Even not-so-careful readers of IT press will have spotted a popular theme lately: "Linux is coming. Linux is just around the corner." These excited headlines keep hammering away at the idea that Linux is about to arrive. It isn't; it's already here. It's like saying satellite television is the next big thing. Hey, look out, indoor loos are the next big craze. Did you know you can now have gas delivered to your home through a pipe? Linux is already a glaring presence on the IT market, yet these analysts and commentators are projecting that at some time in the future it might become really big. Are they saying that Linux has only really arrived when it has directly overtaken Windows NT, with all the billions of dollar pumped into that market? Do they expect this to happen even more quickly than it is? Or are they just being too cautious? Surely the trend is so strong that we can ascertain Linux already has a big foothold in NT grassroots country. Let's look at the evidence. The list of serious IT players that have already started developing Linux implementations is so long that it is probably more efficient just to say there is only a handful of companies not among them. Training budgets in large organisations are being tweaked left and right to include further education on Linux for systems people. Even more importantly, big educational centres and training companies are seriously investing in Linux courses. Some of the most loyal and detailed NT installations at the heart of Windowsland are being eroded by endless Linux implementations. Even the banking industry is buying into Linux. So is Linux already here? You bet your sweet MS Office it is. And when are we actually going to get clear confirmation that it is in fact here in a really big way? When it is a safe bet. Or perhaps when there is a strong new contender attacking it. Or perhaps when Microsoft capitulates and offers cross-platform open system development. Just how likely are all these things? Not very. Even if Linux has taken a couple of years or so to sneak up on NT, the really exciting thing is the fact that it has done exactly that - sneaked up. Sidelined, misinterpreted, misunderstood - it has made its way. Little wonder that, even now, it is taken with a pinch of salt. Imagine a car manufacturer announcing the launch of a model that can run on raspberry syrup. The news would no doubt be greeted with equal measures of delight and scorn. You think the car industry is snobbish? You should look at the IT market. All I am saying is that, although it may not have been particularly smart, for people to ignore Linux was not unexpected. Whoever said that playing safe is bad for business? Well, we might have to change our minds about that after the Linux story has run its course. Next time you hear the entire world warning you that something might be just around the corner in five seconds, or five months, look around you. It might be on top of you already. - Nigel Town is the UK country manager of Pick Systems.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago