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PenguinLinuxWorld in Boston this week reminded me of the Internet World of ten years ago. The show was buzzing with people and dozens of vendor booths. Nearly eight thousand attendees were there attending tutorials and pitches, testing what the vendors had to show and tell. When the attendance at a particular conference begins to wane — the Internet World conference is history — it is because the topic of the show has become pervasively adopted.
Linux is surely on it’s way to becoming ubiquitous. There is a lot written here in patrickWeb about Linux. One story, Linux — The Penguin Marches On, is an update to what I had written about Linux in Net Attitude. This week it was an honor to offer a keynote at LinuxWorld in Boston.
There were five keynotes speeches. The presenters Jack L Messman who is CEO, Novell, Inc., Martin Fink who is Vice President Linux, HP, John Swainson who is President and Chief Executive Officer-Elect, Computer Associates, Inc., Marten Mickos who is CEO, MySQL. and myself. Unfortunately, I was not able to hear the other speakers because I was at Demo@15. You can find a short bio and abstract of each speaker’s talk here. My topic was The Future Of The Internet, but needless to say, I focused on Linux as a key element of the future as I see it
Many people like to say that Linux is all about "free". I made the point that Linux is about "freedom". Freedom to innovate openly with thousands of people around the world. Freedom to set your own priorities for operating system functions that you want to use or replace or fix. I also talked about why Linux is ultimately the most secure operating system. The real power of Linux is not derived from IBM or any other company or organization; it is the power of the Linux community.
Linux, just like the PC and the Internet, was built in an open fashion so that all can see how it works. If a security glitch is discovered, any of thousands of members of the community can respond. There is no dependency on any one company. In fact each company using Linux can establish their own priorities and make changes themselves if necessary. Over time it just gets better and better. When a major organization has a choice between proprietary offerings, or offerings built around communities, communities will almost always win — surely in the long run. The second reason that proprietary offerings ultimately lose out is that there is no way that a single vendor can compete against a well-organized community. In the early stages, when the community is not yet well organized, it cannot make progress, and individual vendors can step in and do very well, even establishing natural monopolies as they bring order to chaos. But, once the community gets organized, and starts making significant progress, the game is over. Darwinian evolution takes over; the best ideas survive and the others fall by the wayside. There is just no way a single vendor, no matter how powerful, can have access to as talented and as many skills as the global community can bring to the effort. The Penguin Marches On. As a follower of IBM‘s strategy, I am very pleased to see them leading the parade.