Dell Touts Linux, Bashes Sun

While praising Linux as "a business model disrupter," Michael Dell, chairman and chief executive officer of computer giant Dell Computer, opened the fourth LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San Jose Tuesdaywith a keynote address loaded with condemnation of Sun Microsystems's Solaris operating system.

"Linux is a disruptive technology," said Dell, who believes that increased support for the operating system over the last several years has positioned Linux to make its move into enterprise. Dell listed Linux's stability and reliability as just a few reasons for large IT organisations to begin adopting Linux.

Making reference to Microsoft, Dell said he sees no reason why "proprietaryoperating system competitors" shouldn't follow the Linux model," but stopped short of suggesting Microsoft open the source code of its Windowsoperating system.

More straightforward were Dell's attacks on Sun and the computer maker's highly successful Solaris operating system.

Mentioning the success of Linux running Unix servers, Dell dismissed the pervasiveness of Solaris on Unix servers by saying, "We don't believe Solaris on x86 makes any sense."Stressing that development community members "are turning their sights to Linux" to develop more applications to run on the operating system, Dell said "as the size of the [Linux] community grows, the incentive grows to develop for Linux. Unix is consolidated around Solaris and Linux, and we don't think Solaris is the answer, we think Linux is the answer."Aside from the Sun-bashing, Dell said "the only thing growing faster than Linux is Linux on Dell.""We are seeing wide-spread adoption," said Dell, who said his company holds a 22 per cent share of the Intel-based server market, and that 10 percent of those servers shipped loaded with Linux.

Dell also said that his company plans to spend $US370 million by 2003 on Linux investments, adding that North Carolina-based Red Hat was the very first investment made by Dell investment arm Dell Ventures.

Dell sees a future for Linux on the PC as well, noting that Linux-powered desktops nearly outnumber Macintosh desktops.

But Dell said there is still some way to go before Linux finds acceptance with the majority of large IT customers.

"Ninety per cent of Fortune 500 companies are Dell customers," Dell said. "And we are offering services, customer designs, system migration, and our direct relationship to help support customers who want Linux."

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