Linux experts debate open source

At the EDGE 2004 Conference & Expo, held recently in San Francisco, a keynote panel session, billed as “The Open Source Debate”, focussed on the future of Linux.

For Sam Greenblatt, SVP and Chief Architect of Computer Associates International’s Linux Technology Group, the position is crystal clear: “Commercial software (he’s given up using the term ‘proprietary’) will have to embrace Open Source, or it won’t exist,” he said. “Eight out of the 10 Wall Street firms I deal with use Linux. It’s becoming a device driver… Linux is real; companies like IBM are making huge bets on it.”

Miguel de Icaza, CTO of Novell Ximian Services, observed that Novell is as “proprietary as it comes” but that the company has started doing internal adoption of Open Source. Outside of Novell things are even more interesting, he stated. “The server market for Linux and Open Source technologies is growing,” he said. “We’re starting to see very large deployments of Linux in the desktop.”

The CTO of SleepyCat Software, Margo Seltzer, offered her view of the Open Source landscape of the future. “OS is making it into the mainstream,” she said. “Judging by the curve over the last eight years, it’s going to become just a dry fact over the next two to five years. Like a checked box – is this OS or not? A simple fact, nothing more.”

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