CA: Its Time to Join the Linux Generation

Senior VP Greenblatt tells LinuxWorld attendees that Linux is the only way on-demand computing can work.

NEW YORK—First we had the PC generation. Then the Internet generation. And now were in the midst of the Linux generation. And its not too soon too join.

That was the message of Computer Associates International Inc.s Senior Vice President and Chief Architect Sam Greenblatt, who delivered the LinuxWorld keynote here Thursday morning.

"Linux is the only way that on-demand [computing] can work," Greenblatt told attendees. "Its the key enabler for pervasive computing. Its in all form factors. And it scales."

Greenblatt highlighted a number of user scenarios in government, education, industry and consumer arenas where open source is playing a major role. Given CAs focus on management tools and technologies, he played up the role that Linux and other open-source software now play and will play in the not-too-distant future. He emphasized how Linux servers, appliances, and network and storage systems are increasingly "virtualized," as well as the role that Linux plays in the autonomic-computing space, with its provision and management capabilities.

Greenblatt also stressed during his remarks the ways that user interfaces are evolving, and claimed that Linux is well ahead of Windows in terms of providing multimodal user interfaces.

"Since Windows 3.1, weve been saddled with the knowledge worker concept with desktop folders," Greenblatt said. "Its a great concept, but its not visual."

And for all nations other than the United States, user interfaces need to be more visually oriented—both multimodal and three dimensional, he said.

Joking that he was the first person outside of Sun Microsystems Inc. to be allowed to demonstrate Suns Looking Glass user interface, Greenblatt put the new Java Desktop interface through its paces. He showed off how Looking Glass will allow users to rotate windows 180 degrees, and will even allow them to be flipped and examined from back to front.

Greenblatts list of Linux case studies included primarily foreign governments that are working with Linux. He told keynote attendees that "every system in Afghanistan is going to run Linux" as part of the companys overhaul of its IT systems. And he claimed that the Afghani government did not choose Linux because of cost. Instead, the country was interested in Linuxs support for mobility, services and commerce, he said, as well as its ability to run on older computers like Intel 386 and 486 machines.

He also mentioned the Asian Development Program, via which the governments of Korea, Japan, China and Singapore are working together to come up with an open-source alternative to Windows. And he noted that both Athens in 2004 and Bejing in 2008 will be using a lot of open-source software to manage the Olympics in their respective cities.

"Lets get TCO [total cost of ownership] out of the equation and look at whats really happening," Greenblatt quipped.

Microsoft has recently been emphasizing TCO as the key factor that users should examine when evaluating Linux vs. Windows in their buying decisions.