|FROM ||Ruben I Safir
|SUBJECT ||Re: [hangout] InformationWeek - Adolescent Angst
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Date: Thu, 5 Jun 2003 15:14:19 -0400
From: Ruben I Safir
Cc: "'hangout -at- nylxs . com'"
Subject: Re: [hangout] InformationWeek - Adolescent Angst
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In-Reply-To: ; from EInker-at-gam.com on Thu, Jun 05, 2003 at 10:25:16 -0400
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See this is more on target.
The application base is not what it needs to be in several key areas of
free software. I've given this a lot of thought. Microsoft has been able
to capitilize on their partnership program to get companies to commit to
accounting software and other application programs.
I wanted the FSCC to help fill this need, but a more concerted effort
is needed. Perhaps we can look at this again at the next FSCC meeting.
On 2003.06.05 10:25 "Inker, Evan" wrote:
> Adolescent Angst
> Businesses are asking tougher questions as they consider deploying Linux to
> handle more critical tasks. A shortage of enterprise apps still hurts.
> By InformationWeek
> June 2, 2003
> As businesses turn to Linux to run more of their critical business
> applications, it looks as if the open-source operating system is entering an
> awkward adolescence. You liked Linux a lot when he was just the gawky kid
> from down the block mowing your lawn or shoveling the snow. But now that he
> wants to date your daughter, you're not so sure he measures up.
> 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals Inc. would like to welcome Linux into its
> family. The company, which uses computers to screen possible drug
> combinations to speed up the drug-discovery process, wants to move its
> workstations for X-ray crystallography and other drug-discovery functions
> from Unix to Linux. That would cut the cost of workstations from around
> $30,000 for a Silicon Graphics Inc. Octane to about $7,000 for a Dell
> running Linux from Red Hat Inc. The savings would make it feasible for
> 3-Dimensional, which was acquired in March by Johnson & Johnson, to put a
> workstation in front of each of its 40 chemists, making them more
> "We're trying to move so that more people can access the same data," says
> John Spurlino, a senior director with 3-Dimensional. "Unix workstations are
> more specialized and more expensive than a PC environment. If we can bring
> those programs to a PC running Linux, it becomes more cost effective."
> A good plan, but it hasn't worked yet. The three-dimensional nature of the
> company's modeling software has been difficult to replicate on its test
> Linux system, a 2-GHz Pentium 4 Dell workstation. To create a 3-D image of a
> molecule, for example, the application has to flash different images
> alternately on the workstation's screen. So far, Spurlino has been unable to
> get the Linux system to synchronize the modeling app with the monitor.
> Linux will play a greater role in businesses as more apps become available,
> Perrin Manufacturing's Brand predicts.
> More than a third--38%--say Linux's greatest weakness is the limited
> availability of business applications for the operating system, up from 32%
> a year ago. Nineteen percent say the proliferation of different flavors of
> Linux is a problem, up from 12% a year ago, raising the fear of
> incompatibility among the various versions, as happened with variants of
> Unix. And to complicate matters, there's a legal battle brewing over whether
> Linux infringes on Unix copyrights.
> Business-technology managers are asking tougher questions of Linux now that
> they want to use it for more than running Web servers. While the
> applications that people want often aren't available, the low cost and
> development support of Linux has it on most managers' lists when they begin
> projects. "Users have gone out of their way to evaluate Linux," says Al
> Gillen, a research director at IDC. Perrin Manufacturing Co., which makes
> rest-room-towel dispensers, started using Linux eight years ago to run file,
> print, Web, and E-mail servers. Now Joe Brand, Perrin's quality and IS
> manager, is hunting for a new accounting package to deploy by year's end.
> "The only real criteria now is that it runs on Linux," he says. Brand hopes
> that having the Linux source code will let Perrin customize in-house if
> necessary and make it less dependent on a software vendor. It's a big
> selling point, because the maker of Perrin's current accounting software
> went out of business. "I've seen a lot of companies come and go," Brand
> says. "It's easy to find a programmer to do customization once you have
> source code."
> But so far, Brand hasn't found what he wants: an accounting application that
> can manage the time and cost of each phase of manufacturing. "Most of the
> general packages can't do this without customization," he says. A similar
> frustration has resulted from Perrin's four-year search for a viable Linux
> option on the desktop. "The problem is that there are certain packages that
> have to run on Windows," Brand says.
> Linux is likely to make inroads in the enterprise with the release later
> this year of the 2.6 kernel, tuned for use with databases, Witham says.
> Changes to the Linux 2.6 kernel will let programs access more data with
> greater reliability and run heavier processing loads. It will improve the
> performance of databases on eight- and 16-way symmetric multiprocessor
> servers, include new file systems that provide faster access to data with
> greater reliability, and make it easier to manage and configure storage on
> large arrays.
> One of Linux's greatest strengths--tens of thousands of software developers
> around the world working to improve the operating system--can also be a
> problem. Linux is being improved constantly, and new versions are made
> available frequently. Large companies don't necessarily like the idea of
> frequently upgrading their systems because they're looking for stability,
> says Brian Stevens, VP of operating system development for Red Hat, the
> leading Linux distributor.
> That may change as more software vendors migrate enterprise applications to
> Linux. PeopleSoft Inc. in early May introduced a development partnership
> with IBM to port a number of applications to Linux running on IBM
> Intel-based servers with the DB2 Universal Database and WebSphere
> Application Server. Yet Linux might need more than the availability of
> enterprise apps to speed adoption. Oracle and SAP have offered Linux
> versions of their enterprise products for more than a year and haven't seen
> significant increases in demand. Oracle says only a few hundred customers
> have shifted to Linux-based applications. And Linux already serves as a
> low-cost platform for running databases. Oracle last June launched its
> Unbreakable Linux campaign for its database, application server, and
> E-business apps, certifying Red Hat as the first Linux distribution it
> supports. In March, it added certification for UnitedLinux. Yet Linux isn't
> changing the length of time it takes to sign software contracts, says Bob
> Shimp, Oracle's VP of database marketing. The bigger issue is the economy,
> he says.
> Low cost and the ability to use Linux without paying a licensing fee
> continue to be significant drivers of Linux adoption. More than
> three-quarters of those surveyed cite cost, reliability, and performance as
> the top three reasons for using Linux.
> More than a third of survey respondents have encountered compatibility
> problems with existing software or poor documentation in their Linux
> deployments, up slightly from a year ago. Increasingly problematic are the
> growing number of Linux distributions and versions available and poor
> technical support. More than a quarter of respondents attribute deployment
> problems to proliferating distributions and versions, while 20% cite poor
> technical support.
> On the desktop, Linux still isn't much of a factor in taking share from
> Microsoft. Not that buyers wouldn't welcome a choice: Eighty-one percent of
> survey respondents like Linux's relatively low cost, and 65% are looking for
> an alternative to Windows. Half see Linux as more reliable than or
> outperforming other desktop operating systems. Still, only 9% of a company's
> PCs are likely to actually run on Linux. Windows' pervasiveness and
> familiarity discourage companies from changing their desktop operating
> systems. In addition, 54% say compatibility with existing software is a
> problem in deploying Linux on PCs, while 31% cite their personnel's
> technical knowledge of Linux as an impediment.
> So where will Linux grow? Over the next year, most execs surveyed plan to
> continue using Linux as an operating system for database management, Web or
> intranet servers, application development, and network file-and-print
> services. Less than a third plan to run enterprise apps on Linux, about the
> same as a year ago. In the past, the Linux movement was driven by "the Linux
> faithful," more than by technical capability, analyst Gillen says. As Linux
> matures, the ranks of believers are being diluted by people who think about
> Linux simply as a business tool. "The general business user doesn't look at
> Linux as a religious statement," he says.
> And users don't want their choice of operating system to require a leap of
> faith. So expect them to continue exhibiting more care and caution and doing
> more testing and cost-benefit calculations as they consider deploying Linux
> more extensively.
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