The Final Word?

By Martin Houston

I hope you have enjoyed this first issue of the second year of Linux@UK. The way things are going it looks like last year was just a rehersal. This year Linux is really going to make an impact. It is breathing new life into the Unix community just when many parts of it were going to throw in the towel.

Just as a democratic government needs an opposition the computer industry as a whole needs Linux to grow and thrive. Even if you do use a lot of Microsoft software technology the prospect of no viable alternatives to it is something that all should be a cause of great concern to ALL computer users. Monopolies are bad ... or else why is government so keen to break them up and prevent them happening?

What we have been saying in the UKUUG Linux SIG is that Linux should be the rallying point for the rest of the global software industry.

Linux being referred to as free is maybe sending the wrong sort of signals "Look at the Unix lot - their so desperate that their giving it away now!". A better term has started to appear recently is "unencumbered". Companies are free to co-operate and build on a Linux technology base unencumbered by the sort of unseemly wrangling about licencing and royalties that bogged down the wider acceptance of Unix for so long.

You may have noticed that the rate of change in Linux, the operating system, is slowing down. This is a good thing as stability means that people can start building applications, businesses and livlihoods on Linux without fear that it is all going to change under their feet without warning.

Our vision in the SIG is to see Linux as the force that unites different strands of Unix technology and provides a consensus on which we can move computer systems forward into the next century. Not by the dictates of a single organisation but as a true achievement of human co-operation. Things are getting so complex now that full co-operation is the only way to move forward with confidence. Do we really want to depend on computing technologies that only a handful of people really understand.

Spread the word, consider openness as a path in your actions so that you can find and choose the best way to solve your problems, not just one that is hyped.

It goes without saying really: If you know of anything interesting happening in the Linux community, both in free and commercial ventures, please let the UKUUG SIG know so we can tell others.

Happy Linuxing!

Martin Houston