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Saturday, June 26, 2004

The Importance of Being Linux by John Dvorak

John Dvorak writes,There are mixed feelings about the open-source movement, mainly because its most popular component, Linux, is offered by over 100 vendors, each of whom has a slightly different product. Other than Linux, all the other open-source projects move along at a rate best described as glacial. Even principals in the community are sometimes shocked at the slowness of open-source development. This probably is a function of how motivation and lack of fear work among open-source developers. Often they're motivated like hobbyists. And there is no fear to drive anyone to do anything—no fear of getting fired or yelled at by a mean boss. He adds,"Still, many of the results from the open-source community have been impressive. My Web site and e-mail subsystems run almost entirely on open-source technology, starting with the standard Linux/Apache lash-up and incorporating all sorts of open-source spam-filtering mechanisms and IMAP software".Linux has not created a new kind of software, but a new kind of IT professional—the guy who actually can save a company money. There is a new generation of IT/sysop types who have been raised in the open-source environment and who've made this knowledge part of their career paths.The only way Microsoft will ever stop this trend is by keeping it underground and marginalizing its importance, which the company has apparently been unable to do. In fact, Microsoft does just the opposite, by continually fretting about Linux and making public pronouncements about the threat from this operating system. If Linux is a threat, then it's suddenly something worth looking into, isn't it? Someone needs to get me the numbers on exactly how many Linux experts there are. They must be growing like mad. The importance of this cannot be lost on Microsoft, which many people now think is responsible for the money behind the desperate SCO attempts to thwart Linux through legal threats.
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