[Linux-aus] Re: Utter tripe in CIO magazine

Glen Turner glen.turner at aarnet.edu.au
Fri Apr 7 15:36:02 UTC 2006

Hi Jonathan,

Feel free to hack this about and call it your own :-)


Dear Peter,

You seem concerned that Linux will fragment the way UNIX fragmented in
the past.  That is not going to happen. The reason is simple: Linux is
now the predominant and standard Unix.  BSD, IBM, HP, Sun, even SCO,
all acknowledge this by ensuring that their source code will compile
on the popular Linux distributions and by ensuring that Linux binaries
will run on their Unix flavours.

As for devotees with Penguin t-shirts, I suggest you go to Microsoft's
PDC or Apple's WWDC where you will find similar earnest and nauseating
technological enthusiasm.  But of course those Microsoft and Apple
conferences are in North America and with fees out of the reach of the
typical developer.

It is a shame you didn't overcome your phobia of the tech t-shirt and
wander into linux.conf.au.  You missed one of the most significant
papers of the past year in the whole of computer science.  Van
Jacobsen, the inventor of the modern TCP/IP implementation, was
revealing his implementation of the successor to that implementation.

I don't particularly find your albatross versus penguin analogy
helpful.  Mainly because I've found that Linux is more like the
albatross than most other birds. It's difficult to get it started:
that first desktop costs a lot in time an productivity.  But 5,000
Linux desktops are massively simpler to administer than even 500
Windows desktops.

You say CIOs want software that just glides along after launch. So
lets look what Gartner say are the top three issues that CIOs are
worried about: business processes improvement, security and
disruptions, and operating costs.

There are no silver bullets: the choice of operating systems is not
going to cause an massive difference in business processes -- at their
core these are about people and behaviour, not operating systems.

The choice of operating system does influence security, since
enforcing security is one of the primary purposes of an operating
system.  By choosing Linux an enterprise can massively lower the
amount of effort and money spent firefighting worm, viruses and other

The choice of operating system does influence operating costs. Linux
distributions provide simple and consistent software installation with
automated maintainance. They provide remote administation. There are
no individual licenses to track, and no legal liability arising from
mis-accounting for licenses.

In short, Linux does what CIOs need.  That's not surprising: there's
not a huge difference between desktop Linux's upbringing in university
computing labs of 500 or so machines, each with a misbehaving student
logged in, and the modern enterprise.

Glen Turner

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