UK drags its heels on Linux



Two recent events, the Love Bug virus and the Microsoft judgement, may turn out to be the catalysts that propel Linux to centre stage in large...



Two recent events, the Love Bug virus and the Microsoft judgement, may turn out to be the catalysts that propel Linux to centre stage in large organisations. I'm not talking of immediate roll-out, but of Linux becoming a serious option in the corporate IT planning cycle.

For suppliers, corporate UK is being painfully slow at turning to Linux. By contrast, Germany is seeing exponential growth, with Linux moving into mission-critical areas.

I hear that major German car rental firm Sixt has gone the whole hog, while venerable institutions like Deutsche Bank and Lufthansa are earnestly building it in. It is a cheap option for the third world (it is the Chinese "Peoples' Operating System") smaller businesses and the education sector. It is legally copiable, bringing freedom from clumsy software licence Polizei.

So why are Brits slow to adopt this virus-unfriendly operating system which gives a robust non-proprietary API across all major platforms?

The main concerns - security, support, compatibility, lack of applications, Unix-style disintegration into 57 competing varieties, reliance on idealists - are evaporating. The profit is now in service, not core software.

IT users tell me, off-the-record, to expect one or two major UK companies going Linux worldwide, Sixt style, before too long. So don't be lulled - we are getting there.

Read more on IT for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)

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