Monday, October 11

Tux lands in Portland

Brier Dudley ( The Seattle Times ) reports how Portland is tranforming from a hardware centre to the center of Linux Development:

In tech circles, Seattle is known as a software town because of Microsoft. Portland is a hardware town because of its semiconductor industry, driven largely by Intel.

Yet over the past decade, a cluster of software companies involved with Linux and other 'open-source' software that's distributed free of charge has appeared in Portland.

Nearly every major tech company backing Linux, including longtime Microsoft competitors, has programmers here working on the software. Their expertise has helped transform Linux ? an operating system for controlling the basic functions of a PC ? from a hobby into a direct competitor of Microsoft Windows.

Capping it off, Linus [pronounced LEE-nus] Torvalds, 34, the Finnish programmer who created Linux in 1991 and still oversees its development, moved to Portland in June.

However Microsoft does not want to accept it openly (as it does not believe in open standards ;-).

"If they were in Portland or if they were in Redmond or if they were in Bangalore, India, I don't think it would make any difference," said Martin Taylor, who leads 10 strategists in Redmond working to fend off Linux.

Microsoft's monopoly on desktop computers is intact, but Linux is growing faster than Windows in the lucrative, crucial market for data-serving computers used in corporate and government networks.

The risk is great enough that Microsoft warned shareholders about it last month in its annual report. To the extent open-source products such as Linux gain acceptance, the report said, "sales of our products may decline."