What we can all learn from Linux



lying lines of programming language. Contrast this with the mysterious black box that Microsoft or others will sell you - and forbid you on pain of legal...



lying lines of programming language. Contrast this with the mysterious black box that Microsoft or others will sell you - and forbid you on pain of legal action from opening.

Linux, an operating system largely developed by contributions from programmers over the Internet is claimed by many to be more robust than Microsoft products

This might seem a minor benefit. After all, what does it matter if a system goes down every now and then? The answer is that in the Net-connected world of e-commerce, every second of downtime hits the bottom line, and may threaten a company's very existence as e-commerce moves inexorably to the heart of its operations. Reliability is not optional for Net commerce, it is an absolute pre-requisite.

But Linux is important not just for all these excellent financial and technical reasons.

What the stellar valuation of a company like VA Linux and of another recent Linux IPO Red Hat, currently valued at around $12 billion, tells us is that the rules of the Net economy are different. We are moving from a product-based commercial landscape to one where providing services and added value are key.

Companies selling free products like Linux know this, as do the investors who are betting on them. Those who wish to thrive in this new world of e-commerce must make sure that they too are able to free their minds from rigid, pre-Internet ways of thinking. n

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