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The Economist: Friend or Foe?

Apr 10, 2003, 19:00 (19 Talkback[s])

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"Larry Ellison, the boss of Oracle, the world's second-largest software firm, likes to make bold claims. Last week he was at it again, attacking his old foe, Microsoft, the world's biggest software company. Microsoft, he declared, risked being 'wiped off the face of the earth' by Linux, the free, open-source operating system developed by Linus Torvalds, a Finnish programmer, and a team of enthusiasts. As always, Mr Ellison's prediction should be taken with a handful of salt. But it contains a germ of truth, because the rise of Linux is changing the dynamics of the computer business. Some of the industry's titans benefit from its advance, while others lose...

"Linux has yet to have much impact in the highest echelons of business computing: telecoms-billing systems, airline-reservation systems, and so on. But it is advancing steadily. Once limited to dotcoms, it is now used by such firms as Merrill Lynch, Verizon and Boeing. '2001 was the year of interest, 2002 the year of pilot projects, and 2003 is the year of deployment,' says Avery Lyford of Linuxcare, whose software simplifies the adoption of Linux by big firms. A recent report by Gartner, a consultancy, says that 'businesses are coming to regard Linux as a worthy alternative to Unix and Windows...'"

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