Business-minded IT managers love Linux for its ability to help them cut costs. But does the open-source OS enjoy support from rank-and-file developers?
There's little question that Linux is hot. Assuming market-watcher IDC's latest predictions are right, sales of open-source applications, tools and system software running on Linux will more than triple between now and 2009, when they'll be worth nearly $17 billion.
But Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, has his reservations. As Mike recently told LinuxInsider, without a community of developers willing to support Linux software, this open-source OS will never gain wide acceptance. (For DSO.com's take on recent developments at Eclipse, see Eclipse Embraces Open Source Software Development Momentum.)
At stake here is a lot more than the fortunes of a few Linux vendors. Key to the DSO concept is buy-in from top-level executives: CTOs, CIOs, and other C-level managers. Implicit is the notion that these C-level execs can get buy-in from their project managers, engineers and others in the trenches—the people who actually get the work done. My guess is that will be easier said than done. Today's device project managers are empowered to pick and choose among OS, tools, hardware, and other variables; how eager will they be to relinquish that freedom of choice? And will top execs have the strength of will to impose top-down tech choices on these same project managers and engineers? There's a power struggle brewing. And, I suspect, this struggle will be a key issue as vendors work to elevate DSO from just another good idea to a real good deal.