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Geodesic Seeks More Linux Believers

Meeting Geodesic

April 10, 2002

"Our products fill some gaps in Linux, but our biggest competition is disbelief," maintains Michael Spertus, co-founder and CTO at Geodesic. Originally available only for Windows and Unix, and now migrated to Linux, Geodesic's Great Circle is an application debugging tool.

The vendor's other main product is Geodesic Runtime Solutions. "We're the only toolmakers with an application runtime for Linux," according to Spertus. In a play for more credibility in the Linux community, Geodesic's Web site is currently demoing the use of its tools with Mozilla, the Netscape Open Source project.

Geodesic first posted the downloadable Mozilla demo in January of this year, just before Linux World. "We chose Mozilla because it's a high-profile Open Source program. We know that people are very busy, and that evaluating tools is something that's hard to find time to do. But we wanted to make the point that our products work," Spertus says.

Every week or two, Geodesic has posted updated error reports for Mozilla. "And each week, the report gets better, with fewer errors," he claims. Geodesic's reports show 10.1KB in leaked memory for Mozilla on March 13, 2002; 6.36KB in leaked memory on March 18; and 2.06KB on March 26.

Geodesic's customers on the Linux side include Amazon.com; Foveal, maker of a multi-camera video system, and gaming specialist Artifact Entertainment. Geodesic also has a couple of dozen Fortune 1000 users, including BellSouth; Cisco; Compaq; TRW; Accenture; IBM Global Services; Merrill Lynch; Chase Manhattan; Lockheed Martin; and Lawrence Livermore National Labs, for instance.

Spertus sees a big disparity in performance between the Linux OS and Linux applications. "Application errors are a big bottleneck for all OS," he admits, pointing to a Standish Group report that blames 37 percent of all system downtime on app errors, but only 12 percent on hardware failures.

Linux, though, is in particular need of application debugging, according to Spertus. "With Linux, you have a terrific, stable OS. You can turn on a Linux box and run it for years. We don't think it's a very good application development environment yet, though. One of the reasons is a lack of diagnostic and monitoring tools. It doesn't do much good to write a great application if the system keeps crashing. You wouldn't put up with a car crashing every day," he says.

"But it's complicated and expensive to develop debugging tools. Linux hasn't been 'big' for as long as Windows or Solaris, for instance." Geodesic wrote the Linux edition of its tool suite specifically for Linux, according to Spertus. "You cant just take a Windows debugger and recompile it to run under Linux."

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