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|Originally Published: Sunday, 24 October 1999||Author: Ronny Ko|
|Published to: columnists/Ronny Ko||Page: 1/1 - [Std View]|
The Linux business model is a very viable one. By supplying the operating system at no charge, many startup companies have a reliable system which would not be possible otherwise with established solutions like Windows NT, Sun Solaris or the wide-ranging choices of Unix solutions from IBM or HP....
As upstarts change into runaway success, the same companies will continue to use Linux. Modifications and improvements are channeled back. This helps enhance and improve the product.
The sale of services is what will drive revenues. Companies such as Red Hat, Caldera Systems, SuSE and many others have realized this from its very beginning. And investors seem to agree as shown by the valuation of Red Hat. Red Hat's market capitalization stands at an incredible $5 billion. The company has no real assets because it does not own the source code to the operating system. As you can see, sale of support services will drive the future of computing.
So you are thinking that this is nice but, what about traditional corporations? I have informally talked to one CIO at a major Canadian company, and although he likes the idea of free products at no charge, he is wary due to lack of support. Linux does not have an "owner" per se or a corporation they can run if they need help.
Although, he is absolutely right. I would like to offer Linuxcare. Linuxcare is a Linux support company. Linuxcare handles all Linux support for IBM, Dell and many others. Red Hat offers their own enterprise support program as well.
In addition to support, Linux talent is still scarce when it is compared against the massive numbers of MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer). Certification is something that has been hard to arrive to a consensus simply due to a lack of a single owner. A step in the right direction is the Linux Professional Institute (LPI). The program is still being developed -- but once it is completed, many of today's Linux "geeks" will become certified and offer a peace of mind not available today.
We're only at the early stages. As Linux continues to evolve standards, Linux will slowly answer questions about support. But for now, considering Linux as your company's Web server is an excellent first move. Allow Linux to show you what it can do.