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Summit Strategies Announces Market Research Opinion on Linux.

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 1, 1999--

Linux's Nagging Legal and Culture Clash Issues

Could Slow Meteoric Rise

Summit Strategies Predicts Potential Barriers for

Open Source Operating System Star

As LinuxWorld opens today in San Jose, CA, Summit Strategies' analyst Dwight Davis predicts that nagging liability concerns and a potential culture clash could dampen the ultimate success of Linux, the freeware phenomenon that is suddenly the IT industry's darling.

Davis, service director for Summit Strategies, Inc., an IT market research firm headquartered in Boston, notes in a report published today that software vendors, service providers, chip manufacturers, and PC and server OEMs are all rushing to embrace Linux. High-profile efforts by Hewlett-Packard, Compaq Computer, IBM, Dell Computer and Silicon Graphics are part of a major groundswell of support for the upstart operating system that could pose tough competitive and strategic challenges for Microsoft and for commercial Unix vendors. According to Davis, Microsoft, in particular, will suffer real losses at Linux's hands, including lost NT-server sales and tougher OEM negotiations and terms for Windows licenses.

At the same time, however, Davis cautions that certain legal issues have largely been ignored in media coverage of Linux's rapid rise from obscurity. "Most established vendors acknowledge two legal concerns about Linux," Davis says. "One is the possibility that the open-source operating system contains proprietary code, opening up the possibility of legal challenges over intellectual property ownership. Also, legal issues surround the General Public License under which Linux is distributed."

Cultural Battles Loom

Davis also foresees growing potential for a culture clash between the Linux development community and the commercial interests now jumping on the Linux bandwagon. "Will the hundreds of developers who improved Linux just for the challenge and fun of it continue to do so if they think of themselves as free labor for Oracle or Hewlett-Packard?" asks Davis. "We're betting that the intrusion of commercial interests into the 'pure' Linux realm will produce considerable strain and angst."

Davis cites three additional key challenges that Linux will face in 1999 and beyond. They are: proving that the operating system can form the foundation on which a vigorous, for-profit industry can grow; providing a road map for future enhancements for the corporate market; and creating and testing ever-more- complex and innovative code.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Mar 1, 1999
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