Good, but not good enough, is the conclusion of a report by a US research group into the effectiveness of Linux as a corporate operating system.
The study, Linux: How good is it? conducted by DH Brown Associates, claims that, while Linux provides a solution that is stable and performs adequately for modest workloads, it lags behind the leading, conventionally developed OSs in many areas.
The two leading versions, Red Hat Linux 5.2 and Caldera Open Linux 2.2, were ranked alongside AIX, Compaq Tru64 Unix, HP-UX, Silicon Graphics Irix, Sun Solaris 7, and Windows NT Server 4 Enterprise Edition.
The report concluded that, though the Linux products were impressive in areas such as remote systems management and technical performance clustering for scientific applications, they were not up to scratch in areas of key importance to corporates.
"They both fall short of the conventional OSs in terms of shipping production-grade implementations of proven, non-trivial SMP scalability, high-availability clustering capabilities, journaling file systems, logical volume managers; large files as well as many other less significant but useful operational functions," the survey reported.
But Anthony Cotton, the network and systems supervisor at the University of Derby, said his college has been using Linux for three or four years with no stability problems. Cotton has four machines running the OS, including the university's DNS server.
"Linux doesn't crash, doesn't need a high-spec machine, and runs on multiple platforms," he said. He added that if more tools were written for Linux he would use it to replace NetWare 4, which is used across the university's 60 servers.
Other support for Linux came with the news that Dell has bought a minority stake in Red Hat and plans to offer Red Hat Linux pre-installed on its Optiplex PCs in Q2 this year. International Data Corporation (IDC), in its 31 March bulletin, Linux Operating System Market Overview, claimed that by 2003, total Linux commercial shipments will grow faster than the total shipments of all other IDC-covered client or server OS environments.
Last week, NBase-Xyplex and MRV Communications, both claimed they produced the first router based on Linux. "A lot of people are writing routing software on top of Linux," said analyst John Freeman of US firm, Current Analysis. "They can put in different features and they don't have to be force-fed particular routing algorithms and protocols that would come with a proprietary OS."
For more stories see 14 April issue of Network News UK
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