Linux Today: Linux News On Internet Time.

Fortune: Servers With a Smile

Sep 20, 2002, 19:00 (26 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Fred Vogelstein)

[ Thanks to Stewart Vardaman for this link. ]

" Businesspeople have tended to associate Linux with the charlatans of the Internet bubble and the flakes who seem to dominate its over-granolaed, Berkeley commune culture. Why? Because dozens of now-defunct Linux companies went public at the height of the bubble, each with its own plan for persuading customers to pay money for free software. Because the record for an IPO's opening-day gain belongs to VA Linux, which shot up 700%, to $239.25 a share, when it hit the market on Dec. 9, 1999, but now, renamed VA Software, trades for about $1. And because Linux adherents trumpeted the view that free Linux would replace costly Windows on every desktop. They earnestly claimed that a community of programmers who worked on the code free in their spare time, who weren't tied to any production schedule, and who willingly gave up all profit-making rights to their modifications in the name of promoting free software worldwide was going to topple Microsoft. It just seemed too preposterous for words.

"It turns out that the Linux doubters were wrong. Today Linux has become the hottest thing in corporate America since e-mail and maybe even Windows itself. Yes, most of the Linux IPOs are out of business or on the verge of going bust. Yes, few really believe Linux will ever replace Windows on the desktop. But on the back end, on servers in data centers rather than PCs on desktops, companies like Boeing, Amazon.com, E*Trade Financial, DreamWorks, Google, and virtually every major Wall Street firm have either finished reconfiguring big chunks of their servers to run Linux or are in the process of doing so. General Motors says it is likely to do the same in a year or so. Even the Chinese and German governments, along with about two dozen other countries, are taking a look at how they can save money by using Linux in their infrastructures..."

Complete Story

[Editor's Note: There are two sidebars with the four-page main story as well. Links are provided below. -BKP]

Sidebar: Does Software Yearn to Be Free?

Sidebar: A Linux Glossary

Related Stories: