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The Battle to Become “The Linux of the Cloud”

August 17, 2012 No Comments

SOURCE: Forbes.com

In the business world, money has long been the dominant success benchmark.  A hundred years ago being a millionaire was enough, today it’s about being a billionaire.  In open source software however, things are a bit different.  Success is often defined not only by how much money is made, but instead by a company or project’s level of community contribution, involvement and participation.  The gold standard for this type of success has long been the Linux Operating system.

Recently there has been an increased use of software companies attempting to position themselves using Linux as an analogy within a particular software vertical. Essentially these companies are claiming to be “The Linux of an industry.” A prime example of this is the once proprietary focused VMware announcing a recent update to it’s open source CloudFound project. CTO Steve Herrod said, not once but twice, that VMware wants to be the “Linux of the Cloud” and that the company realizes that developers require an open source platform to develop the new generation of applications. An interesting maneuver given the company generates the majority of its revenue selling traditional “closed source” licensed software.

Yet another example came about earlier this month when San Antonio, TX based web hosting provider Rackspace, unveiled its rebranding effort as “The Open Cloud Company.” This move builds on the momentum they have seen with their OpenStack project, which many in the industry have been calling “The Linux of the Cloud”

I had the opportunity to speak with Jim Zemlin, Executive Director at the Linux Foundation, for his insights into this phenomenon.  During our lengthy conversation, he told me that this trend has to do with the success that Linux has had over the last 20 years. Twenty years ago, Linux, as well as others in the industry, strived to become the Microsoft of a particular area. Today companies are striving to become the so-called “Linux of technology” because of the unprecedented level of impact Linux has had on almost all parts of the modern technology landscape.

Read the article.

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