are compatible."

"Companies will buy this instead of the same thing from Microsoft, because they realise that if some day they become annoyed at one supplier, they can switch to another," Hall says. "It's up to the supplier to provide the level of support and service that will keep them as customers."

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