Linux` personal computers share will flourish from business oriented cloud licensing

10.17.2017 [0]


Ivars Mēkons,
SUCCESS Specialized Advisory Services

LINUX` TINY PRESENCE IN PERSONAL COMPUTERS MARKET IMPELS A BOLD MOVE OF INTRODUCING BUSINESS ORIENTED CLOUD LICENSING PROGRAMS

Currently, from all personal computers in the world, a tiny fracture of 1,16 % is run by Linux. The leaders are Windows – 91,92 % and MacOS – 6,92 %. (NetMarketshare report generated on Friday, March 30, 2012 8:27:14 AM). Linux operating system, with its inherent stability, security and flexibility, deserves to be lifted above the narrow professional niche, mainly web servers and so called supercomputers, into the mainstream personal computers market.

Windows has stealth marketing tactics and market influence, while MacOS, in addition to its previously gained allure, gains huge indirect influence from everything “i”like that is both of a splendid quality and style – mainly, the trendsetting iPhones and iPads, as well as from frequent positive appearance in media, such as Hollywood movies portraying lead characters using newest Macintosh computers. To achieve a competitive setting, Linux, apparently, needs a commercial approach.

With the advent of cloud computing, it is wise to strengthen Linux` presence exactly in this area. What is cloud computing and why its coverage could help Linux entrench into the personal computers market?

 

Imagine renting an office space or costly office equipment instead of purchasing those. Companies offering cloud computing services do this in respect of computing infrastructure. A prominent example through your computer`s web browser you access a virtualized desktop. It seems like it is your computer`s desktop and that data is stored on your computer or your company`s servers, but, in reality, through specific technologies, the software is run from, as well as data created, modified, accessed and stored on secure remote computers on the Internet. Examples range from general purpose programs such as presentation software Prezi (www.prezi.com) to customized specialist services of providing software or handle data for a particular corporate client, an eminent such provider being Rackspace (www.rackspace.com/cloud/). Cloud computing trends show that businesses quickly realize the huge financial benefits of this approach (http://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinjackson/2011/09/17/the-economic-benefit-of-cloud-computing/). It is a booming trend, fostered by continuous drop in cloud computing prices and the increase in security and diversity of services offered. In other words, the businesses can devote more staff and time to their core activities. Considering the reduced physical presence of hardware, cloud computing is also environment friendly.

If an awareness were raised that the secure and rapid handling of sensitive corporate data had been made possible due to the cloud platform`s Linux roots, that would change the decision makers attitude towards this operating system in general. It is easier to convince a person if that person`s own interests are affected. Besides, the frequently cited alleged convenience issues with operating systems other than Windows, mainly, connectivity and lack of certain software, are now almost extinct with various alternatives being devised at a great speed on both an open source and proprietary basis.

Sounds great, but Linux is already a leading operating system running the computers that form cloud platforms. What, then, is suggested?

 

There is a need for a huge boost from cloud platform developers that would trigger adding a flavor of sense to using Linux in the eyes of corporate decision makers. With cloud platforms offering a vast area of creative developments, flexibility of Linux is an excellent match. At the same time, corporations are only eager to spend serious money on advertising their own products over which they have a complete control. For operating systems, that would mean a right to reject release of the the underlying source code.

It is suggested to create a system where the cloud services providers or developers, meeting specified professional and credibility criteria, are entitled to distribute their own Linux kernel modifications to other cloud platform providers or developers on a basis that the transferring entities may reject release of the underlying source code for the modifications. While, formally, that is a departure from the GNU General Public License terms under which the Linux kernel is distributed, the practical outcome would be identical in the real world situation when Linux is used in corporate environments as concerns a holding and a subsidiary – the latter instance is acknowledged as a legitimate case when the transferring company may decide to keep the underlying source code secret (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#DistributeSubsidiary). How can it be so?

For a sensible use of a computer network, including, to ascertain a certain level of security from the outside breach, measures shall be devised and their contents kept restricted. All major enterprise Linux vendors, such as SUSE or RedHat, offer support services that include private modifications of Linux kernel to tailor it to the needs of the corporate client. Corporations that themselves are information technology services providers do these modifications on their own, for instance, Amazon and Google. In these instances, a modified Linux is being used and the underlying modifications remain secret. When transferred to subsidiaries, the same protection level remains – and, frequently, the modifications are known only to the holding company.

Using analogy in the suggested system, a cloud platform provider or developer that makes Linux modifications would be a holding company, and the other providers or developers that acquire these modifications – subsidiaries. The interest and ability to refine or deliver to end users these Linux modifications would be akin to a shareholding or control link between a holding company and its subsidiary. Strict professional and credibility criteria elaborated in advance specifying conditions that the transferring cloud platform developer or provider shall meet would ensure that the open source nature of Linux remains in essence and these exclusive exceptions can be easily accepted as a necessary step to ensure that Linux obtains a serious presence in the personal computers market. How to do it?

There are at least two viable options to achieve this:

  1. there is new license developed by the Free Software Foundation (www.fsf.org), in essence, it being modification of the current license under which Linux kernel is being distributed: GNU General Public License Version 2;
  2. the institution distributing the Linux kernel Linux kernel foundation (www.kernel.org) or other Linux organizations, such as the Linux Foundation (www.linuxfoundation.org), draws up a new license.

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