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Other Places Where Linux Is Going

A Continuing Work in Progress: The State of Linux 2006
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Here are a few key highlights that illustrate a progressive path for the Linux platform in other industries :

  • A partnership between wireless platform developer Devicescape and Linux-based wired router specialist LVL7 produces an enterprise-ready infrastructure that promotes the combined strengths of each company’s specialty network designs.
  • Buffalo Technology’s flagship enterprise storage solution, the TeraStation, runs an embedded Linux operating system that serves as a foundation for its flexible Just a Bunch of Drives (JBoD) and RAID capabilities.
  • Linksys finds a profit margin in the Linux community, when it discovers that its popular WRT54G series WiFi routers are commonly converted into specialized Linux boxes that do much more than routing (such as file sharing, traffic shaping, and communal VoIP gateways).

Figure 15 : Buffalo TeraStation (copyright Buffalo Technologies 2005)

Each of these examples illustrates ongoing interest from distinguished IT gear builders. Their involvement in Linux development also asserts that it’s seen not only as a workable solution for today’s network appliance marketplace, but one that can also turn a justified profit for specialized applications when properly executed.

Economic factors driving down IT costs will likely remain a primary motivator as companies and organizations learn that they need to transition into the Linux world. Financial issues continue to shift the balance toward Linux solutions, with the assistance of government subsidies, global initiatives to foster improved usability, and an alliance of middleware vendors, hardware providers and platform developers based on enlightened self-interest. Today, Linux has all the background support it needs to stake claims across many industries, geographies and economies.

Finally, endorsements from established vendors like AMD and Intel can’t help but accelerate Linux’s growth in the marketplace. Next comes the battle to develop the credibility needed to attract and retain loyal corporate customer bases. In turn, this should give the Linux community the confidence to foster adoption and loyalty over the long term.

While Linux may not already be the clear and present danger to Microsoft that some advocates (or doomsayers) would like us to believe, Linux is a worthy competitor in a growing number of key technology arenas. This war is far from over, nor is its outcome certain, but Linux appears to have growing interest, momentum, and capability on its side. What it needs next - badly - is market share and clout to match.

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