Search /
Docfinder:
Advanced search  |  Help  |  Site map
RESEARCH CENTERS
SITE RESOURCES
Click for Layer 8! No, really, click NOW!
Networking for Small Business
TODAY'S NEWS
While Heartbleed distracts, hackers hit US universities
How Apple's billion dollar sapphire bet will pay off
US to vote on sharp increase in broadband subsidies
iPhone 6 rumor rollup for the week ending April 18
NSA spying revelations have tired out China's Huawei
Arista co-founder may have switch maker by its jewels
Apple kicks off public OS X beta testing
Open source pitfalls – and how to avoid them
AT&T's expanded 1 Gbps fiber rollout could go head to head with Google
BlackBerry Releases BES 10 Security Update to Address 'Heartbleed' Flaw
Verizon: Web apps are the security punching bag of the Internet
Cisco announces security service linked with new operations centers
Dell launches virtual storage accelerator, aims to boost SAN performance
Free OS X Mavericks now powers half of all Macs
Even the most secure cloud storage may not be so secure, study finds  
3D printing will transform these five industries
Most but not all sites have fixed Heartbleed flaw
NEC launches face-recognition protection for PCs
Hundreds of medical professionals targeted in multi-state tax scam
Super-high frequencies could one day deliver your mobile video
Americans cool with lab-grown organs, but not designer babies
IT Departments Not Losing Ground to Managed Service Providers (Yet)
Where's my gigabit Internet, anyway?
IE6: Retired but not dead yet
Enterprise who? Google says little about Apps, business cloud services in Q1 report
/

How Linux got so dang hot

Corporate support adds to stability, low cost and collaborative improvements.

Today's breaking news
Send to a friendFeedback

Today's breaking news
Send to a friendFeedback


"I think I can, I think I can."

That's the sound of Linux, the open source, "freeware" operating system, making its climb to get on more computers and into more corporate networks.

Linux hits the big leagues
Third parties put muscle behind free operating system:

  • Oracle will port Oracle8 and Oracle Applications to Linux.
  • Informix offers free development licenses for Informix-SE SQL-based database engine and Informix- ESQL/C toolkit
  • Netscape plans to bring its server line to Linux.
  • Computer Associates indicated that a port of its Ingres II relational database engine will be available this year.
  • There's no doubt that the Linux train is rolling full-steam ahead: Recent announcements of large software developers that are porting their products to Linux and positive discussions in such publications as Forbes and The Economist have added momentum. The impetus is giving some supporters a reason to believe Linux could overtake Windows NT as the operating system of choice in the next few years.

    After all, with Apache Web Server - also free and community-supported - rated as the most used Internet server in a Netcraft survey, there's room for a freeware operating system to be a hit. And while Microsoft has a seemingly insurmountable lead in operating system deployment, that was the case with Netscape's browsers before Microsoft decided to make a war out of it.

    One hurdle that Linux must clear before it breaks heavily into enterprise settings is the common belief that cheap price equals poor quality. To those who have taken a shot with Linux, cheap price translates into low project costs - and high reliability.

    "I chose Linux because it is far more stable and functional than the alternatives. My system has never crashed," says Keith Dart, a test engineer at Cisco Systems in Santa Clara, Calif.

    Dart employs Linux for everyday applications, such as word processing, spreadsheets and presentations, but he also uses it for special projects, such as the testing of products.

    Because Linux doesn't require powerful hardware, a lot of network administrators are taking the operating system for a test drive on older - and previously shelved - computers. Jack Tackett, manager of system operations for Nortel Information Network, based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., puts Linux to work providing ISP services across North America.

    "The fact you can reuse obsolete hardware and turn it into a productive system with Linux makes it a viable choice for cost-conscious businesses and organizations," Tackett says.

    Controversial support

    Tackett also applauds Linux's support structure, a system that has caused some to shy away from corporate use of the operating system. While it lacks support in the traditional sense, a slew of enthusiasts and professionals in the community are more than happy to lend a hand and are just a newsgroup or mailing list away. In addition, distributors such as Red Hat Software and Caldera have rolled out formal support.

    Of course, Linux has been well shaken out in the seven years since Linus Torvalds created it while he was a student at the University of Helsinki. Linux is stable, but it's also in a constant state of upgrading and improvement, and those who aren't afraid to get under the hood themselves relish the fact that they can fiddle to get the results they need.

    "Occasionally, I would like slightly different behavior from an application, tool or a new feature," Dart explains. "Since I have all the source code available to me, I can alter any part I desire to fit my exact needs."

    It's got the spirit

    With companies such as Oracle, Computer Associates, Informix, Netscape and Corel supporting Linux with ports of their products - and with others on the horizon - Linux devotees have a lot to cheer about. Even if it doesn't become the operating system of choice for the majority, its all-for-one nature parallels the spirit behind the evolution of the Internet.

    "Linux . . . does not need to [replace Windows] to be successful. For many, it is their operating system of choice," says Roldan Pozo, who works in the mathematical and computational sciences division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

    "It may not take over the world, but it will always be loved and maintained by a global community of enthusiastic supporter,." Pozo says.

    RELATED LINKS

    Contact Senior Editor Andy Eddy

    Lookin' into Linux
    Set aside those operating system biases. If you're delivering intranet services, you've got to check out the Linux program -- it's free, fast and feature-rich. IntraNet, 3/30/98.

    Is Linux ready for the enterprise?
    See what Fusion users had to say earlier this year in an online forum.

    Linux Enterprise Computing
    Using Linux on big nets.

    Linux Commercial HOWTO
    A listing of commercially available Linux apps.

    Linux Online
    Basic Linux starting point, has everything from downloadable code to Linux news and user groups.

    Apply for your free subscription to Network World. Click here. Or get Network World delivered in PDF each week.

    Get Copyright Clearance
    Request a reprint or permission to use this article.


    NWFusion offers more than 40 FREE technology-specific email newsletters in key network technology areas such as NSM, VPNs, Convergence, Security and more.
    Click here to sign up!
    New Event - WANs: Optimizing Your Network Now.
    Hear from the experts about the innovations that are already starting to shake up the WAN world. Free Network World Technology Tour and Expo in Dallas, San Francisco, Washington DC, and New York.
    Attend FREE
    Your FREE Network World subscription will also include breaking news and information on wireless, storage, infrastructure, carriers and SPs, enterprise applications, videoconferencing, plus product reviews, technology insiders, management surveys and technology updates - GET IT NOW.