ComputerWorld: “The story behind the story is that Linux has become totally mainstream. You may not have a Linux desktop in front of you the way I do, but if you spend most of your day visiting Google, Facebook or Twitter, you’re using Linux. That Android phone in your pocket? Linux. Your DVR? Probably Linux. Do you use a NAS (network attached storage) device for extra storage? Almost certainly Linux. Trade stocks? Yes, Linux again. You get the idea. Linux may be invisible, but it’s also everywhere.
Still don’t believe me? Look at the numbers and my first story of the year:
1. Red Hat, the billion-dollar open-source company
I predicted a few months ago that Red Hat would be the first billion-dollar open-source company. Though I was wrong with the timing — I thought it might take more than a year — it looks like Red Hat will become the first billion-dollar Linux company in 2011.
The new Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6 is already getting customers, and the company continues to push the boundaries of Linux with its new Fedora community Linux. Red Hat is living proof that open-source companies can as successful and profitable as any proprietary software firm.
2. The decline of Sun open-source software under Oracle
Someone recently asked me if I were sorry that Oracle had bought Sun. I’m not. What am I sorry about is the way Oracle has forced out so many of Sun’s outstanding open-source projects and developers. In place of spin of their RHEL clone: OpenSolaris, Oracle gave us another pointless Oracle Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel. Then there’s how Oracle is handling — or perhaps I should say, mis-handling — Java. I could go on and on, but what’s the point?
It’s not that Oracle is anti-open source. Larry Ellison and company likes open source, so long as it directly benefits Oracle. When it doesn’t — and most of Sun’s open-source projects didn’t — they’re history. It makes business sense, but it’s not how open-source development is meant to work. “