Most businesses would die without centralized marketing and operations. The Linux kernel, however, thrives under this model.
The closest thing to a CEO in Linux land is Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation. While Zemlin doesn't steer the Linux ship, he does a great deal to corral its competing interests--vendors, developers, customers--to guide Linux to the impressive market position it holds today.
I caught up with Zemlin late last week to get a pulse on the state of Linux in the market. As ever, Zemlin didn't disappoint.
Q: Nearly a whole decade has gone by since the original tech bubble burst, and Linux has done quite well. How does the current recession compare to the hit that tech took ten years ago and how does it position Linux for the next decade? Zemlin: IDC says the largest increase in Linux adoption took place in 2001/2002 during that bust. Since then, it has become mainstream and is being used everywhere.
Today's recession is quite different than the bubble and bust we experienced nearly a decade ago, since it has reached every corner of every market around the world. IDC already restated their growth forecast upwards for Linux due to the recession and I would expect analyst research to surface an even greater growth spurt for Linux over the last couple years as they get better at accounting for unpaid Linux and open source use.
Linux provides better value than Windows, and in tough times this difference makes all the difference.
But the recession isn't what's positioning Linux for growth in the coming decade. With or without the current economic climate, Linux is the only operating system (OS) that can help OEMs achieve any margin at all from devices that will soon be free.
The PC industry is moving towards a services business, much like the one we see in telecom. The OS must be free or nearly free or OEMs can't compete. This is why Microsoft is investing so much in search and other initiatives; it knows the business model for its former cash cow, Windows, is slowly dying.
There has been a lot of consolidation in the market. For example VMWare's Springsource acquisition and now the E.U. is saying they are concerned about Oracle's acquisition of Sun because of MySQL. Is this good for open source?… Read more