UpFront

Stop the Presses, LJ Index and more.
New Web Site for Maragda

Jordi Bataller has a new web site for Maragda (see his article “Maragda: Running Linux from CD” in the March 2001 issue of Linux Journal): www.iti.upv.es/~maragda.

According to Jordi, the new site is faster, more reliable and includes a new version of Maragda, this time based on Debian 2.2r2 (potato).

Stop the Presses: Linux Scores as a Serious UNIX Business Platform

On September 25, 2001, the research firm D.H. Brown released a study that went a long way toward legitimizing Linux as a serious business platform and not just a handy way to serve up web pages and perform other low-level business grunt work. The report begins:

For the first time since D.H. Brown Associates, Inc. began studying the functional capabilities of Linux-based operating systems, the strongest Linux distributions surpass the weakest UNIX systems in overall functionality. Using the version 2.4 Linux kernel has improved the features of the operating system. In addition, all of the vendors studied—SuSE, Red Hat, Caldera, Turbolinux and Debian GNU—have increased the breadth and depth of their bundled network infrastructure software.

The report analyzed scalability, RAS (reliability, availability, serviceability), system management, internet and web-application services, and directory and security services. “With these upgrades in place, the leading distributions of Linux are able to serve as general-purpose operating systems for a wide range of departmental and workgroup applications.” The graphic below shows how the various distributions stacked up.

Overall Functional Ratings

In a 1999 study, D.H. Brown articulated the prevailing business wisdom about Linux at the time: “that Linux was primarily suited for low-end web, file and print service, along with use in appliance servers and clustering for high-performance technical computing.” Now, the company says, “the leading Linux distributions are quite capable of serving as general-purpose operating systems for a broad range of departmental and workgroup applications.”

Where Linux fell short of the top UNIX systems, the report said, was in areas “such as high-end shared memory multiprocessing (SMP) scalability and advanced reliability features [which] require a degree of close coordination between hardware and software designers that has not yet emerged in the Linux community”. The report adds, however, that “the gap between Linux and these UNIX systems has certainly closed at a rapid pace.”

For more information, visit dhbrown.com/dhbrown/Linux.cfm.

—Doc Searls

Mandrake Leads in Tucows Downloads

Tucows was the first of the big-time download sites to pay close attention to Linux, and the practice continues. In the past we've run occasional snapshots of one month's download percentages. This time we're looking at the six-month download trend running through August 2001 (see Figure 1).

Mandrake has been a steady leader, with Red Hat a strong second (though with a somewhat downward trend over the period).

As we see from the huge spike in SuSE downloads in May 2001, a six-month total tends to even out any one month's extreme results. Still, it's easy to ponder that SuSE spike: it was over 1.2 million downloads.

Linux Distribution Download Trends, March-August 2001

The pie chart (Figure 2) shows shares of download totals for the whole six-month period, showing the top ten distributions. While there is a clear break below the Big Five shown in the trend chart, the Brazilian CONECTIVA distro is an interesting standout contender.

Linux Distribution Download Shares, March-August 2001

—Doc Searls

______________________

Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal

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