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Linux is the jewel in’s crown

Aug 04, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsLinux

* How Linux helped save online jeweler from being a dot-bomb statistic

If the founders of online jewelry retailer wrote a book, a title of “How We Survived the Internet Bust,” wouldn’t be a bad title. And you could bet there would be at least a chapter devoted to Linux and open source software in the tome., which sells diamond and gold jewelry and competes with such sites as, is still in business and profitable even after many online retailers like it have since shut up shop.

“We’re one of the firms that survived the whole Internet boom and bust,” says Steve Bramsons, CIO for the Montreal e-retailer. And Linux is partly to thank for that, he adds.

In 2000, broke off from idealab!, the storied dot-com incubator company, just as the Internet bubble swelled to the point of bursting. Instead of spending lavishly on more expensive infrastructure hardware and software – as did many cash-flush, venture-funded dot-coms – went the open source route. The company installed Linux and open source in every part of its IT operation. This includes Apache Web servers, MySQL databases, and Tomcat application servers all running on Linux boxes.

Bramson adds that his firm’s ability to keep IT costs down by deploying an almost completely Linux and open-source infrastructure kept it from being a dot-com casualty.

“We chose Linux for one reason, and that was cost,” Bramson says. “As a company, we really wanted to spend our money on marketing to promote our business.” While not a strategy that many IT executives would prefer, being forced to put together a low-cost network got Bramson to look at open source. He says he’s more than pleased with the results.

“The open source community has been stellar for us,” he says. “My team is consistently on bulletin boards and communicating with the community … getting answers and giving back at the same time.”