Monday, April 14, 2003

Linux update from the Economist

Microsoft, risks being wiped off the face of the earth by Linux, crows Larry Ellison, Oracle boss.

Linux is free and runs on almost any computer. Right now Linux is used mostly to run servers. Linux boxes can also be clustered together to create a cheap supercomputer.

Linux is slowly moving from geekdom to where the money is.. telecoms-billing systems, airline-reservation systems etc.,

Linux ruling high end servers means Sun is the biggest loser and Linux coming to desktop would make Microsoft the biggest loser.

Solaris for servers is overkill, and Linux, a less capable flavour of Unix, is good enough. Many people who used expensive Sun boxes running Solaris now run Linux on cheap commodity PC's

Sun is trying to fight back by embracing Linux and by offering Linux servers as entry level servers, with the hope of trying to graduate buyers to the more expensive solaris boxes.

The biggest winners are IBM,HP and Dell, all selling Linux servers. IBM embraced Linux in 1999, and now offers Linux throughout its range from PCs to mainframes.

IBM received a boost in its mainframe business through Linux. A single Linux powered mainframe can be set up to behave like dozens of small Linux servers. So IBM convinced clients to junk rooms full of Unix Sun-Solaris servers, replacing them with a single mainframe.

Linux is the single common thread running across IBM's confusing product lines. Linux strengthens those firms that push diversity, such as IBM and HP, and weakens firms that push proprietary technology such as Sun and Microsoft.

Linux prevents Windows from dominating the server market. Windows boxes are cheaper than Solaris, but Linux is cheaper still.
Many governments like Linux due to lower costs ,avoidance of vendor lock-in, and the perception that open-source is more trustworthy.

Microdoft argues " Open Source stifles innovation" as no one makes money. Microsoft through its lobby group, the Initiative for Software Choice, tries to prevent governments from using open-source software. Steve Ballmer, the firm's chief executive, calls open-source software a cancer.


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