NEW YORK—"Who says penguins cant fly?" IBMs Ross Mauri asked a packed LinuxWorld audience Thursday. During his keynote speech at the show here, Mauri, general manager of E-Business on Demand for the IBM Systems Group, answered his own question by citing real-world implementations of Linux across businesses and governments throughout the world.
"I believe Linux has passed the inflection point," Mauri said. Only a couple of years ago, critics complained that Linux hadnt really proven itself yet except in small, departmental deployments.
Now, however, Linux seems to be everywhere, according to the IBMer. "I cant think of a place where Linux hasnt been successful," he evangelized, citing implementations ranging from supercomputers down to embedded systems. Supercomputing applications really started to come to the fore during the second half of 2003, he noted. "Linux clusters are the biggest segment."
Mauri delivered quick case studies of organizations using Linux across fields that include communications, health care, pharmaceuticals, education and multimedia entertainment.
Qualcomm Inc., for example, is using Red Hat Inc. clusters in an application that lets customers download options such as ringtones.
Marist College has deployed 500 Linux virtual servers on a mainframe, to let students "play with [the] grid."
Linux has also been used to fight the SARS epidemic, and its being "deployed on the desks of weather forecasters," he said. "The exotic list goes on and on."
Meanwhile, governments throughout the world are looking to Linux for increased efficiency and lower costs, as well as "less vulnerability and more flexibility," according to Mauri. Government implementations run the gamut from Oklahoma and Florida to the Asia Pacific.
The Linux platform is showing itself to be "modular [and] elegant," offering "accelerated innovation," he contended.
Mauri, however, did admit to one remaining challenge for Linux: the availability of more applications from ISVs.
Although Linux provides great opportunities for IT vendors, not everyone has "transitioned" to the platform yet. "I believe there will be fallout," he warned. "Those vendors that did not adopt [Linux] will lose out quickly enough."