LINUX CONFERENCE: Linux struggles to get beyond the web

Behind the scenes, much of the internet is run on open-source platforms, including the Linux operating system. But bringing Linux over the divide to in-house corporate use still remains the largest problem Linux companies face, according to Larry Augustin, president and chief executive officer of VA Linux Systems.

"If you're using the internet today, you're using open-source software; you're using Linux," Augustin said in a keynote yesterday at the European Linux Conference in London.

Augustin said that 60 per cent of web servers on the internet are running Apache, the open-source web server software. "In 1998, Linux had 16 per cent of the server operating system market, and in 1999, it already had 25 per cent," he said, citing figures by market research firm IDC.

However, the main barriers keeping Linux from crossing over to mainstream acceptance by companies are not that easy to overcome.

The "open" model of Linux -- which is widely considered to be its strength -- can also hinder its acceptance in some cases, Augustin added. "People don't like the fact that the code is constantly being developed," he said. "They don't like the fact that there are three kernel releases a week on the internet," he added, referring to the heart of Linux source code, which is constantly under construction.

In the open-source method of development, upon which Linux is built, developers all over the world -- many of them unpaid -- collaborate to modify and update the code.

"With development infrastructure, sometimes we would find (companies) spending more time working on the (Linux) infrastructure for the project than working on the project itself," Augustin said.

But equally important to taking down the barriers is ensuring that no new barriers are put up. Linux distributors must be sure to keep the open-source "feel" of the operating system and not become an "intermediary model".

"The wrong way is to open a Linux company that acts as a wall between the developer and the user," Augustin said. "The right way is to help users and developers communicate," he added.

"Haven't you ever been using an operating system and said, 'Well, that's stupid, why do the menus look like that?'" Augustin asked the audience. "Now you can give your suggestions straight to the developer," he said. Users and developers communicate through various channels over the internet, including bulletin boards and email lists.

"Although getting started with it isn't necessarily easy, we are making it easier," he said.

The open-source model also makes economic sense for companies, Augustin said.

"Instead of buying a multimillion-dollar CRM (customer relationship management) installation, we gave $50,000 to people who were working on developing an open source," he said. "It cost us about one-tenth of what the commercial version would have cost us."

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Douglas F. Gray

PC World

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?