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CIO Insight: The Big Bad Wolf

Jul 17, 2003, 13:00 (24 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Eric Nee)

"As if cast in the image of its creator Linus Torvalds, Linux has become the fair-haired boy of the computer industry. Over the past dozen years, Linux has grown in popularity and matured in capability at a fast if not spectacular rate. Today it stands on the cusp of becoming one of just two contenders for the mantle of server operating system of choice. But Linux's once-rosy future is now in doubt. That's because the sight of the fair-haired boy happily skipping down the path of success has finally attracted the wolves.

"One small but cagey wolf is SCO Group, which claims Linux infringes on SCO's Unix source code. Money may be the main motivation for both the company's $1 billion suit against IBM Corp. for allegedly violating its Unix license, and the threatening letters it has sent to corporations that are using Linux. But the result of SCO's threats is to create uncertainty, which over time could cause corporations to back off their support of Linux.

"In the long run the small wolf isn't the problem. The real threat comes from the much larger, more dangerous and more cunning wolf that's intent on killing Linux. That wolf is Microsoft Corp. The parable has been told many times before in the IT industry, often with an unhappy ending: A young if not necessarily naive upstart gains a foothold in the market with a new technology, rivals jump in, and a bloodbath follows, most often with Microsoft the ultimate victor..."

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