Porting our products to Linux

Porting our products to Linux

Post by Charlie Stro » Fri, 25 Sep 1998 04:00:00




[ snip ]

Quote:

>- Who uses Linux except enthusiasts and Microsoft haters.

Let's see ...

This is in part a prediction, rather than a current state-of-the-art
survey.  I'll maintain that predictions are useful to you, because even
if your company starts porting tomorrow your product won't be on the
shelves this year, so you need to look at least a couple of months
ahead. But that's another matter.

Firstly, Linux is eating SCO's marketplace. You could ask, who uses SCO?
SCO's _original_ marketplace (back in the Xenix days) was vertical
market software aimed at mom'n'pop businesses big enough to need a
multiuser computer system but too small to afford a minicomputer. As the
cost fraction of a new business PC that goes into Microsoft's pocket
increases, so those companies are going to move onto Linux in increasing
numbers rather than going with Microsoft's corporate-focussed
peer-to-peer networking solutions. At the same time, the larger
corporates SCO uses are a market will be looking at Linux -- which has a
far larger application base already -- and thinking about the cost
savings of migrating in that direction. ($500 per desk in savings isn't
unreasonable, and when you've got hundreds of desks to support that's a
meaningful amount of money.)  

So we have Linux creeping into the obvious commercial unix-on-intel
slots, simply by being cheap and compatible with everything under the
sun.

Next, Linux has a large academic user base. I think the reasons for this
are self-evident; would you, as a student, rather pay for a SPARCserver
or a cheap no-name PC to do your work on? The question is, what does it mean
to you?  Well, academia is where a lot of new, interesting IT ideas come
from. Oracle ultimately grew out of an academic project. Lotus Notes is
descended from a conferencing project that came out of academia. And so
on. The uptake of Linux in academia makes it a bit of a wildcard, because
just about *anything* could come out of it -- anything, that is, which
mainstream industry hasn't had the imagination to come up with.

Next, we see the trend towards sub-$600 PC's. At this cost point, a
Microsoft OS amounts to 25% of the COG of the product. Therefore, I'd
expect non-MS operating systems to appear on these machines (or rather,
you'll have to pay extra if you want Windows and it won't take long for
an OEM to start blowing Linux onto their hard disks so that they can at
least run a demo in the shops even without Windows).

Then there's the web/internet sector. Linux is the second commonest OS in
the ISP business, and growing; it's the commonest in the European web
server field, IIRC.  Linux is, here and now, one of the commonest server
platforms everywhere -- and this means it's already a niche presence in
organisations that have no idea they're running Linux.

Quote:>- What sort of organisations run Linux, apart from Universities.

US Post Office good enough for you? (OCR and redirection of postal
services, running on clusters of Linux engines).

Supercomputing at LLNL and NASA installations?

Real-time credit card processing in the UK?

Look, _no_ organisations have an official "we are a Linux-only shop"
policy yet, so it's virtually impossible to say that "X and Y Inc. are
Linux shops", in the manner that companies tie themselves to Windows. On
the other hand, a Linux _presence_ is fairly common in many companies.
A couple of years back I was doing some work with DHL's UK software
people. Their official company policy was HP-UX and Windows 3.11 only,
which was why a third of the PC's in their development group were running
Linux. Again: Hampshire County Council in the UK is officially a Windows
and VM/CMS shop, but I saw at least one Linux box there a couple of years
ago.

If your software runs on 'commercial' UNIXen, and has a market, and if
you port it to Linux, people will set up Linux systems just so that they
can run your software on cheaper hardware.

-- Charlie

 
 
 

Porting our products to Linux

Post by J.H.M. Dass » Fri, 25 Sep 1998 04:00:00



>But although Linux is increasingly in the press and major software vendors
>are porting their products, what is the market for Linux. The management
>want a business case. Can anybody please help, by answering the following:

[sensible questions]

A lot of material suitable for answering your questions can be found in the
press. For instance, Linux Journal (http://www.linuxjournal.com), has
regular "Linux Means Business" features on how companies have integrated
Linux into their environment.

Slashdot (http://slashdot.org) and Linux weekly news (http://www.lwn.net)
regularly have items both on companies porting to Linux and on companies
using Linux and other free software (e.g. IBM embracing Apache).

OpenSource.org (http://www.opensource.org) has a
"Business Case for Open Source" (http://www.opensource.org/for-suits.html)
which may help you to explain the growth of free software.

I'm sure the folks in comp.os.linux.advocacy can supply you with more
material.

HTH,
Ray
--
Tevens ben ik van mening dat Nederland overdekt dient te worden.

 
 
 

Porting our products to Linux

Post by Dave Blak » Fri, 25 Sep 1998 04:00:00



>I work for software company which is a subsidiary of a large IT organisation,
>which specialises in groupware products. My management has asked a team of us
>to produce a report into the feasibility of porting one of our products(An MS
>Exchange like messaging system), which currently runs on Windows NT and
>several Unix platforms, onto Linux. I have been using Linux on and now for a
>couple of years and am a fan. So I would love us to start porting our
>products.

Porting will be fairly simple if you already have a Unix port of
some sort. Cast typedefs and type make.

Quote:>But although Linux is increasingly in the press and major software vendors are
>porting their products, what is the market for Linux. The management want a
>business case. Can anybody please help, by answering the following:

>- Who uses Linux except enthusiasts and Microsoft haters.

I use linux as a nice development environment for my own data
analysis.

We just bought a CD writer. We took an old 386 with a SCSI
card, and built cdrecord, and we have a machine dedicated to
CD writing at work. Its total cost was less than the licensing
on the previous software which was buggy and ran in OSF.

Servers use linux. Mail servers, news servers, web servers.

People are beginning to use linux for database work. Companies
that use Oracle/Solaris will rapidly switch to linux Oracle for
increased stability, and, more importantly, reduced price of
both hardware and software.

The major selling point, for you, is that you will reduce the
necessary costs for your customers for products required to
use your product - the hardware and OS of the machine. There
will be little to no difference between using your product
on a linux box and a unix box - except the huge price
difference of hardware and software.

---
Dave Blake

 
 
 

Porting our products to Linux

Post by Richard Tilman » Fri, 25 Sep 1998 04:00:00



> But although Linux is increasingly in the press and major software vendors are
> porting their products, what is the market for Linux. The management want a
> business case. Can anybody please help, by answering the following:

> - Who uses Linux except enthusiasts and Microsoft haters.

Apart from the points already made it previous responses, I have noticed two
specific cases in the past few months of major municiple water treatment projects
requiring process control and monitoring software.  Both of them have specified
"non Microsoft OS's".   Not, unix, or VMS or solaris, or some other OS than MS.
The language is specifically "non Microsoft".  Is this just a case of 'Microsoft
haters'?  No.  It is the response of the market, at least this particular part of
it, to a long history of unstable platforms, a rapidly increasing cost of
ownership and operation,  poor to non-existant technical support and error
correction.

Linux offers a near ideal alternative solution to operations that need a stable,
low-cost, and fixable os platform
for multi-user, multi tasking jobs.  So far, it is only 'near' ideal, since many
application developers have not yet supported it.  Once they do, it will be
completely ideal.

--
***********************************************************************
*   for software, to me, it seems, is a conversation not a product    *
***********************************************************************

 
 
 

Porting our products to Linux

Post by David M. Co » Fri, 25 Sep 1998 04:00:00



>- Who uses Linux except enthusiasts and Microsoft haters.
>- What sort of organisations run Linux, apart from Universities.
>- Anybody know of any organisation(s)(Larger the better) that use Linux for IT
>  solutions, and for What?
>- Any commercial information that my help the case.

http://www.m-tech.ab.ca/linux-biz/

Dave Cook

 
 
 

Porting our products to Linux

Post by david parso » Fri, 25 Sep 1998 04:00:00



>[...] business case. Can anybody please help, by answering the following:
>- Who uses Linux except enthusiasts and Microsoft haters.

    People on a tight budget.  If you've got a small shop, it's a lot
    cheaper to use Linux than it is to buy NT or a different Unix; one
    of the companies I work for is up to about 10 (1 xterm, 1 cd burner,
    4 dev machines, 1 DNS machine, a pair of firewalls, and a spare I'm
    keeping in reserve for when the vendors start calling their loaners
    back), Linux machines now, which is good because NT or Unix licenses
    seem to be in the $400 range   True, I have to maintain them, but
    it's comparable to maintaining the NT machines and we saved $4000
    + the cost of X servers by using Linux.

Quote:>- What sort of organisations run Linux, apart from Universities.

   My consulting firm uses Linux for all office business; we've got a
   single PC with framemaker for documents, but that's about it.

   One of my clients uses Linux machines for internal webservers and
   other sorts of development activity.

   Some of their customers, including branches of the US Government,
   use Linux machines for antiviral firewalls.

                  ____
    david parsons \bi/ Not much secretarial work, but my minions endure
                   \/        the horror of using vi for word processing.