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Linux Shows Signs Of Maturity

Linux is marching the last mile to maturity, moving past edge and infrastructure services into core middleware, application, desktop and data center functions.

The spotlight at LinuxWorld Expo last week in Boston focused on the launch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and Novell Open Enterprise Server for infrastructure needs. But more availability and adoption of open-source applications, middleware, desktops, virtualization, storage and services markets prove that Linux is maturing, observers said.

"First [Linux] handled firewall and caching, and next we moved into the direction of file and print and e-mail. Now we're maturing with corporate-wide growth of ERP, CRM and Linux-based clusters across industries," said Martin Fink, Hewlett-Packard's vice president of Linux, during his keynote. "We continue to penetrate the heart of the data center."

As evidence, Fink pointed to the growth in market share of open-source projects such as Firefox and Evolution on the desktop; MySQL, JBoss and SugarCRM on the middleware and applications front; and Xen virtualization for data center needs. Xen, an open-source alternative to VMware, received strong backing at LinuxWorld Expo from HP, Novell and AMD.

Red Hat touted the release of RHEL4 platform as a fully integrated desktop-to-data-center platform for all enterprise needs, and pledged to begin pilot-testing virtualization services in 2005. At the show, Novell unveiled its Open Enterprise Server for NetWare and Linux workgroups and a data center strategy for its Suse Enterprise Linux Server.

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