Linux needs to recognise Microsoft's leadership in some areas to better itself, Jim Zemlin, executive director for the Linux Foundation told delegates at the Linuxworld tradeshow in San Fransisco.
As Linux has become a mainstream operating system, it is exiting the first stage of its life. The second stage requires a different strategy form the first one, said the Linux promotor.
Open source vendors have to recognise that Windows is here to stay and that together with Microsoft it will form a duopoly in the market for operating systems. This also requires that the Linux community respects Microsoft rather than ridicule it.
"There are some things that Windows does pretty well," Zemlin said. Microsoft for instance has excelled in marketing the operating system, and has a good track record in fending off competition.
Although Zemlin advised against launching large scale marketing campaigns and against setting up a Microsoft-styled PR organization, Linux should acknowledge and address preconceptions about the software instead of denying them.
"This is a matter of leadership - for us to recognise that the world some times does see open source or open source licences as risky," said Zemlin. He also pointed out that many firms shy away from participating on open source mailing lists because discussions there tend to explode into flame wars.
Linux however does have strengths against which closed source software cannot compete. Because the open source development model forces cooperation between developers, it delivers a far greater pace of development.
He also highlighted some of the Linux Foundation's existing projects that seek to iron out some of the Linux issues and opportunities. The group for instance last month started up a "Green Linux" project that seeks to reduce the software's overall power consumption.
Zemlin also called for a better synchronisation between projects. As software projects are increasingly bundling several projects, they would benefit from synchronised released scheduled.
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