Linux a success and a failure

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Interesting how contrasting the world of Linux can be. As an OpenSource (Free) and reliable operating system it should appeal to anyone, specially those in the developing world, one would naively think. Don’t get me wrong, Linux has a great success rate in Latin America, in Brazil alone it has become a real contender to Microsoft specially in the pubic sector. That’s due to the reliabilty of the system, low cost and the desire to be free from the heavy hand of Microsoft. In Brazil open source works, Linux works. In other parts of the developing world the reality is very different. Linux might be seen as a threat to many. A lot of people make money out of Microsoft either by selling illegal software or by providing IT support, also Microsoft is seen, wrongly, as the Developed World’s first choice and trying to give them Linux is like calling them second class existence. Who shows this clearly is Jeremy Allison on his recent post “When Linux Fails” at  He’s basically talking about a presentation given by a Linux developer in West Africa and the reality he (and Linux) faces.

” Ian’s group first worked on a custom Linux distribution called
“Kunnafonix”, designed for local radio stations. Local radio stations
are an incredibly important communication tool in Africa, and most of
them run on proprietary systems imported from the West, ill-suited for
the temperature extremes and power requirements found in rural Africa….

However, installation of Kunnafonix was resisted by many of the
local organizations they had to work with. The local “computer support
person” resented a solution that was so easy to use that it undermined
the power and prestige they received by being the person to consult
when a Windows computer had problems….

(extract from the post “When Linux fails“) worth reading in full

Well Interesting enough just before reading this artice I read something about Linux in Europe entitled “The future of climate change is in Linux’s hands“. This article talks about the simulations for climate change and the huge amount of data it generates and how Linux has been the answer to their needs.  

According to Budich, the contribution of Géant2 – which is also used by
scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider – cannot be overstated.

“We, as a project, depend on Géant… Such an infrastructure initiative
like Géant is really indispensible for us.”
The data from the Millennium Simulations is stored at the World
Datacenter for Climate, housed in the German Climate Computing Centre
in Hamburg – the largest Linux-based database in the world, Budich told, holding 400 terabytes of data.
The link between the Max Planck Institute and the German Climate
Computing Center is a theoretical 655Mpbs.”

Interesting contrast of realities in these two articles. Linux and Open Source software can fail badly in the real world not
because of technical issues, but because of economic issues.

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