What People Are Saying About Linux

by Phil Hughes

Linux is becoming a household word. This week, I explore some of the recent press about Linux.

An article in Wall Street City talks about Linux from an investor's point of view. After explaining where Linux is heading (essentially "everywhere", including the desktop and hand-helds), it talks about how all the Linux IPOs have done very well. For us Linux users, their section on Linux advantages, where they point out that Linux is more stable, scalable and secure, sounds like it was written by the marketing department of a Linux distributor. They also say, "Is Linux perfect? No, but it is the closest thing to it right now for the market it addresses."

Moving along to what CNET has to say about Linux, we see that Linux is now the number-two server operating system as of 1999. According to an IDC chart, it had 16% of the market (making it number four) in 1998, but passed Netware and UNIX to move up to number two in 1999. The percentages shown by CNET are 38% for Windows NT and 25% for Linux.

The IDC predictions point out that there was a 92% growth in sales of Linux between 1998 and 1999, but they are just counting sales. As huge numbers of Linux downloads are available for free, and that each copy of Linux can be run on multiple computer systems, the IDC numbers could seriously understate reality.

Slipping over to the UK edition of ZDNet, we find a piece about Nokia having selected Linux for their new digital Media Terminal. Nokia's argument is that proprietary technology is holding up the market for converged digital TV and Internet services, and that the solution is open source.

Finally, in a press release dated February 10, SOT Finnish Software Engineering Ltd. announced they will release an English version of their Best Linux 2000 at CeBIT 2000 in Hannover, Germany on February 24. Best Linux 2000 differs from all other distributions in that it includes lifetime support and a free update service. Phil Howard, one of the beta testers, said, "I do think that something like your setup will help move Linux into the business desktop market where people currently only want Microsoft Windows." I haven't seen the product, but among Corel Linux, Caldera and this product, we may finally be getting a distribution of Linux that can be installed and supported by the masses.

There is more to come. Tune in on Tuesday for details.

An Explanation of This Column

I occasionally receive e-mail indicating that more information should be in each Linux Buzz article. Linux Buzz is a preview of what I will be covering on the radio. It's written a few days before the radio program. For the whole story, listen to the program.

Stations that carry the program are listed on the Biz Soup web site. You can also reach Biz Soup by phone at 800-998-7848.

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