Linux is the broadest application system ever

Linux is the broadest operating system ever, in terms of where and how it plays.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive
Some Linux stories are about things in the public realm, and y'all jump in with comments.

Other Linux stories are about small, private things, and I don't hear from y'all at all.

This is probably one of the latter. Put your flames down.

My point today is that Linux is the broadest operating system ever, in terms of where and how it plays. When Windows, a desktop system, goes to a phone or a server, it changes to fit the need. The Mac OS is, despite Apple's best efforts in the server market, mainly a desktop system. There are specialist OSs in the mobile world, and there are still specialized Unixes in the server world.

But Linux can do it all.

Open source is the reason.

Open source means more than Linux, of course. Open source is a business process, a licensing schema that allows this fairly generic Unix to do just about anything someone wants it to do.

I was reminded of that again yesterday while talking to Deborah Scharfetter, a vice president-product at AboveAll Software in Redwood City, Calif. AboveAll's specialty is Service Oriented Architectures (SOAs), which they sell to big companies looking to "web-ify" their internal operations. AboveAll started as a Windows shop, but they decided to use Mainsoft to get into the Linux world.

Mainsoft's software is licensed under the GPL, but licensing had nothing to do with AboveAll's decision, and they paid plenty for Mainsoft's porting expertise. This was not about saving money. Fact is, Scharfetter said, AboveAll wanted to play in the J2EE and Websphere spaces, and rewriting the application was just not going to work.

"It’s very difficult to keep something the same if you have to rewrite entirely in another platform," she said. The company went with Mainsoft because it "offered a fixed bid for the initial development and support" based on specific acceptance criteria.

The resulting software will go into the market around March. The main port is all done. Additions to the package are now moved over as they are written. AboveAll is still, at heart, a .Net operation.

But the customers don't have to know that. They will now be able to implement AboveAll SOA on the platform they choose, which is the point of Scharfetter's "multi-platform strategy."

Not a big story. Not a controversial story. Just another enterprise story, a simple vendor case study, made both possible and necessary through the magic of open source.

And with that the Linux world gets just a little bit broader.

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