Major Players of Linux

Linux is surrounded by proprietary IT firms. Some of them view Linux as a profit maker, others as a threat to their profits. Both sides represent a challenge for Linux in holding to its ideals of freedom and openess.

The first large IT firm to really grok Linux was IBM. It has a long and mutually beneficial association with Linux, Apache, and other FOSS projects. The company has learned the language and the mores of the FOSS world, and has made significant code contributions as part of those projects along the way.

One of the reasons that IBM began to embrace Linux -- which it described as a "disruptive technology" -- was because it wanted to shake things up at Microsoft. Linux gave Big Blue a chance to regain some clout in the world of operating systems, something it lost after it abandoned OS/2.

One of the positive results of this alliance of the IBM boardroom and the Linux bazaar has been new life for and new profits from IBM's mainframes. Yes, IBM has driven some kernel changes for their own benefit. That is just as it is supposed to be with Linux development. If you want the software to do something differently than it currently does, you code it and you submit it to the maintainers. Over time, many of your changes end up in the kernel. IBM has accomplished its goals without trying to destroy the fabric of the community or stage a junta to replace Linux creator Linus Torvalds.

Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and AMD are other proprietary IT firms that arrived at the party early. Google's incredible financial success owes a great deal to its choice of Linux as the platform for its servers. Even Dell, once loyal only to Intel and Microsoft, is dabbling again with Linux, and apparently going to expand its Linux offerings. Oracle, believe it or not, plans to create a distribution of its own.

By contrast we have SCO and Microsoft. SCO thought it could get rich through litigation, and if it destroyed Linux along the way, well, sorry, but that's the nature of corporate warfare and collateral damages. But even with financial backing from Mics the rest of the software indusrosoft, it appears the only thing SCO has destroyed is itself.

Microsoft is drawn to Linux like a moth to a flame. It doesn't want to get too close, but it just can't stay away, not with so much money in play. All of Microsoft's attention to Linux, however, has been negative, attempting to stifle its continued growth. Microsoft has not come to praise Linux, but to bury it -- to to try to bury it, anyway, with advertising campaigns, by funding for SCO's litigation efforts, and by calling it communism or a cancer. It's the money that drives Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to utter such complete drivel that the entire Microsoft public relations machine is thrown into chaos trying to do damage control.

The most powerful influences on Linux in the group? IBM, no doubt, is on top. Google is probably second, not only by illustrating the power of Linux, but by generating enormous profits point thanks to the cost savings which come as a result of using it. Microsoft, now lurking in the shadows while it plans its next assault, is third in influence, even though all of its efforts have negative rather than positive.

Courtesy: I liked this snippet in one of the article I found in www.linux.com

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