Linux Foundation CEO: Linux is "fastest growing platform"

Linux logoLinux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin says that Linux adoption is advancing two to three times faster than that of other platforms and that it will be boosted as companies consolidate their technical infrastructure during this economic downturn. Similar views were expressed by an IDC analyst who has recently authored a report which suggests that Linux will withstand the recession better than its competitors.

The Linux Collaboration Summit, which is taking place this week in San Francisco, provides participants with an environment for discussion and education. The event, which is hosted by the Linux Foundation and is accessible by invitation only, consists of presentations and discussion panels about numerous social, technical, and economic issues that relate to Linux and open source software development. The first day of the event delivered an edifying experience and a unique window into the views of prominent members of the Linux community.

In a keynote on Wednesday morning, Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin discussed some opportunities for the Linux platform and some areas where the community can come together to overcome challenges and mitigate risks. He spoke about the implications of Linux's phenomenal growth rate and heightened potential for adoption in the current economic climate. He describes Linux as the "fastest growing platform in every aspect of computing," and asserts that the operating system's adoption rate is advancing two to three times faster than any other platform.

Zemlin says that the economic downturn is forcing companies to consolidate their technical infrastructure, and Linux—which works in a broader number of contexts than its competitors and can be adopted at potentially lower costs—is gaining ground as a consequence of this trend. This view seems to be supported by IDC analyst Al Gillen, who also spoke at the event. Gillen recently published a new study (PDF) which predicts that the Linux operating system will withstand the recession better than other platforms and emerge stronger than its commercial competitors, potentially positioning it better to become the long-term winner in the operating system market. (The study, which is funded by the Linux Foundation, includes some insightful analysis, but should—like any analyst report commissioned at the behest of a corporation—be read with its funding source in mind).

As we learned when we sat down for a chat with Zemlin at LinuxWorld last year, he views cloud computing and mobile devices as trends that are highly conducive to Linux adoption. He elaborated on this concept during his keynote when he tackled the issue of Linux on the desktop. The desktop is being redefined, he said, and the new model is one where Linux is emerging as a dominant force. The growing relevance of Web services and cloud computing could shift focus away from conventional desktop applications and towards the browser, which would serve as a window to remote Linux-powered Web applications. Similarly, he suggests that desktops could be displaced by a new class of mobile Internet devices. He points out that Linux has gained tremendous ground in the mobile and embedded computing space, where it is used by countless consumers in popular devices such as the TiVo and Amazon's Kindle.

In the enterprise, Zemlin says that the robustness of the Linux platform and its powerful support for virtualization technology will continue to boost its relevance. Linux is ready for high-volume mission-critical computation, he says, and he cites an impressive example to punctuate this point: the Chicago Mercantile Exchange has used its Linux-based infrastructure to process over a quadrillion dollars in financial transactions.

Zemlin also took advantage of the keynote to take less-than-subtle jabs at Linux's competitors. He showed one of Microsoft's recent commercials, which featured a cost-concious consumer buying a Windows-based computer to avoid the higher price of a sexier Mac. Zemlin remarked comically that this could be the first time ever that Microsoft has attempted to compete on price—a battle that Zemlin believes Microsoft will ultimately be unable to win against Linux.

Linux is the most affordable platform in the market, he argues, but it is also much more than that. He contends that Linux is altering fundamental assumptions about how software is built. From its humble origins as a technical experiment to its current-day role as the foundation of a massive ecosystem of free and commercial technologies, Linux has had a long journey and significant impact.

Source: ars technica

Tags: Linux

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