March 26, 2019

The Yin and Yang of Open Source Commerce - page 6


  • November 1, 2005
  • By John Terpstra

One factor that led to the concentration of enterprise-only effort by Linux companies in the years 1999-2001, was the mention by Linux initiative leaders in companies such as HP, Compaq, and IBM that IT is just business. They indicated that the only justification to market Linux-based products and services is to increase overall company revenue. It was stated by more than one business unit leader that existing servers that are sold with Microsoft operating systems produce a higher per-unit revenue than if the same system were to be sold with Linux as the core operating system. Simply put, it is not in the interests of the major hardware vendors to actively promote the sale of business solutions that reduces overall revenue and at the same time antagonizes a major business partner.

Linux companies, on the other hand, sought to work with the large vendors in the hope of capturing large business opportunities that would rapidly catapult them towards commercial profitability. This was predictably a game of Russian roulette. In doing so, the Linux companies knew that Linux business units inside the large IT vendors were creating tensions. Not one company was willing to actively promote a Linux platform solution to the SMB/SME marketplace that would compete directly with Microsoft server-based solutions, even if it could be demonstrated that this was the most viable target market for a Linux initiative.

The determination of the Linux vendors to "make it big" resulted in nearly all development budgets being spent on chasing the needs of the enterprise customer. The result of this is that even today there are no Linux server solutions that are as simple to install as the Microsoft Small Business Server, and provide the same type of end-to-end business application solutions framework to the SMB/SME marketplace. On the other hand, after six years of intense development, Linux is a truly viable alternative to the high-end UNIX platform, and in many areas has replaced it. It is no accident that Sun Microsystems has released the source code for Solaris, except as a bid to quench the heat that Linux has created in their market stronghold.

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