Linux Foundation: We'd love to work with Microsoft

In an interview, Jim Zemlin, the Linux Foundation's executive director, talks about desire to interoperate and discusses the desktop outlook for Linux

InfoWorld: Can Solaris compete with Linux?

Zemlin: I think [with] Solaris, had [Sun] open-sourced the platform maybe eight years ago, it would have been a very effective competitor to Linux. But I think at this point, the competition around Solaris is creating a similar development community to the Linux development community, which has thousands of developers working for hundreds of major corporations around the world. And I think that they're extremely late to that camp. That type of effort requires a platform that people have confidence in, will be here for years to come. I mean, if I'm a developer and I want to bet my career on being a Solaris guy, I want to make sure I'm making the right bet. And I think people see the handwriting on the wall, they see the massive amount of industry support for Linux across the widest variety of computing, and they make a choice. And that choice is increasingly Linux.

InfoWorld: Is there anything else you wanted to bring up?

Zemlin: One of the things I wanted to talk to you about today, just to give you context for what's going on in Linux, is the concept of the community is starting to become extremely sophisticated in Linux. And I think it's interesting to watch how many of the developers of the platform are full-time paid commercial developers who participate in a community process as both an individual and as an employee of an organization. How organizations like the foundation are playing a role within that development process to provide legal means, for example, for a kernel developer to get access to proprietary specifications through an NDA program where we sign an NDA with a developer and then coordinate with companies to get the development community access to specifications before those products go to market. Just the sophistication and the means to collaborate, [with] the tools available. The number of new countries that are participating in that. Meetings that are being coordinated throughout the world in order to enhance the development process of the platform. What you're really seeing is an acceleration of this collaboration that will have huge, huge rewards reaped from it over time.

InfoWorld: What type of rewards?

Zemlin: Better technology, better price performance, a cross-pollination of ideas through different technology segments that previously had not communicated with each other. And all of the examples I gave are like -- I've got to have fast boot time and good power utilization on a mobile phone. Well, it turns out that data centers need the same thing because the cost of power and cooling are higher than the cost of the machines. Right? And so that cross-pollination of ideas, that acceleration of the platform is an incredibly compelling and interesting thing about the Linux platform that's just, to me, is creating this big snowball effect that we're just starting to see the very beginning of which right now.

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