Live blogging: LinuxCon Keynotes Jim Zemlin, Jim Whitehurst

Microsoft bashing remains a the theme of this year's Linux Foundation conference

LinuxCon has only just kicked off and I'm already having an interesting time. Riding the elevator to the conference, in walks Linus Torvalds. And Alan Clark of SUSE. I'm already wearing my badge and Torvalds make a joke that he's grateful for badges and he's not good with names -- even with names of people he should know. (I agree 'cause I'm the same way). And low and behold, Linus goes to the registration desk, and gets in line to get his badge. I attended Cisco Live last month and believe me, John Chambers didn't stand in line to get his badge.

So I'm already enjoying the day.

The keynotes are going on now and here's what I'm hearing ...

News: SPDX Workgroup is announcing the 1.0 version of the SPDX specification. SPDX is a standardized method for licensing information. Motorola, Canonical, HP, Debian, BlackDuck, OpenLogic, MicroFocus, Texas Instruments, Fossbozaar, Wind River, Alcatel Lucent are among those that developed the spec. (More on that to come.)

Jim Zemlin, Linux Foundation ...

When we first started these Linux conferences, we were more worried about violating a patent. Patent 999,9999, which is a method for socially awkward people to gather and exchange ideas.What would a world look like if Linux never started, asks Zemlin... pictures of Windows machine crashes ...

Couldn't trade stocks: Stock machines run on Linux. Couldn't find anyting on Internet: Google runs on Linux. Couldn't buy a book online: Amazon runs on Linux.

Bill Gates 2001: When you aske people, 'Do you understand the GPL?' They're pretty stunned when the Pac-Man like nature of it is described to them."

Others: Darl McBride, CEO SCO Group April 2093 ... everyone says we're going to go out of business but wait until we have our day in court. ...

Zemlin says: SCO did have their day in court, unfortunately it was bankruptcy court.

He quotes Microsoft, Mundie as saying it's not just the GPL, but the whole process ... can't build anything (via crowdsourcing) that would be accepted by everyone ...

If you can't get them any other way. One of things you can do is raise issues about the business viability of companies making a living off of Linux. George Colony Forrester Research in 2004 said that Red Hat had engineering issues, IP issues and was "vulnerable."

If nothing else works, get a Total Cost of Ownership analyst study out there. He shows a quote from a Microsoft executive: "If the IDC report won't cut it, then get another analyst report out there."

If nothing else works, equate Linux with a terminal disease ... Steve Ballmer equates Linux with cancer. .. i.e. it contaminates everything it touches.

It turns out that this one is right ... Microsoft

With 3.0 Microsoft is one of the top contributors to Linux Kernel.

Easy for me to come, hindsight, take potshots at Microsoft, as many of you know, that's pretty much my job.

I've gotten some things wrong, too.

"This is the year of the Linux desktop," Jim Zemlin, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

... so why not "2012! Linux Desktop, baby!"

Why is there still bickering between Microsoft and the Linux Foundation/Linux community? [Shows slide of quote about Microsoft claiming Android voilates patents.] Microsoft is still up to their same tricks. Stop suing everyone!

Why has Linux succeeded? Companies come and go, products come and go. Freedom is forever. The future is open. The lesson is, this works. All of you have taught the rest of the worlds, hundreds of best selling books that chronicle what you have accomplished. You can better yourself by bettering others. No one of us is smarter than all of us.

Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat ...

He says Linux is the foundation of the next-generation innovation for three reasons:

1. Low cost for innovation.

2. User driven innovatation past what we ever thought it would go.

3. Unintened collaboration

It's easy to talk about what happened in the last 20 years. Its harder to predict.

Linux Server OS volume Linux is a viable alternative to traditional stacks. IDC data shows that Linux has about one-third and a growing share of installed servers. (This is IDC data so it must be wrong.) But if you look at new workloads, the vast majority are going on Linux.

A great operating system that's interesting, but I want to talk about other contributiosn Linux has made beyond just great software.

How many have heard about "" ... started in mid-1990s, and decided to rename it to something called Google. It was running on Linux.

My lessons learned on joining Red Hat, enabled innovation that has powered new businesses and new business models around the world. Google,, Facebook. Linux, free as in beer, allows people to try new things. In a past job I had, there was a project that we thought would save us billions a year to help us, but we weren't going to do it because the initial cost to test was too high. But our developers said, let us do this with open source software. So we did and it worked and it saved us billions.

Companies like Google would not exist today if it were not for Linux. Initiial business models to let me throw it out there, I'm going to make it free and then will work later to build scalabilyt and services. That only works if the initial investment is low enough to be able to experiment.

Not the technology of Linux, but the business models that it enables.

Red Hat is a big benificiary of open source. I would argue Wall Street is a bigger beneficiary. Sublte difference but I think it has been trasnformational.

The cloud: talk about user-generated innovation. Now we have large companies doing innovation, not just how do I implement this feature in a better ways. But on bleeding edge, comapanies like Google, Amazon, hiring PhDs to look for the next generation. For instance, Big Data. Hadoop, Casendra, the leading innovations are happening in open source first, and then large companies are working to build businesses around them. That's a subtle difference in how innovation occurs. When users drive it, users get what they want. That's a fundmental difference.

Cloud, talk about IaaS or PaaS, these are big complex things that were derrived from technically advanced users.

Waht are the limits of user-driven innovation? UDI can do small things, but could it build a Boeing 747? Need small group of people to lead that.

But for the first time, we are seeing a shift, massive components emerging from a series of technically sophisticated customers.

How you take those learnings and apply them broadly to all kinds of human problems is exciting. And it really started with Linux.

Unintended collaboration ...

The Navy was worried about realtime informaiton for monitoring missles. Built in realtime transactions to Linux. Now the stock exchanges use Linux for its realtime transactions.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the most secure operatin system used by Russion military because the NSA wrote the security regime in Linux.

Unintended collaboration, NSA worte the security regime in Linux

Talking to the CTO of Facebook. I said, you do all this work and give it out as open source, when you know competitors like Google can then use it. He said, "For me its the moral issue. If we can help anyone else in this world, competitor or not, run a data center more efficiently, be more efficient, greener, use less energy, that's a moral obligation."

So what's going to happen in the next 20 years? I have an unsatisifying answer: I have no idea. Linux transcends technology .. with new products, new business models. It will leap to other areas where mass collaboration can solve the biggest human problems. I get calls from people in the government to talk about healthcare. They want to talk about how mass collaboration and sharing can solve problems.

I have no idea where that will take us, but am sure its going to be a thrilling ride.


Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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