Page Three

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-07-15 Print this article Print

During a question and answer session, the panel was asked if the current large number of Linux distributions was helping or hurting the open-source operating system. Torvalds said he is a big fan of competition, to loud applause. Also, many of the more than 100 distributions are used by a small number of people, he said. "Clearly, 100 distributions is not practical for a middleware vendor, so they tend to test just a few and can find it confusing. Think of it as politics: Yes, choice is confusing, but it is better than no choice," he said to strong applause again.
Asked about single-sign on and Active Directory integration in the 2.6 kernel, Augustin said there is good support for AD above the kernel in the open-source world in terms of applications available.
Turning to the issue of the Linux desktop, SuSEs Geck said there are pieces missing for Linux on the desktop, but that these will show up in time. "This will come in time, and you need ISVs to trust the platform and customer software needs to be supported. But you need the hardware support before you can have the applications supported, and when you have the middleware, you can have the application support. This all comes in time," he said. Asked about digital rights management and intellectual property rights in the 2.6 kernel and beyond, Torvalds said Version 2.6 will not support Microsoft Corp.s Palladium initiative "and those digital rights management kind of things. You can do a lot of DRM things on top of Linux, and this is not something we are seeing a huge push from the open-source community." In a Microsoft world, the default approach is to build things into the kernel, Augustin said, while Linux development takes a layered approach where things are built above the core system, leading to a very different approach as to how these matters should be dealt with.

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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