While Novell's CEO is calling for Linux to expand its market, the Linux Foundation's executive director is declaring that the open-source OS is moving into its second stage of growth.
At the LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco, Linux Foundation exec Jim Zemlin told attendees what they probably already knew: The battle for computing platform supremacy is ultimately between Linux and a certain giant in Redmond, Washington.
"Windows is not going to go away," Zemlin asserted in his Wednesday speech. Moreover, he added, Microsoft deserves respect. The way Zemlin sees it, Microsoft has done a good job executing public relations campaigns and creating doubt about open-source software and the legal issues related to its use.
The Second Stage
The Linux Foundation is combating that doubt by adding heavy-hitting legal experts to its arsenal. Karen Copenhaver and standards and consortium expert Andy Updegrove have joined the Foundation's legal team to provide leadership on legal issues affecting Linux.
"Promoting accurate and timely discussion of the legal infrastructure supporting the adoption and deployment of open-source software is key to achieving our core mission," Zemlin said. This is one way the Linux Foundation is protecting the platform as the organization continues to promote and standardize the operating system during the second stage of growth.
The fact that Linux continues to gain market share on desktops, servers, and handsets is undeniable. There are two major reasons for that, according to Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. Both the operating system and the applications that run on top of it are far more user-friendly than in times past.
Dell Lends a Hand
"On the consumer side, the work Dell is doing with Ubuntu is promising. Ubuntu is gaining a lot of mind and market share as being a user-friendly consumer, nontechnically-oriented Linux OS. It's got some solid basic productivity applications attached to it," King explained.
On the side, meanwhile, Red Hat is making moves with its JBoss acquisition and Novell and IBM are teaming up to deliver Big Blue applications that play well with SUSE Linux. All this translates to more choices for companies willing to explore the alternatives.
"With Vista, there have been a number of businesses exploring the options in the face of significant investments in hardware to meet the operating system's requirements," King said. "Between Linux and the increasing sales of the Macintosh desktops and even Web-based applications like Google Apps, businesses have more choices today than they've ever had in the past."
Microsoft executives, employees, and shareholders have little reason to stay up at night worrying about Linux taking over, King added. Microsoft still has a commanding lead in the market, he said, but Linux growth is real and should continue to find adoption as a generation emerges that is more technically inclined and less attached to the Microsoft brand.