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LinuxWorld Reveals A Maturing 'IT Ecosystem'

Linux industry executives made use of the fifth annual LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco to declare the operating system and market mature. As proof that the operating system can meet all of the needs of the data center, top executives pointed to Novell SuSe's distribution of the first commercial Linux 2.6 server, Red Hat's J2EE-compatible application server and high-end, multiway Linux servers from Unisys and IBM.

And that includes the desktop. At the show, Hewlett-Packard announced the first preloaded Linux laptop to be supported by a major vendor -- the NX5000 running SuSe Linux 9.1.

"Linux is not a boy, not a child. It's grown into an environment that can run any part of the data center," said HP's Vice President of Linux Martin Fink. "It's a stage of maturing, and we've reached a state of young adulthood."

Linus Torvalds made Linux available in 1991 with no strings attached. By 2004, the Linux server market has hit $4 billion, and is projected to reach $9.7 billion by 2008, according to IDC. The Linux desktop market still remains in its infancy, although IDC projects that Linux will run on 25 million desktops by 2007.

"It's now an IT ecosystem," Fink said. "This is where the future investments are going and if you don't participate, you'll be left behind."

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