With Linux firmly established in enterprise IT organisations, the spotlight in 2008 is likely to switch to the growing development of open source enterprise applications. Computerworld UK's Open Source Zone and Glyn Moody's Open Enterprise blog will keep you up to speed. Meanwhile catch up with the big issues of 2007.
As the number of kernel contributors swells, many talented core Linux developers are finding themselves managing and checking, rather than coding and developing. Yet the rate of kernel change is also growing. This article looks at the increasing pressure on open source coders.
Linux vendor Mandriva nearly missed out on a deal to supply Nigerian elementary schools with laptop computers and software, when it was revealed that the supplier was planning to wipe the drives and replacing the OS with Windows XP. While Microsoft claimed that the supplier, Technology Support Center (TSC), had said there was "a preference for a tested platform", meaning Windows. This story highlights the battle Microsoft is waging in developing countries against Linux, which appeals to governments looking for software with lower licensing costs.
Outspoken and passionate free software advocate Richard Stallman throws down to the open source community in this far-reaching interview from our sister title Computerworld Brazil. Stallman spells out his views on Microsoft and Linus Torvalds.
Sun has ambitious plans to transform Solaris into an operating system to rival Linux. In order to reach that goal, Sun has reached out to the developer community, but still has to overcome some long-held prejudices against the OS.
The ongoing battle between the Linux community and Microsoft over patents has been a phoney war. As Microsoft shakes the patent litigation spear at Linux, the open source faithful have shown little fear.
Despite the debate on whether Linux is fit for the desktop, open source has made in-roads into many enterprises across many sectors. One notable example of this is New York Stock Exchange. The largest stock exchange in the world invested heavily in x86-based Linux systems and blade servers as it expands its new NYSE Hybrid Market trading system, an electronic trading platform it launched last year.
Interoperability remains the biggest concern for developers, particularly with Microsoft systems. The non-profit Open Solutions Alliance group, which includes CollabNet and EnterpriseDB in its members, said that if software creators can overcome interoperability challenges, they stand to "out-Microsoft Microsoft" by offering a fully interoperable suite of business tools.
Open source applications are still playing catch-up to Linux when it comes to adoption in the enterprise, according to Forrester analysts. The two barriers to open source adoption – both of Linux and enterprise apps – remain the same: service/support and security. "If open source is going to continue to be an important tactical tool, the open source ecosystem must address these concerns," Forrester said.
Nothing like a cash prize to spark people's interest. Sun unveiled a programme to encourage developers and programmers, particularly OpenSolaris, GlassFish, OpenJDK, OpenSPARC, NetBeans and OpenOffice.org communities.