Carly Fiorina: Linux Ready for Breakout Year

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In her keynote address at LinuxWorld in New York on Wednesday, Hewlett-Packard chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina talked about fueling innovation and opportunity with Linux, and declared this the breakout year for the open-source platform.

Fiorina highlighted a number of innovative Linux solutions already deployed by customers in the entertainment, banking, service provider, Internet infrastructure and technical computing arenas. Adoption in these markets and others is helping fuel growth in Linux, which Gartner expects to achieve 50 percent revenue increase in 2002.

"These representatives from the business community aren't supporting Linux because it's popular," Fiorina said. "They're doing it because it meets their needs and those of their customers, and they're putting their money where their mouths are."

Fiorina announced that one such company, DreamWorks, is expanding its Linux relationship with HP into a three-year strategic alliance. She also commented on the growing influence of Linux in consumer applications, a milestone that "further demonstrates the mainstream nature of Linux today."

In her opening remarks, Fiorina recognized the audience for being part of a vanguard of pioneers and innovators who accelerated the idea of Linux and turned it into an undeniable force.

"A decade ago, this conference couldn't have happened because this movement literally didn't exist," she said. "But here we all are--challenging conventional wisdom and changing the world all at the same time."

Fiorina praised the open source community for enabling Linux to stay true to the spirit of its revolutionary roots while developing into a solution that can meet the needs of big business. She encouraged attendees not to become distracted by the industry discussions surrounding the deployment of Microsoft and Linux solutions.

"The reality is that Microsoft solutions on industry-standard hardware are a mainstay of many corporations, especially on the desktop, and will continue to be so," Fiorina said. "Likewise, Linux solutions have found their way into a number of mainstream enterprise applications, are already on the desktop in niche applications, and will continue to make inroads."

Fiorina outlined several initiatives where the open source community should continue to apply its energy to keep moving Linux forward for customers, including ease of use, support of the Linux standard base to reduce the complexity of Linux development and the resolution of the royalty-free standards issue currently being debated.

Fiorina outlined HP's initiatives to contribute to the advance of Linux, including building customer confidence in Linux platforms by offering a full range of sales, consulting, support and education; seeking out the open source community and software, hardware and channel partners to accelerate the delivery of innovative solutions for customers; and delivering a line of security-enhanced servers, blade servers, appliances, workstations, storage media, printers, business PCs and telecommunications racks.

"We see HP's role as helping to increase Linux's credibility in the business world," she said. "One of the primary motivations of HP's merger with Compaq is our deeply shared belief in standards-based platforms and technologies, and the contributions of the open source movement in helping customers take full advantage of these platforms.

"One of the aspects of merging with Compaq that our customers find most appealing is that we are both committed to driving adoption of Linux on the Intel and Itanium platforms. Together, we have an unbeatable R and D team with a focus on both the enterprise and consumer. Together, we'll be in a position to help facilitate progress in standards through our relationships with both the enterprise developers and the open-source community, and with customer relationships and support, to help Linux continue to mature as a platform for the enterprise."

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