Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Torvalds' Baby Comes of Age

Filed under
Linux

No matter what strides the new generation of open-source companies make, they all owe a big debt to Linus Torvalds. In 1991 the Finnish programmer started Linux as a project at the University of Helsinki. Fourteen years later the reverberations are still being felt. Thanks to support from giant companies such as Dell Computer (DELL ) and IBM (IBM ), Linux is now commonplace on big corporate servers -- posting 11 consecutive quarters of growth, according to market researcher IDC.

Hardware companies are selling more than $1 billion in servers to run Linux every quarter, while sales of servers running proprietary software continue to fall. And now, slowly but surely, Linux is making inroads on the desktop as well. According to IBM, 10 million desktops ran Linux in 2004 -- a 40% jump from a year ago.

COMFORTABLE DISTANCE. That progress has been an important foot in the door for all open-source companies. Marc Fleury, chief executive of open-source middleware company JBoss, describes the Linux operating system pioneered by Torvalds as the older brother who fought the tough battles and was able to get the curfew extended and the keys to the car, so that life was a lot easier for the rest of the open-source world.

But Torvalds doesn't relish the role of older sibling. He's reclusive, working from home just outside Portland, Ore., where he lives with his wife and three daughters. And he generally shies away from commenting on other businesses in the open-source or proprietary world. He works for Open Source Development Labs, a Beaverton (Ore.) nonprofit organization that administers and evangelizes the use of Linux in businesses.

In an e-mail exchange with BusinessWeek Online editors, Torvalds discusses his thoughts on where open source is heading and the challenges the Linux community faces. Edited excerpts of the exchange follow:

Full Interview.

More in Tux Machines

Simplenote want developers to make a GNU/Linux implementation

Matt Mullenweg founder and CEO of Automattic which is responsible for WordPress.com has reached out to people who develop software on the GNU/Linux platform to find someone who will bring the Simplenote application to GNU/Linux. Read more

How to set up Raspberry Pi, the little computer you can cook into DIY tech projects

You don't need an electrical engineering degree to build a robot army. With the $35 Raspberry Pi B+, you can create robots and connected devices on the cheap, with little more than an Internet connection and a bunch of spare time. The Raspberry Pi is a computer about the size of a credit card. The darling of the do-it-yourself electronics crowd, the Pi was originally designed to teach kids computer and programming skills without the need for expensive computer labs. People have used Raspberry Pis for everything from robots to cheap home media centers. The Pi sports USB ports, HDMI video, and a host of other peripherals. The latest version, the B+, sports 512MB of RAM and uses a MicroSD card instead of a full-size card. Read more

LibreOffice Ported To 64-bit ARM (AArch64)

As more and more open-source programs get brought up for 64-bit ARM, LibreOffice is the latest to receive such AArch64 enablement. As of today in LibreOffice Git is the initial AArch64 support. Over one thousand new lines of code were added to LibreOffice by Red Hat's Stephan Bergmann for allowing the open-source office suite to build on the ARMv8 64-bit architecture. LibreOffice already runs on many CPU architectures from x86 to Alpha and SPARC with ARM64 just being the latest. Read more

SUSE's Flavio Castelli on Docker's Rise Among Linux Distros

Docker has only gained traction since its launch a little over a year ago as more companies join the community's efforts on a regular basis. On July 30, the first official Docker build for openSUSE was released, making this distribution the latest among many to join the fray. I connected with Flavio Castelli, a senior software engineer at SUSE, who works extensively on SUSE Linux Enterprise and has played a major role in bringing official Docker support to openSUSE. In this interview, he discuses the importance of bringing Docker to each Linux distribution, the future of Docker on SUSE Linux Enterprise, and other interesting developments in the Docker ecosystem. Read more