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