The Challenges Facing Linux And Open Source - InformationWeek
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12/17/2003
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Scot Finnie
Scot Finnie
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The Challenges Facing Linux And Open Source

Where do you think Linux and open-source are headed next year? What breakthroughs might they make? What obstacles will they face? I've been giving that some thought because we're planning a looking-forward sort of story at

Where do you think Linux and open-source are headed next year? What breakthroughs might they make? What obstacles will they face?

I've been giving that some thought because we're planning a looking-forward sort of story at Linux Pipeline. Being someone who has specialized in desktop operating systems for many years, watching Linux's emergence and growth is a strange experience. Windows and the Mac both took the market by storm (the Mac struggled for numbers even then but its impact was huge). MS-DOS, which along with the hardware it was designed for, had to take on a succession of competing personal computers and OSes. But it nevertheless rose swiftly to prominence over a few short years.

Linux is more than 10 years old. Its growth on servers has been remarkable; but it's movement toward the desktop has been glacier-like in terms of market share. Will that change any time soon? Is it just because Linux's desktop UI and controls still need significant improvement? Is it because Microsoft owns such a large block of the client operating system market share that no competitor stands a chance?

Or is this caused by something altogether different, and some sort of critical mass or magic bullet may yet come along.

Some enterprise-application packages are taking hold in rapid fashion. More and more enterprise software providers are turning to open-source tools and solutions to solve problems for customers more economically, sometimes more securely. Are open-source apps a shoe-in? Is there a downside for IT departments? Will open-source apps come on strong in 2004?

If SCO has its way, the lawsuit could be the first real test of the GPL and the marketability of open-source software. How big an impact will the outcome of SCO case have, either way?

Send me your thoughts on the 10 most important challenges and opportunities facing Linux and open-source software. Please include your first and last name. The most interesting points of view could wind up in a future Linux Pipeline article.

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