"On the heels of several other victories, Linux backers had
cause for additional celebration yesterday after IBM announced it
would spend $1 billion on the open source system in 2001 and a
Linux clustered computer win with grease digger Shell Oil, a
division of Royal Dutch Shell. And while the news shows continued
momentum for the alternative operating system, its path toward
commercial acceptance remains lengthy...."
"While today's news clearly indicates Big Blue's efforts to
combat its slowing growth against competitors like Microsoft and
EMC in software and storage, respectively -- and the biggest pain
of all, Sun Microsystems -- perhaps the more interesting question
is to examine what all of this means for the Linux companies, such
as Red Hat and VA Linux. Monday, I noted that many Linux companies
are banking on growth in embedded software, attempting to thwart
the current leader Wind River."
The continued endorsement of IBM certainly bodes well. Today and
in the past, IBM has acknowledged that the shift toward Linux is
customer-driven and the byproduct of the unavoidable evolution of
computing resources. That all sounds great, but the question
remains: Can these companies be successful investments? Not long
ago, Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik spoke with the Motley Fool's David
Gardner and identified several metrics -- including application
availability, path-to-profitability, and the top-line -- as keys to
measuring the company's success."