Red-Hot Linux Rocks

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Just when you thought the technology solutions business was losing some of the zip and zing that makes it so much fun, along comes Linux.

The Linux phenomenon is ripping through this industry just as virulently as the original PCs that put unimaginable computing power on the desktop at an unbeatable price.

At the end of the day, both PCs and Linux are all about providing more bang for the buck for businesses looking for productivity gains. It's all about return on investment, and Linux is delivering like a slot machine paying off a jackpot.

STEVEN BURKE Can be reached at (781) 839-1221 or via e-mail at

In our cover story this week, CRN Senior Writer Paula Rooney looks at the Linux phenomenon and the new wave of solution providers making big bucks with the open-source operating system. Orlando, Fla.-based Linux solution provider Ideal Technology, for example, has captured more than $1 million in Linux business so far this year, up from $500,000 last year.

The Linux phenomenon has knocked Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and Novell for a loop. Make no mistake about it: These companies are moving fast and furiously to develop new offerings and strategies to counter Linux.

At LinuxWorld this week in San Francisco, Sun CEO Scott McNealy plans to unveil new servers based on Intel's 1.4GHz Pentium III processors bundled with Sun Linux. That's right, Sun Linux. The company that brought you Solaris is now bringing you its own version of Linux, a development explored in this week's news section by CRN Senior Editor Joseph F. Kovar. As for Microsoft, Linux represents what CEO Steve Ballmer readily admits may be the biggest thorn in his company's side. "We haven't figured out how to be lower-priced than Linux," he recently told partners. "For us as a company, we're going through a whole new world of thinking."

Thinking indeed. Microsoft, bowing to Linux as a real threat rather than dismissing it as hype, this week will make its first official appearance at LinuxWorld, where it plans to show interoperability technologies and development tools it hopes will entice the Linux camp to move to Microsoft's .Net tools.

Linux is, plain and simple, a big money-making opportunity that is shaking up the technology solutions game.

There's only one way to put it: Linux rocks.

What do you think of Linux? Let me know at (781) 839-1221 or via e-mail at

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