Jesse Berst: The LinuX-Files: Uncovering the OS Conspiracy

Even if you've seen every episode of The X-Files TV show, you often need a re-run to understand all the plot twists.

In many ways, Linux, the open source alternative OS, has a lot in common with The X-Files. Instead of a government conspiracy, the Linux community opposes all-powerful Microsoft. And just as the TV show was a cult favourite that crossed into the mainstream, so too Linux is poised to crossover.

The Linux Showcase that kicks off in the US -- Atlanta -- today provides a good opportunity to recap recent events that are propelling Linux towards prime time. (visit the Linux Lounge if you're not up to date with recent Linux events).

What better way to validate your opponents than to publicly attack them. Last week, Microsoft posted a document on its Web site entitled: "Linux Myths." It seems Microsoft only thinks Linux is a serious competitive threat when the US DoJ is looking. The document challenges such Linux "myths" as "Linux is Free" and "Linux Performs Better Than Windows NT."

Speaking at Fall Internet World last week, Oracle's Larry Ellison discussed the company's plans to form a new venture that will build $150 Linux-based network computers. IBM beat Dell to the Linux punch with the introduction of the ThinkPad 600, certified to run Red Hat Linux.

The Linux Cluster Cabal (LCC) will add clustering capabilities to the alternative OS. It believes it can create a Linux cluster that supports up to 1,024 systems more cheaply than Unix or Windows NT.

Elvis, Spider-Man and now the Linux Penguin. According to The Register, special co-branded MBNA/Linux credit cards are on the way. With each purchase, a contribution is made to the Linux Fund -- to support other open source projects.

Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, recently came out jabbing other companies such as Microsoft and Sun for their lackluster open source initiatives.

While it's not yet a full-fledged hit, Linux is gaining popularity.