Distinguished Linux Panel at CA World

By Bill Claybrook

July 16, 2003

Yesterday I attended a Q&A press event with a panel of Linux experts at CA World [ http://ca.com/caworld/ ] in Las Vegas (where it was only 112 degrees outside). Sam Greenblatt, SVP of the Linux Technology Group at Computer Associates, moderated the panel. Among the panelists were two or three people whose names you would recognize — Linus was one of them.

Mr. Greenblatt initiated the discussion by teeing up one of the hottest Linux topics of the year: the SCO vs. IBM lawsuit [ http://www.aberdeen.com/ab_abstracts/2003/03/03030019.htm ]. What impact is this having on companies that sell Linux products? The answers from three of the panelists were rather surprising (Linus did not reply). One well-known panelist said that the lawsuit has no impact, either on technology vendors or end-users — the lawsuit is about a contract disagreement, and not about intellectual property. A second panelist said that the computer industry has survived these things before and it will again (I agree [ http://www.aberdeen.com/ab_abstracts/2003/06/06030020.htm ] ). Another said that Linux is an operating system of the world, not one specific country.

So what do you think about these comments? I think the first reply to the question was off the mark — it is a lawsuit about a contract, but it is also about IP. The second reply, I believe, was on the mark — the industry will get past this and Linux will be a huge success. The last reply is a typical open source reply: “Linux is an operating system of the world, not one specific country.” Well, it may be an operating system of the world, but there is a lot riding on it — meaning market share and revenue to the biggest computer vendors in the world.

My opinion? When this lawsuit reaches its conclusion, I believe that Linux is going to emerge basically unscathed.

1:45 ET

Copyright 2003