Page Two

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2003-12-18 Print this article Print

Regardless of who gets out the door first with a business-class Linux 2.6-based distribution, Joe Wilcox, a senior analyst with Jupiter Research of Darien, Conn., said Microsoft Corp. has reason to be concerned. "The real challenge for Microsoft will be with Server 2003," Wilcox said. "The company has a large installed base on NT 4, theyre using it for file and print, and they can just as easily use Linux. Microsoft has been trying hard to court those customers, but Microsoft is facing challenges especially with the perception that Windows has significant security problems. This new release, the newness factor, will win some interest from NT users who have been on the fence.
"Theres a perception that Windows long release cycles, with Longhorn years away, and a fast turnover of Linux distributions, and Mac OS X on a fairly regular schedule, that Windows is now lumbering along, while open-source operating systems are quicker and more responsive with their frequent new releases," Wilcox said.

On the other hand, Dan Kusnetzky, International Data Corp.s vice president for system software research, did not think Microsoft has anything to worry about immediately from Linux 2.6. "[Version] 2.6 is an interesting technical artifact for most organizations using Linux, since most of them will wait for it to be adopted in a commercial distribution before deploying it," Kusnetzky said. However, "technically it does appear to be a significant advance, and the development community can be expected to adopt it as soon as possible."

As expected, there was one company that didnt see much importance in the new features found in Linux 2.6. The SCO Groups director of public relations, Blake Stowell, stated, "To our knowledge, 2.6 builds upon the intellectual property violations that continue to be in 2.4. JFS, NUMA, XFS, RCU and a host of other code violations have not been removed. SCOs position remains unchanged."

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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