LinuxWorld kicks off tomorrow in San Francisco. In many ways, it has a real “State of the Union” feel to it, being one of the oldest shows devoted exclusively to Linux technologies and business trends.
Michael Arrington over at Techcrunch is throwing down the gauntlet to produce a “dead simple and dirt cheap touch screen web tablet to surf the web. Nothing fancy like the Dell latitude XT, which costs $2,500. Just a Macbook Air-thin touch screen machine that runs Firefox and possibly Skype on top of a Linux kernel. It doesn’t exist today, and as far as we can tell no one is creating one.
If you work around Linux regularly, in some ways the latest amazing news is… not that amazing. The New York Stock Exchange, where the world’s largest public companies trade their stocks, is now running on Linux. (Microsoft is not listed on the NYSE; they trade on the NASDAQ. Now *that* would have been a fun headline…) In addition the Chicago Mercantile Exchange also runs on Linux. While perhaps not as famous as the NYSE, the CME is one of the largest exchanges in the world. Even the Tokyo Stock Exchange is running on Linux.
It has been years since we have seen a full scale operating system war. Today’s announcement by Nokia that they will be open sourcing Symbian and making it available royalty free is the opening of yet another front in the blossoming mobile OS conflagration.
Open Source is still a disruptive idea. It has moved beyond that in server operating systems, of course, with Linux on 20% of servers shipped these days. That’s known as being “mainstream.” But the effects of open source development and business models continue to be heavily disruptive as they spread into new technology markets. Disruption often benefits consumers directly.
Cell phones are the next device that will move to open standards. Whether the big providers like it or not.