From the Data Center to the Desktop: Linux Grows Up
From Humble Beginnings
In the 12 years since Linus Torvalds posted to Usenet about his free operating system that was "(just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones ...," Linux has moved from the basement to the board room and in the process most likely made itself a permanent fixture in the server room.
Linux has also matured from a robust adolescence, a time when those in the server room had those in the board room convinced that it had the potential to be everything for everybody, to being known for being highly effective in certain conditions, such as those that benefit from scaling out, yet less desirable in others, such as those that require scaling up.
So what is the state of Linux in the enterprise, circa 2003?
To answer this question, ServerWatch attended Jupitermedia's Enterprise Linux Forum in Washington, D.C. two weeks ago. (Jupitermedia is the parent company of this publication.)
For one thing, there are fewer key players developing and pedaling the operating system than there were even two years ago. Although the number of actual Linux distributions still extends well into the hundreds, Red Hat and Suse account for the lion share of worldwide organizational Linux deployments, and Red Hat alone owns more than 50 percent of the market. As a result, it is these two vendors with whom OEMs and middleware vendors typically partner.
Jim Enright, director of the Linux Program Office at Oracle, offered some differentiation between Red Hat Linux and Suse Linux, describing the Red Hat flavor as more business oriented while Suse's distribution is more technically oriented.
Jonathan Eunice, president and principle analyst at the research firm, Illuminata, said that in an enterprise environment, the choice of which distribution is "based on geography and industry." He added that all of the distributions share a common goal -- beating Red Hat.