If Linux is so great, why isn't everybody using it?
WEISS: It could be that we're seeing bottom-up creep in organizations—it's there, but we don't know the extent exactly. But what I think is happening is that Linux is on a curve, a growth curve. It started from a point like zero, and that was maybe 10 years ago. So the question of whether it should be pervasive is more an issue of maturity and acceptance and adoption. I don't look for massive changes in IT infrastructures. I see more in terms of trends in adoption and whether it is displacing other systems. So I would be more interested in knowing whether RISC is being displaced by Linux, for the reasons that Steve mentioned, about performance and dramatic changes in scalability. Is Windows being displaced and, if so, where would it be displaced most?
MATUSOW: George, would you categorize that displacement as a Unix displacement or a Windows displacement today?
WEISS: I would say that most of the interest I come across is being able to consolidate highly distributed and dispersed Unix boxes. However, I also believe that every placement of Linux represents a loss for Microsoft and Windows at the same time. Where Unix isn't able to really fulfill, on price performance in the mid-range and lower end, Microsoft with Windows was scaling up and intending to take a large part of that market. But the more market that Linux takes, the less Microsoft has.
CAREY: I'm going to disagree with that. If Linux is going to displace anything at Merrill Lynch, it will displace Unix. There's the real push, and I think if that actually pushes open a door, then both Linux and Microsoft have a much better opportunity. And for us at Merrill Lynch, it's a better risk profile because we like the competition. If Windows is better, then we'll run Windows. And if Linux is better, we'll run Linux. I don't have to go buy hardware again. I don't have to go and negotiate with yet another Unix provider.
So competition is good?
CAREY: I think it's great for Microsoft. I think Jason can't say it out loud, but I think he really loves Linux and he just doesn't want to say it.
WEISS: What I meant about Microsoft, and you may disagree with this, but from what I understand from users who have very highly integrated NT and Windows deployments in their corporate enterprise with lots of skills and support and Microsoft applications, is that it is exceedingly difficult for them to consider Linux in any more than maybe point solutions within that network. To try to uproot the entire Microsoft infrastructure that many users have makes it a bigger migration problem than I think they feel with Unix.
QUANDT: I'm also hearing a lot from companies about migration away from Microsoft to Linux. Companies that have already deployed Active Directories are asking about the return on investment of Linux and thinking, well, maybe they've made a mistake. Maybe they should really consider Linux now.
WEISS: Yes, Stacey, but it's in hindsight…
QUANDT: I agree with you, it's hindsight, but they are actually actively doing requests for proposals.
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