Monday, August 11, 2008

Linux rises to top dog in servers

LAST week's LinuxWorld talkfest in San Francisco, which brought together 10,000 vendors and users of the open source operating system, offered yet another indicator of its growing popularity across enterprise IT groups and among developers.

The steady march of Linux into ever more central areas of enterprise IT has been visible in the US for about seven or eight years, and has accelerated in the past two.

Once consigned to "non-essential" functions such as serving web pages, Linux is increasingly the basis for software stacks that perform critical data centre tasks.

This trend is likely to continue, and is a remarkable success story for software once ridiculed as unfit for corporate use, but the focus at LinuxWorld was not the story to date, as much as the future - where Linux and the open source apps that often sit atop it may be headed next. The rise of Linux in enterprises has so far come largely at the expense of older, proprietary flavours of Unix such as Hewlett-Packard/UX, AIX and Solaris, rather than Windows, although this is changing and the more direct open source challenge to Microsoft's market share is growing.

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