LinuxWorld Insider, Part 1: Microsoft Makes Big Splash

The summer LinuxWorld held in San Francisco reflected continuing shifts

in the nature and direction of the Linux operating system. Gone was the

wildly spirited open source "geeks" that were the heart and soul of

Linux. Also gone was a sense of real innovation. In its place was clear

dominance by industry giants like IBM, Computer Associates, Sun

Microsystems, Hewlett Packard and Intel. Absent were smaller desktop

leaders like Ximian and Caldera. In this series we examine the state of

Linux as it relates to integration issue.

This week we will take a quick look at the most unlikely LinuxWorld

exhibitor ... Microsoft. Yes, I did say Microsoft. The Redmond based

company had an unassuming booth that arguably was the busiest of the

trade show. Services for UNIX 3.0 (SFU3) was the primary technology

being shown to the open source crowd.

I stood back and quietly observed the traffic through the Microsoft

booth. Like many in attendance, I was curious to see how Microsoft

products would play to its most vocal detractors. The techies generally

entered the booth with a decided attitude. They challenged the Microsoft

personnel to show that SFU3 could perform anything of merit. The booth

personnel enthusiastically demonstrated to UNIX environment and open

sources tools that SFU3 provides the Windows platform. The attendees

generally left with a distinct feeling that the SFU3 environment

deserved a closer look.

Doug Miller, Microsoft's SFU3 chief observed that "people would see a

demo and say this thing would really be cool if only it had BASH, so we

showed them BASH. Then they would say it is too bad you can't port

common Linux applications using SFU3, so we would show how to compile

Apache from the native source code on the Windows platform. This level

interoperability seemed to make a very positive impression."

I have strongly endorsed SFU3 for anyone working in a mixed UNIX and

Windows environments. Based upon the reaction I noted at LinuxWorld,

this recommendation must now extend to those who also support Linux and

Windows. Microsoft has obviously done something very right with SFU3.

Next week we look at the conflicted move of Sun Microsystems into Linux

ground zero.

ITWorld DealPost: The best in tech deals and discounts.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon