The extent to which SGI and other server and desktop publishing companies will advocate Linux remains to be seen. What also remains to be seen is how exactly Linux will impact UNIX.
What doesn't remain to be seen, however, is that a new OS door has been opened. Linux is here and it does give UNIX competition.
A Shining Example:
Linux Illuminations From an Early Adopter
"I started messing around with Linux about two and a half years ago," recalls Jeff Walls, production manager for Mahaffeys' Quality Printing, a Jackson, MI-based commercial sheetfed offset and flexographic printer. "I had read an article [about Linux] in Wired magazine, and I thought the OS would be suitable to run an FTP server," he explains. "We had added a T-1 Internet connection in 1996 and were experimenting with Mac- and NT-based options, but were not happy with either."
At that time, Mahaffeys' had just migrated all of its servers from AppleShare to Windows NT. The company then experienced a period of rapid growth—and, according to Walls, quickly outgrew NT. "We suffered frequent crashes and restarts [running on NT] just as we had with AppleShare," he reveals.
Next, the printer planned to try UNIX on for size. Walls came up with the idea to use Linux as a dressmaker's dummy: to ensure a good fit. "Since Linux is similar to UNIX, we thought we could use Linux for internal training, then switch to UNIX later," Walls remarks.
Mahaffeys' never made the switch. The printer had such a positive experience with Linux that it decided to stick with the OS as its ultimate server solution. "Now everything in the plant is served with Linux," Walls enthuses. "By 1999, we had seven Linux servers—for print and file serving, OPI, FTP, Mail, DNS, Web, database and fax serving."