Accelerating Linux

Get ready: Here comes Linux. In design, Linux resembles UNIX more than Windows and offers a lot of performance capabilities—like multitasking and fault tolerance—at economies of scale more in line with PC systems. Linux is targeting the commercial printing and publishing environments.


Linus Torvalds, a researcher at the University of Helsinki in Finland, has everything to do with why it seems so many people, in general, and desktop software and server technology providers, in particular, are talking about the new magic word for OS: Linux.

Linux is an operating system first developed by Torvalds in 1991 and, since then, enhanced and expanded by hundreds of programmers around the world. Although Torvalds and a select group of his closest associates standardized the kernel, or central component, of Linux, anybody with the programming skills and the patience can make a distinct version of Linux.

In design, Linux is more comparable to UNIX than to Windows, with similar commands for a multi-user environment. It is said that Linux is less likely to crash than is Windows and that Linux is a better multi-tasking, secure operating system. Of course, this can be weighed and disputed, given the application. What cannot be disputed, however, is the impact Linux is having on new technologies targeting the commercial printing environment.

Linux, in large part, is coming to the graphic arts industry from red-hot stock market movers and shakers like Red Hat, a commercial distributor of the fledgling, open-source operating system. Other Linux distribution comes from Caldera, Mandrake and Stormix Technologies.

Presently, technology innovators such as SGI are grabbing onto the promise of Linux—and bringing that promise to the publishing and commercial printing environments.

In addition to SGI’s activities, recent Linux news includes increasing product talk—all with a DRUPA 2000 launchpad in sight—from other software, server and front-end technology providers. As Linux absorption continues, products and opinions will undoubtedly swell.

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