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Options for Linux growth exist beyond the desktop

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There was some discussion at the LinuxWorld Conference & Exposition about how Linux and open source are already in the enterprise, and that new growth opportunities need to be identified now that the foothold is becoming a base of operations.

A keynote by Hewlett-Packard's executive vice president Ann Livermore focused on this topic, and touched on the future direction of open source and its continuing impact on the IT industry.

For an objective look and further analysis of these new frontiers and the overall open source revolution, spoke with Illuminata Research senior analyst Gordon Haff. Haff says the ever-growing world of Linux and open source goes far beyond the desktop, an arena still dominated by Microsoft, and may be coming to an appliance near you.

The HP keynote centered on many of the issues that users already associated with Linux. What's the real story here, where can Linux grow now that's it well established in the enterprise?

Gordon Haff: Certainly Linux and open source is maturing at some level at the enterprise level, but from LinuxWorld to LinuxWorld there is a lot less that is a big surprise; that is radically new and different. There used to be similar trends with conferences about Unix servers every six months, but what was the really big news there? In the end the answer was there was not a huge amount at the macro scale; obviously there were new releases for products, but the big picture rarely changes.

Now, at LinuxWorld there is Debian and Gentoo; clearly there is an interest at least in some quarters, but again even then that's not anything new. I think in particular as Linux has gotten more mature, and more robust and so forth, at least for certain applications a lot of people are saying I don't need to pay Red Hat or Novell. This is primarily in North America where they are saying they don't need to pay them large sums of money that they could instead save by acquiring and downloading something that basically works the same way. Certainly it goes without saying that there are still plenty of cases where people are still willing to pay, but the other side is gaining.

Is there any apprehension as more companies go with the non-commercial options in Debian and Gentoo?

Full Interview.

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