Open Source Gets Enterprise-Ready

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2004-03-08

Open-Source software "has proved to be amazingly good at commoditizing IT infrastructure," said Red Hat fellow Jeff Law in remarks last month at Utah State Universitys annual Partners in Business IT seminar.

Addressing some 200 regional business leaders at the universitys Logan, Utah, campus, Law reviewed the fundamentals of open-source licensing and collaborative practice, offering significant examples of successful enterprise adoption.

America Online is migrating from Solaris and HP-UX servers to Linux servers as leases expire, Law said, reducing costs by about 75 percent. Reuters is migrating its market data platform to Linux with projected savings of at least $2 million and a better-than 260 percent return on investment over the next five years, he continued.

Morgan Stanleys Linux adoption, Law added, extends well beyond the server room to include 25,000 desktops and 6,000 servers: Its initial goal of 80 percent conversion to Linux by 2007 has been moved forward to 2005.

Enterprise buyers should expect Linux "to expand more rapidly up the application stack," Law predicted. Microsoft Office interoperability with open-source alternatives, he said, has reached a satisfactory level. Device driver availability now meets the needs of corporate desktops, in Laws assessment, though he doesnt yet believe that it satisfies home-user demands for compatibility with devices such as digital cameras.

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