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Computing

Linux exec: This isn't revolution

TalkBack! By John S. McCright
eWEEK
April 18, 2000 1:31 PM PT

CHICAGO -- Ransom Love is no Tom Paine.

Indeed, the president and CEO of Linux distributor Caldera Systems Inc. sounded more like Charles Darwin today in a keynote address here at the Comdex/Spring 2000-Linux Business Expo.

Love threw a damp towel on the revolutionary sentiments surrounding the open-source operating system and instead espoused an evolutionary approach to building momentum behind Linux. His fear is that in pushing the overthrow of the existing technological infrastructure, many options could be silenced.

"In the revolutionary's mad rush for total upheaval -- the 'out with the old and in with the new' -- many who are conscripted into the revolution are left without a voice, and many are left without a vote on the change," Love said.

Then, quoting an anonymous early American, he added, "Truth -- and we could say freedom -- is seldom found in extremes."




The centerpiece of Love's speech was an argument that Linux is both open source and proprietary -- and that that is a good thing. To show that ownership of software is not necessarily anathema to the public good, Love pointed to Sun Microsystems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: SUNW) Star Office suite of Linux-based applications, which is not open source. By its popularity (the suite has been downloaded more than 2 million times), Star Office has done more for Linux than just about any other application, Love said.

Open source does not necessarily mean non-proprietary, Love contended. Users who make changes to software such as the Gimp image manipulation software must publish those changes under various open-source licenses, but the mere fact that there is a license obliging users to share code means that someone has set proprietary parameters on the use of the software.

Using this logic, Love described the Linux operating system itself as a proprietary platform.

However, unlike other proprietary platforms, Linux has provided developers with open access, and that has made it more flexible and more suited for the challenges of Internet computing.

"The key is, we need open access for a level playing field, not an entirely new playing field," Love said.

Citing the rough and tumble of the market, Love called for an evolution of Linux from a diverse platform to products that businesses would buy to improve their productivity in specific tasks.

Love's road map for that evolution would take Linux from being a packaged OS to products that include a subset of all the OS features, products that make installation of the OS easier, and tools that make management and administration of Linux easier.

Ultimately, Linux must offer directory-based administration to keep track of the thousands and potentially millions of devices that will be attached to the Internet. Such a tool would require that the devices report what they have running on them to a central repository or directory.

Love envisions Linux tools that will enable service providers to remotely administer Linux systems. But instead of the ASP model, in which the systems run at the premises of a third-party company that pipes the processed data to the customer, Love's delegated administration model has the Linux systems running in a customer's own offices and administered remotely by the service provider.

To that end, Caldera will offer a product that offers browser-based administration of Linux with a GUI, Love said.

Linux will thrive by offering open access, not through a too-strict demand that every part of the Linux infrastructure be opened, Love said.

"Some open-source licenses may go a little too far," he said. "It's one thing to facilitate open access, but another to demand it. That's what you are trying to get away from."

In the end, revolutionaries could do more to marginalize the operating system through zealous adherence to a misguided interpretation of the open-source movement.

"There is no need for a revolution," Love said. "Those who cry for revolution will limit your choice in the end."

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 Related Links:
> One Giant E-Commerce Leap For Caldera
> Pivia Service: You Can Take It With You
> Corel feeling financial heat
> Linux: The next generation OS?
> Linux Resource Center
> See Also: ZDNet News Computing Section


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Talkback:
It will be interesting to see w... - Gordon Glasgow
 
Love is an Ignoramous. He needs... - Matt Dillon
 
We do not care!!! I am a ope... - John Hoff
 
Very sensible... I'm sure it wi... - Chuck Flink
 
Mr. Hoff: FYI RE: Corel's "l... - The Danonator
 
I don't think the OS community ... - Jeremy Fixemer
 
At last! A rational voice among... - Frank Anderson
 
What the open source community ... - Brian Hartman
 
What Love calls evolution is re... - Adam Lebech
 
StarOffice is a good example in... - Gergely Hajdu
 
Who cares about giving the fing... - Timothy Stone
 
Linux will advance when it beco... - Stephanie Coning
 
Gordon, I'll answer your qustio... - Robert Green
 
Luckily, John Hoff does not voi... - Richard N
 
Gordon, I agree with you wholeh... - Ken
 
I just lost all respect for Lov... - Eric Caldwell
 
Caldera sold out! I remember ba... - John Rickson
 
"Some open-source licences may ... - Chris Bidmead
 

FYI RE: Corel's "leech" L... - Michael Pedersen
 
Three points: 1) "... many w... - Tony Kocurko
 
Regarding Stephanie's comments.... - Aaron Braun
 
For every "revolution" there ar... - Adam S Edgar
 
The way to make money with Linu... - Joel Arandia
 
This is the sort of thinking th... - William Leary
 
I think if you simply character... - Dave Stephen
 
Ransom is right. Keep in mind ... - Ryan Anderson
 
To Chris Bidmead: What if he's... - Sebastian Cavignac
 
We are in a Renaissance, not a ... - Alan S. Bookman
 
Here we have the CIO of a Linux... - Alex Berkman
 
Gordon - MS Windows, as well as... - Eric Greenquist
 
Sounds like Ransome Love's talk... - Bill Pechter
 
Some may think that star office... - Geir Bjune
 
In my dictionary, he's right ab... - Noah Webster
 
Ultimately, Linux must offer di... - simon
 
Michael Pedersen slipped up wit... - D. C. Sessions
 
I am sorry if I hurt all the po... - Samuel Bernal
 
um...Michael Pedersen >>FY... - zz
 
John, the pentecostal Debians a... - Will Ganz
 
pro·pri·e·tar·y (pr-pr-tr) ad... - Jeff Hollands
 
Linux was build by Linux User..... - netrunner
 
Coming back to core computing a... - Tony F G Elkin
 
YES! A rational voice. If one ... - Terry J. Leach
 
Ok! Good one! I just have one ... - TiGGer
 



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