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Cover Story: Linux in the enterprise
The Linux question

The slow one now will later be fast
As the present now will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin'
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'

— From the song, 'The times they are a changin', by Bob Dylan

When the Linux kernel was written by Linus Torvalds, many thought that the new open source OS was just hype. At the same time many users thought it was the best thing to happen to mankind, since canned baked beans. They began to tout the OS benefits rather vociferously. And those who detested the thought of a Windows-dominated world supported the growth of Linux.

The open source community actively developed and matured the technology. And Linux distribution vendors like Red Hat and SuSE began to market enterprise-class Linux OSs backed with complete support services.

IDC said that Linux is the fastest growing platform and is projected to grow 174 percent to $5.9 billion by 2006. The Aberdeen Group forecasts 40 percent growth for Linux servers in 2003. The Gartner group said that between 2001 and 2005, Linux will record a CAGR of 91 percent. And IDC also says that Linux saves enterprise customers 45-80 percent in TCO over RISC/Unix.

Server vendors like HP, IBM, Dell, and Sun have started shipping hardware pre-installed with Linux even though some of them have spent thousands to develop proprietary Unix-variants. And enterprise applications solutions vendors have released versions of their products optimized to run on Linux.

With so much positive development around Linux, enterprises slowly began to adopt the open source OS. In India, companies began to use Linux on their non-mission critical servers as a cautious trial. Pleased by the performance, a handful of them have migrated their mission critical servers to Linux.

The following articles give you a picture of the use of Linux in the Indian enterprise. It answers questions in your mind like, Are companies seriously considering Linux? Is Linux right for my enterprise, and is it really cost-effective?
The articles also reflect the Linux initiatives of companies like Asian Paints and IDBI Bank in detail. These are further substantiated by short case studies of Linux initiatives taken by Indian companies like Rolta India Limited, Electronics Research and Development Centre of India (ER&DCI), New India Assurance Company Limited, and C-DAC.

These stories are not about building a false hype or about a Linux vs. Windows vs. Solaris slang match. We have talked to enterprise users, server vendors, enterprise applications solutions vendors, and analysts to bring you a balanced view about implementing Linux in the mission critical space. See if you recognize a similar need felt by your organization in the following articles, and judge for yourself if you can address the need in a similar fashion.
With Linux definitely, "the times they are a-changin."

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