Strengths, Challenges

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-09-20 Print this article Print

Novell now has improved management; its deal with Microsoft is positive for the company given that Microsoft has effectively become a channel for its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server in mixed environments; and it is strong on the enterprise identity management, security management and system management fronts, Weiss said. But does face challenges, including the transition away from NetWare and its laggard image, he said.
For its part, Oracles strengths includes its Linux experience and worldwide coverage, while its challenges remain gaining share in the Linux operating system market, differentiating its services and managing to convert Red Hat accounts.
Is the real point of Oracles Unbreakable Linux to break Red Hat? Click here to read more. Upstart Ubuntu, which had been successful on the desktop, allows a free and flexible download and has open-source software purity, but faces getting enterprise acceptance of its offerings in the commercial data center market and the need for new packaging and better system management, Weiss said. Others, including Fedora, Gentoo, Debian, Mandriva and Asianux are often the source of leading-edge feature enhancements and have no subscription fees, but are often regional distributions, unstable and offer only Web support. In his address, Weiss also discussed Microsofts three-pronged open-source strategy, which he said consists of applications, interoperability and licenses. Microsofts open-source initiatives, he said, have had a number of positive effects—for both the software maker and the open-source community—including loosening the tight grip of Linux to open source, giving Windows users more exposure to open source, and making Microsoft appear kinder and gentler, reducing the efforts to discredit it. "It is also helping to speed up Windows and Linux growth through interoperability and integration, while spurring separate parts of IT organizations into greater collaboration and reduced silos," he said. Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth believes Microsoft is fracturing the open-source community. Read why. The negatives for Microsoft include making Windows organizations more trusting of Linux, increasing the challenges to Microsoft ISVs about how software is licensed and delivered, and, perhaps, increasing the complexity of Windows Server platform certification and administration, he said. Weiss made a number of recommendations for customers looking to go the third-generation route of deploying mission-critical enterprise Linux, cautioning them to be careful of the high-risk factors before moving ahead with deployments. High-risk factors include complex and integrated applications; having no prior experience in developing, staging or deploying the applications on Linux; the fact that management and availability have to be extensively rearchitected; and that certification and support by ISVs are uncertain. "You should choose a lower-risk approach if you are unable to overcome these high-risk factors at this time. Some applications can be deployed on Linux outside a monolithic framework and, architecturally, it lends itself to a horizontal scale-out approach," he said. Microsoft claims open-source technology violates 235 of its patents. Read more here. Many open-source solutions are also known and have been tested and approved, while the back-end database is largely unaffected by changes to the applications, Weiss concluded. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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