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Linux.com: The Time Machine: Linux Scales

Sep 12, 2000, 21:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Rob Bos)

"One of the many buzzwords surrounding Linux, as its adoption into the small server arena becomes quickly dominant, is the question of how well it "scales" -- that is, the question of how well it can handle multiple thousands of users as opposed to multiple scores, or several hundred. People need to know if Linux can handle systems that have to deal with mail in huge volumes, and do it reliably, and so on. This idea of scaling, while important, is not as important as a more fundamental aspect of computing -- the ability of an operating system to scale with the user, not with the hardware or uses that it has."

"Linux scales in the classic sense to very many different types of hardware: from tiny little embedded devices dedicated for one purpose and one purpose only, to Beowulf clusters on thousands of nodes, to even the relatively mundane Intel or PowerPC machine on your desk. It can't run mainframes all by itself -- yet -- and it can't fill every need in an every imaginable office context -- yet -- but it certainly has scaling in that very specific sense going for it...."

"One of the ideals behind Linux is to create, in short, a system so modular, so well configured, that it in one of its forms can fill virtually any niche. As a user, a person can stick with the few tasks that they need in a rock-solid environment in security that they don't really need to know much more than logging in and clicking a few buttons. Or a person can delve under the hood and learn just that little bit extra and eke out the rewards thereof."

"Other operating environments strive for different goals. The Windows family, for instance, by attempting to cater to the lowest common denominator of user, sacrifices stability, security and long-term usability at the altar of short-term usability and profits. Other environments might strive for total security, sacrificing usability and convenience for the ability to have completely secure data or operations...."

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