Linux for the Long Haul

Linux push continues for mission-critical applications.

Two years ago, few enterprises would admit they were running Linux. Today, there are few organizations that are not piloting or using the open-source operating system in some fashion.

To get an idea of how the operating systems role is developing in organizations, we revisited two of our Linux case-study subjects from last year: Jefferson County, Colo., and the city of Steamboat Springs, Colo. In both cases, IT managers were happy with their deployments and plan to continue deploying Linux for mission-critical applications.

This is not to say there havent been setbacks. The Linux desktop program at Jefferson County, for example, has not been as successful in its first year as some had hoped. Concerns over legal battles resulting from The SCO Groups lawsuit against IBM, as well as SCOs insistence that organizations using Linux purchase UnixWare licenses, also loom. (See "Vetting SCOs Linux Lawsuits.")


Is SCO smoking crack? Read eWEEKs hard-hitting interview with Linux creator Linus Torvalds.

For the most part, though, both organizations have been aggressively deploying Linux wherever they can. Citing stability, cost savings and security, IT managers said Linux has been successful enough at their organizations that its an automatic candidate for any new deployments.

"Were very happy with the position were in right now with regards to Linux," said Steve OBrien, director of IT operations for Jefferson County. "There are a number of Linux projects were working on that I think will be very exciting."

Last year, OBrien rolled out a program that enabled county departments to order Linux-based desktops running OpenOffice.orgs OpenOffice office productivity suite. The goal: to have 200 Linux desktops deployed by next August. Today, 67 out of 1,600 end users at the county are running Linux on the desktop.

"I would say we are a little bit behind, but we continue to deploy Linux desktops," OBrien said. "The point is that the people who get them dont ask us to replace them with Windows machines."

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