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What's Driving Global Linux Adoption?

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Open Software Development Lab (OSDL) business recently took me to India, a country of 1 billion people with a highly skilled IT professional class that is doing some amazing work with Linux. This trip, as well as many others I have taken on behalf of OSDL, provided me with another opportunity to see firsthand the phenomenon of Linux and open-source software spreading across the globe.

Linux is taking off in different parts of the world for many different reasons. Some of the reasons are the same everywhere. Low total cost of ownership, flexibility, security and control. Still, some reasons surprised me. Before joining OSDL last year as the head of its engineering groups, I ran Linux kernel development for IBM's global Linux Technology Center, where we had more than 600 developers working on Linux and open-source software. I thought my view was pretty current. But things are changing quickly, everywhere. What role do governments play? It's quite different from country to country. What drives business adoption? What are the priorities in various economies, particularly emerging markets? The technology issues seem mostly to be behind us now. Linux is ready and every region has different motivations for adoption. Here is what I have seen in recent visits overseas.

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