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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Linux In The Enterprise World

The Hindu Business Line has some interesting excerpts from a conversation with Revathi Kasturi, managing director, West Asia SUSE Linux. Novell recently launched SUSE Linux Desktop in addition to being quite active in terms of expanding the reach of their global Linux initiatives. Generally speaking, there’s an impression in the western world that emerging markets would adopt open source solutions faster on account of several factors – being cheaper and first time adoption possibilities count amongst others as key factors. The interview highlights amongst other things key issues around the entire open source industry:
- Subscription based software model, leading to Software as a Service (SaaS) model.
- The shift in adoption of Linux movement from Geeks towards Linux for the enterprise. She asserts that the availability of commercial Linux — enterprise class Linux with commercially available support — is critical to adoption. Her claim that a single piece of source code compiles for seven different hardware applications and the revenue model from a license perspective and turns it into a services revenue model looks interesting. Look at Kim Polese perspective on the support model for open source companies.
- Her perspectives about the revenue stream growth of Linux in the emerging markets and I liked her positioning of not equating open source with free but as a credible alternative.
One of the often repeated comments from CIO's is that while working with [commercial software], there are pretty standard diagnostic methods to use when things don't work. [But] Open source isn't going to give solution to every problem as it doesn't control the core development of Linux & so the teams have to be far better technically and in their problem-solving skills. This may have a certain impact on costs and thats where I think the 20% drop in support renewals looks insightful. Earlier, I wrote that the contours of what need to be done to support open source components is getting clearer and a not seeing several players in the opensource world thinking along these lines – it would be a major impediment to consider adoption of opensource in enterprises if the support model is not made widely available and the economics and technology upgrade rate demonstrated as beneficial. Major players like Teradata supporting Linux platform is indeed a significant development. Some things are showing signs of improvement but the adoption threshold needs to be crossed faster – with so much delay in Vista rollout happening, here’s the time for these enterprises to muscle in.

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