Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Google Linux

Slashdot has a good thread on the possibility of a Google Branded Linux Distribution. I don't think that it will happen, but we can all dream. Why should I care? Simple, and explained by a conversation that I had earlier today. I was hiking this morning with two good friends (a pharmacist and a psychologist) who are avid computer users, but not experts. I was trying to explain just how good open source is for my consulting business:

It is all about services. It is all about giving customers maximum value for their money. With stable open source infrastructure software I find myself adding customer problem specific bits of my own, some customization, and delivering solutions to customers' problems. Infrastructure software like Tomcat, Ruby on Rails, etc. is just there to be used and to cut development costs. (I tried to explain, with limited success, how 30 years ago, my company wrote everything from scratch for customers, then the vogue was integrating some "off the shelf" software for solutions to save some development costs, followed by using a wealth of open source software.)

I don't use Microsoft software for customer solutions. I don't use SAP. I don't use Oracle.

If, by some happy miracle, a company with great branding like Google could influence many businesses to adopt a Linux desktop, that would lead to even more use of back-room Linux servers and other standards compliant open source software which makes my job easier. Anyway, this is the best scenario from my point of view. As a computer scientist, I basically see myself working in a service industry - and that is fine with me. Drive down costs and increase the value of services.

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