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NYSE Goes To Linux 312

Aligrip writes "It appears that IBM has convinced the folks at the Securities Industry Automation Corp (SIAC) to move their entire trading network to Linux as explained in this article in the Investors Business Daily. The authors predict that this deal could give Linux "a hot new beachhead with financial institutions". Cool!"
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NYSE Goes To Linux

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  • ...of Science Applications International Corporation.
  • SIAC is what you meant.
  • Hopefully someone competent will put the system into place. Otherwise, you can be sure that Microsoft will make sure everyone knows that Linux screwed up the stock market. It needs to be rock solid and as flawless as possible.
  • your investments are belong to us

  • by jammer 4 ( 34274 )
    Didn't these guys switch to NT a few years ago? Now their switching to linux. Hehe cool....
  • by ameoba ( 173803 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2001 @09:17AM (#2224974)
    Finally, a place for hackers at banks that doesn't involve maintaining 30yr old Cobol programs!
  • They sure as hell ain't using VALinux Hardware :)

  • IBM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by briggsb ( 217215 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2001 @09:19AM (#2224978)
    This illustrates the importance of having a big company behind Linux. Do you think RedHat or RMS could have convinced the SIAC to switch? Fraid not.

    Maybe they can put some code in there to boost some of the Linux stocks now...

    • Re:IBM (Score:3, Interesting)

      by quartz ( 64169 )
      "A" big company? I'm currently doing some work for a recruiting company mostly dealing with Wall Street giants, and every job description I've seen from them for tech jobs has Linux as a requirement (along with Perl/Java/Sybase etc.). They're all happily using Linux for their non-mission critical needs (which makes sense, since they have one UNIX or another running on the mission critical equipment), but, as someone once pointed out in a Slashdot article, they don't make a big fuss over it because they consider it a "competitive advantage".
    • New slogan?

      Linux the new OS/2!
    • As the old saying goes, "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM."

      Believe it or not, a lot of companies really think that way--and it's just another great thing that IBM is embracing Linux. We all should be thankful IBM is willing to make a profit off the open source movement. Lord knows someone needs to.

  • They can say whatever they want. Linux will bloom people!

    • They can say whatever they want. Linux will bloom people!

      Yes. But behind-the-scenes transaction handling has no connection to the desktop world. I am tired of seeing every article like "Home Depot to use Linux-driven cash registers" turned into a reason for zealotry.
  • A couple of years ago, we at the Portuguese Stock Exchange, started working with Linux. I don't know if it is still used. But it was meant to do a lot of work.
  • Nice to see that the people running the NYSE know how money works, and that linux is good value.

    • Remember, the stock market crash just took a big bite out of these folks' bottom lines. Management still wants to see an increase in profits. Two years ago their problem was keeping up with new growth; today, the name of the game is cutting costs.
  • By the way, this wouldn't happen to have anything to do with the semi-recent stock market crashes, reportedly due to NT? What was the final say on that stuff? Was it really NT?

    • by ptomblin ( 1378 ) <> on Tuesday August 28, 2001 @10:42AM (#2225316) Homepage Journal
      A few weeks ago our system (which handles 70% of all the trades sent to NASDAQ) accidentally sent too many position updates to NASDAQ, something like 200 per second for 20 seconds, and all on a test stock. Not that many, and well within the spec that NASDAQ tells us to stay within, but it crashed NASDAQ's Small Order Execution System (SOES) for all stocks for 20 minutes.

      NASDAQ was mad at us for sending so many positions, but it was really their fault for not being able to handle a volume of traffic that they publish that they can handle.

      I can't tell you if the part of NASDAQ that crashed is handled by their new NT stuff, or if it was the older Solaris and Tandem parts. But it makes me think that if the tech stock bubble hadn't burst when it did, NASDAQ would have quickly run out of steam and melted down under the shear pressure of increasing trading volumes.
  • progress (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Alien54 ( 180860 )
    Well it seems that Linux will continue to make progress while MS continues with FUDware.

    Especially since the Financial field uses alot of very custom made stuff, it is not like thay are just going to go with Access.

    The hidden advantadge is that people with access to money will now have first hand experience with Linux, and this will expose any lies in the marketing spin that is out there.

    - - -
    Radio Free Nation []
    is an independant news site based on Slash Code
    "If You have a Story, We have a Soap Box"
    - - -

  • SIAC not SAIC (Score:3, Interesting)

    by edwardd ( 127355 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2001 @09:24AM (#2225010) Journal
    NYSE is supported by SIAC, not SAIC. SAIC is "Science Applications International Corporation".

    With NYSE making this move, it's very likely that AMEX, NSCC & GSCC will eventually make this move as well, since they are all supported by SIAC.
    - Former SIAC consultant
  • Linux's strong debut on Wall Street is giving the software its biggest boost so far. Numbers of large companies and universities over the last two years have shifted their computer systems to the software developed by Finnish programing whiz Linus Torvalds.

    Does this mean that Linus does all his best coading on speed

  • I would be interested in seeing if IBM or someone else could convince people to convert over from Windows systems. For years it's been people going from Unix to Windows - going the other way would be the real trick.
  • I love IBM. They seem like they have their hooks into everything. This is wonderful press for for the linux community, as the NYSE is sacred to a lot of people. I have faith that the International Brotherhood of Machinists will do their best to make everything run smoothly.
  • I can understand why IBM and other companies are jumping on the band wagon, less depency on one company so that that company can't control the marketplace. As a consumer, that is not my reasonong. I just want something that won't crash and give me the stability that I want without being too bloated(if you configure LiNuX right, it won't be bloated.) It's a great idea and since no single company really owns Linux, it is extremely hard(not impossible) for one company to control the Linux marketplace. The more people we get to jump on the Band Wagon, the better we are off. More people will develop software for it which encourages growth by giving more of a reason to switch which increases demand and causes for software to be developed. If MSWord, Excel, etc. came onto Linux and had better printer support, more businesses would swith even if for the extra stability and better networked capabilities.
  • Congrats to IBM, but, this will get much more interesting when client software for traders and average investors (like my Dad) is available as part of a Linux desktop solution. Then masses can switch, not just a few institutions (not to minimize the import of this, but getting to the user's desktops is _my_ real concern). This is a critical piece of the desktop stranglehold microsoft has at this time.
  • by Thomas M Hughes ( 463951 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2001 @09:31AM (#2225030)
    Graham says SIAC converted to Linux quickly because of the software's open, flexible nature. "We were able to port our Artmail application in about two-and-a-half days," Graham said.

    I would speculate they weren't running NT before if it was that easy to port their software over. So this takes a chunk out of the proprietary Unix market, sure, but if we were to consider this a Zero Sum game, Unix loses, Linux gains, Microsoft doesn't change a thing.

    Now granted, other Unix shops might now say 'Well, if the NYSE does it, we can do it too!' But the Microsoft market won't feel any pressure from this until there is a similar porting comment when coming from a Windows shop.
    • but if we were to consider this a Zero Sum game, Unix loses, Linux gains, Microsoft doesn't change a thing.
      I thought the whole point of linux was the create a better, Free OS. Not to hurt other OSs. Sure, this doesn't hurt windows, but who cares? Linux is here for Linux's sake, not to crush all other choices. With that in mind this is deffinitly a win.
      • I keep hearing this argument again and again !

        What we want Linux to prosper, to have more software, more hardware supported, more jobs for Linux enthusiasts, more money to be spend in it's development; and for this to happen Linux needs to eats other OS market share. If only 1% of the server was running Linux (just a supposition) who will take notice of it ? who will port software ? who test it's hardware with Linux ?

        Yes we all know that Linux will never go away !even if it's market penetration dropped under 1% for all the reasons we all know, but then it will just an OS for hobbyists, and we don't want that to happen.
    • by bockman ( 104837 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2001 @10:01AM (#2225163)
      I would speculate they weren't running NT before if it was that easy to port their software over.

      They where using Solaris on SUN HW (it is said somewhere else in the article ).

      Yes, they are replacing expensive UNIX machines with less expensive(?) Linux boxes, plus a bunch of proprietary software (Tivoli is mentioned), plus an IBM mainframe (also mentioned in the article) presumably running IBM mainframe OS (can't remember the name) with mayby Linus as 'Virtual OS' of each 'Virtual Machine'.

      It is interesting that IBM did not propose their own version of Unix. Maybe it is true that they are dropping it in favor of Linux. Or maybe it is because AIX does not run on Intel CPU (or it does?) and would have made the deal much more expensive.

      Surely they have managed to badly hit SUN, both on money and on PR level. En passant, they have managed to promote Linux as a valid (and most of all cheap) platform on which build proprietary solutions. One could hope that other UNIX vendors (including SUN itself) follows and that Linux can become really the 'Unix Defragmentation Tool'. It would be something, at least.

      • As an economic issue, it's not surprising at all. There is a maximum price IBM can charge for the systrem. If they can replace a commodity function (the OS) with a less expensive version, it translates directly into more profits.

        THe OS is not a competitive edge here; it's Tivoli and the custome software. IBM is much better off giving up its maintenance and development costs--and htis holds even if AIX is moderately superior to Linux for the task at hand.

        hawk, economist

      • Sun's gotta love it in the long run. I never had trouble talking to Sun boxes with Linux. Using MS junk was a nightmare. Credibility there brings the Linux desktop that much closer to me here.
    • by regen ( 124808 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2001 @10:29AM (#2225270) Homepage Journal
      I would speculate they weren't running NT before if it was that easy to port their software over. So this takes a chunk out of the proprietary Unix market, sure, but if we were to consider this a Zero Sum game, Unix loses, Linux gains, Microsoft doesn't change a thing.

      I was the network engineer for the artmail project. The orignal version of artmail was running on a Sun Ultra 5 and Solaris. It didn't take more that a few days for a summer intern to actually write the artmail application. The whole project had a very small budget, the machine was a extra order for a different project and the network was sort of tacked onto another network.

      The actual push for Linux on the SDC (Shared Data Center) mainframe (not the NYSE mainframe, it is not an IBM) came from the Network System Engineer in the mainframe group.

      He had set up an LPAR running Linux about a year and a half ago, so that he could server test pages from Apache.

      The SDC is primarily used by NSCC, National Security Clearing Corp and a few applications from NYSE, but the NYSE trading system are running on Tandem systems. Only one NYSE application involving option trading is actually run on IBM mainframes.

    • They were running Solaris before, but that doesn't necessarily mean Linux hurt Solaris here. It may mean that they were getting rid of Solaris anyway, and switched to Linux instead of Windows.
    • Still a blow for MS (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ami Ganguli ( 921 )

      Sure Linux is seriously eating into proprietary Unix market share, but think about it a little more carefully. These guys are looking for something that's cheaper and easier to deploy than the Sun boxes they're currently using. Without Linux, the only choices are 1)eat the costs and stick with Unix, 2)port to Windows (also at considerable expense).

      The breadth of offerings available for Linux (cheap 1U boxes, Mainframe LPARS, massive servers) make it a natural choice for people who might otherwise leave the Unix world altogether. It's easy to port from Unix to Linux, and you can run your app. on any hardware imaginable.

    • Don't kid yourself (Score:5, Insightful)

      by blakestah ( 91866 ) <> on Tuesday August 28, 2001 @11:40AM (#2225558) Homepage
      Don't think for a second that MS execs' stomachs are not turning over about this deal.

      This is a key financial services application, and opens the door for acceptance of linux in key financial markets. Microsoft was going to undersell and overmarket traditional UNIX vendors and eat into the server market. Once their foot was in the door, extend and embrace.

      Guess what - the markets grow from the bottom. It happened with DOS against MacOS. It happened with Windows95 against OS/2. It happened with NT against Unix. And now it is happening with linux against Windows.

      This could have been a HUGE win for Microsoft. Instead, it is another notch in IBM's belt, and a huge boost for linux in the perception of CTOs. Microsoft can't buy that kind of publicity.
      • Microsoft can't buy that kind of publicity.

        They can try! Just look at Hotmail. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

    • So this takes a chunk out of the proprietary Unix market, sure, but if we were to consider this a Zero Sum game, Unix loses, Linux gains, Microsoft doesn't change a thing.

      This definitely changes things. No one with a three-digit IQ would ever claim that Solaris, for example, is not robust enough for commercial work. Even Microsoft, in all of its arrogance, has not said that (though they have tried to proclaim that NT was superior). But there have been many naysayers when it comes to Linux as a viable option for commercial deployment.

      If this is successful, it will show that Microsoft's portrayal of Linux as a toy for geeks was both unfounded and unfair. If the NYSE relies on Linux, the pro-Microsoft factions in corporate IS departments will be unable to make convincing arguments that Linux poses a threat to network security or stability. It will show beyond any reasonable doubt that Linux scales, implements robust security, and can be deployed and maintained in a demanding environment.

    • It doesn't matter what OS they were using. Every time Linux gets a high profile implementation two things happen. First of all, that's one less implementation that Microsoft gets. Microsoft needs software sales to survive, and they need growth to keep their stock price high. In this respect Microsoft even is competing with old versions of their own software. If everyone decided to stick with Windows NT Microsoft would be just as screwed as if everyone decided to switch to Linux. Second, Linux gets a huge pile of publicity. Linux is always going to be a less expensive solution than any of Microsoft's OSes. The one advantage that Microsoft has is that they have an extremely large marketing budget. However, the best form of marketing is still word of mouth. If Linux continues to rack up impressive implementations Microsoft shops will start to wonder why it is that they are paying for their software.

      The fact of the matter is that despite what IBM, Sun, and HP will tell you the "enterprise" market is not really where the interesting stuff happens in the technology world. The truly interesting stuff generally starts at the bottom of the technology chain and works its way upwards. That's how Windows got into the enterprise, and Linux is doing the same thing.

      • Most shops aren't interested in buying OSs, they're interested in getting a job done. Notice that in this deal, there's an open-source OS, but all the interesting stuff is happening in proprietary software running on top.

        Your basic small shop can't afford to have IBM develop a custom solution for them atop Linux. But they can afford SQL Server!

        Red Hat understands this, and as much as I dislike their Linux distribution, I think they're the only Linux company that is really tackling Microsoft on the small-business front.
  • I guess it becomes interesting now that one of the nation's largest financial institutions is running on free software. I think this is going to make a very powerful case for open source software in both small and large businesses, and even in market places where big money is traded. It means that finally the big guys are beginning to realize that stability and reliability are more important than unstable fads and fuds. (note my pathetic pun).

    Oh yes, for the sake of redundancy, I will repeat that earlier post: All your investments are belong to us!
  • by wiredog ( 43288 )
    Science Applications International Corporation [] is not siac []. SAIC is much spookier. You need a hairy security clearance for much of the stuff they do.
    • hey dude, we're not spooky. we're good peoples :)

      now, you *do* need a security clearance for a lot of shit we do... but i'd venture to say that we're actually much cleaner than most other defense contractors out there (and we're not all defense anymore! only like 40% of our business comes from the government).

      • Didn't you used to do alot of stuff for CIA and NSA? Or am I thinking of PRC?

        I work for a DOD contractor [] (hooray! A dod contractor during a republican administration!) myself, that clearance does make me much more employable.

        • i personally do a lot of work on a contract for disa []. saic has done so much stuff in the past... i myself am not aware of any work we've done for the cia or nsa, but it wouldn't surprise me either.

          people seem to think that defense contractors are doing all this evil, secret stuff. man, i wish it was that exciting :) if we were doing stuff for nsa or cia, it was probably the boring shit that they didn't want to do themselves.

          yes, the clearance is very very handy. and at only 20 years old, i didn't have to fill out nearly as much paperwork...

          • I'm 36 and have a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Makes for lots of paperwork. If you're honest on the paperwork there's no problem getting the clearance.

            We do lots of stuff for DMSO. Not evil, or particularly secret, but it is fun. Getting data that's been saved in a zillion formats over the years converted to XML and stored in oracle dbs and allowing web access to that same data. We're so buzzword compliant it's painful.

            • heh. 20. never done drugs. don't drink alcohol. biggest pain in the ass is listing people i knew at every place i've lived.

              one thing you definitely don't want to do is lie. had a friend, wanted to join the marines... filled out that he had a clean record, even though he'd been marked as an accomplice in stealing a car (he didn't steal it - rode in it and knew it was stolen, though) - i was like "they're the fucking U.S. government - they're gonna know!" - needless to say, they did :) definitely need to tell the truth. they need people they can trust more than anything...

              i don't know how long i could do stuff like reformatting data. i just got done a big project that included a lot of patches to solaris 2.5.1, and they needed to have the special installation instructions for relevant patches formatted a special way... that was a damn boring day :)

              • I came from a job in industrial automation. Wrote custom device drivers for 82c55 chipsets, ADC/DAC cards, things like that. Now I'm doing (takes deep breath) [buzzword compliance alert] custom b2b and b2c XML enabled web applications with oracle databases and portal servers for government and private industry contracts using C++, Perl, and Python on multiple platforms. [end buzzword compliance] So I've gone from twiddling bits and machine code programming to doing XML and database applications.
                • i made pizzas at pizza hut. doesn't get much worse than that :)
  • A tech industry on its knees.

    Investors wiping dot-com bubble remains from their faces.

    Linux IPOs failing, bankruptcies in the offing.

    "The NYSE moves to Linux."

    The irony is palpable. []

  • FUDproof!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mshiltonj ( 220311 )
    From the article:

    "Stock trades are one of the most sensitive, secure and important kinds of transactions that exist,? said John Patrick, vice president of Internet technology at IBM. ?This deal has removed any doubt that Linux is ready for the mainstream and that it can play a major role in electronic businesses of all kinds and sizes."

    This is not something I was expecting. Wonderful news! Linux can no longer be dismissed as a 'hacker' or 'hobby' operating system. It's industrial-strength!

    LUSER: "You use Linux? I read in Micosoft Press Release Daily that it's not a real operating system, it's not reliable ...."

    ME: "Yeah, well, IBM and the NYSE doesn't think so. You're fund manager trades your stocks over a linux-based network."

    Where does MS go from there?

  • Here's a nit to pick (Score:2, Informative)

    by agutier ( 471583 )
    Will Linux be Wall Street's next killer app?

    Isn't it the other way around?
  • by kootch ( 81702 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2001 @09:53AM (#2225126) Homepage
    WAY too many financial institutions use M$ languages and OS's for their internal users... like customer support and other operations centers. VB applications abound...

    I've found that the best way to get companies to move away from M$ programming languages is to suggest the portability and standardization and other benefits that occur when you start making your apps available through a web interface. Then, as the developer on that project, keep everything as cross-platform, cross-browser as possible. Once the frontend/interface doesn't require a M$ language to support it, there becomes less of a reason to stay on the architecture.

    In addition, this approach is becoming much more successful since EVERYONE is trying to cut costs... and what's a better way to cut costs then eliminate the need for costly M$ licenses?
    • This switch probably as 1% to do with Microsoft software. The exchanges are run on Solaris machines. While solaris/sun hardware WAS expensive this appears to be a waiste of resources and time.

      For one the TCO of solaris media/operating system is 0 - you can download from, much like linux is 0.

      Hardware market is so cutthroat that a Sun server doesn't cost anymore then an X86 based counterpart.

      so whats the big deal? a migration to open source platform? You can download the source to solaris.

    • The hard part of that plan is keeping the project cross-platform and cross-browser. You'll run headlong into weenies that want to write for IE only. And in a perverse way, they have a point-- certainly is easier to write for only one browser. Not that I agree, of course. What would be interesting, though, is to try to document how different things break depending on which version of IE you're running. Then the argument can be made that if you're already going to have to write your web interface to work on all these versions of IE, you might as well make it fully cross-browser while you're at it.
  • I used to work at a small mutual fund company where the network admin got to deal with SIAC for a project. It seemed as if they were a big mainframe shop and the network admin ended up creating a translation dictionary between industry terms and SIAC terms. Let's say (not accurate for obvious NDA reasons), they would say something like street and ths would mean to us ethernet cable.

    It was fun working with them. Once we had that translation dictionary sorted out we fully understood what they were telling us.

    But more to my main point, is that I'm happy to hear they're going to use Linux, but most financial institutions would run linux anyway. Mainly due to admins with tiny budgets. Like I was given 6 grand to put up a development database server. No way I could afford licenses of Sybase for a Sun box that would cost me that much (even though I would have preferred Solaris), I wound up getting a dual processor VA Linux Systems box and then downloaded Sybase Adaptive Server for Linux (license is free for development use). So I got a pretty nice performance development database box and didn't go over budget.

    Needless to say when I left working at the mutual fund company they had more linux systems than HP 9000's or Sun Ultra Enterprise's put together. Granted I met with a ton of resistance to put the first linux box into place, but then management got used to being able to do stuff on the cheap, so more low budget projects kept creeping up, which meant more linux boxes to do the work.
  • It's going to be interesting to see if IBM can get Linux to work on the computers that run the New York Stock Exchange.

    This by the far the ultimate test of Linux itself in a commercial environment, given that NYSE share volumes run into the billions of shares traded per day. I wonder will the 2.4.x kernel be ready to handle this massive load, one that used to be handled by proprietary UNIX variants and IBM's MV/MVS.
  • I remember 15 years ago, while still working with a Wall Street firm. I was visiting a programming friend at another shop, who amazed me with some wild stuff he was doing on a Sun. I asked him, did he think that the industry (we didn't use hip terms like "the street") would shed the IBMs mains and VAXen minis for a Unix-based platform. He turned to the screen and ran features on his creation that we only dreamed of on these other systems. Alarms, alerts, graphics, etc ... stuff that even PDAs can do now.

    Now, well away from Wall Street, and away from the buzz, I wonder how many back rooms are filled with geek projects running on Linux, the same way they were being hacked out on Suns 15 years ago ? If it is what I suspect it might be, then Mr.Gates has a problem that can't be factored with FUD.

    As I recall, it was financial apps like VisCalc and Lotus 1-2-3 that greatly aided the PC revolution. Likewise, as business men and women endured dragging sowing machine size luggables around airports, the portable industry grew.

    Could it be that an operating system, such as Linux, and all that it offers in frugality and flexibility, is indeed the killer app ? If so,
    how ironic that it appears that big-business may be aiding of all things, the Open Source movement.
    • Likewise, as business men and women endured dragging sowing machine size luggables around airports, the portable industry grew.

      No doubt, once we got them smaller than a John Deere disc plow, the portable industry really took off. ;)

  • I think with the publically recognized adoption of Linux for large, mission critical systems, Microsoft may well face it's Vietnam. The fact is that financial institutions and stock traders are amongst the most risk averse crowd there is (in terms of IT/infrastructure decsions). If Linux has come far enough to win over wall street firms for high volume trading systems, it spells trouble for MSFT (and the other high-end proprietary UNIX vendors (who IMHO have other problems of their own)) simply because the choice for a server architecture doesn't default to Windows vs big Unix anymore.

    The bad part of this is that it took MSFT 20+ years to get where they are; it will probably take another 20+ years for them to be relegated to insignificance (in terms of their influence on the market).

    However, it's announcements like this which show that major institutions are now beginning to see past the FUD of 'not proven', 'no support', 'not scalable' and 'not stable'. Of course, there will still be myriads of clueless CIOs who believe the FUD, but it's data points like this one which will play a role in converting even this crowd. After all, (we all know) Linux is stable and you can't really beat the price. It's funny/ironic though that by time Linux became viable, MSFT for the first time in 20+ years actually got their act together and produced a reasonably stable system (Win2K). If guess competition is good for something after all ...

  • does running the stock exchange data equal world domination?

    it's a happy day for the penguins!!
    desktops/pda' we come.

  • Linux seems mired in two markets: High-end, heavy-metal processing, and the geek crowd. It doesn't show up in the middle very much.

    Where is Linux in vertical business markets? Where are the integrators? Where is the market for business-oriented components? If such markets exist for Linux, they aren't very prominent.

    Let's put it another way: Look on Freshmeat for "point of sale" and "MP3 player". Guess which one has four hits, and which one has more than a hundred? Guess which type of software is more relevant to business?

    Linux scales small (older PCs, personal workstations) or large (Beowulf clusters, High-Performance Computing), but it seems to be missing something in the middle ground where most business resides.

    That fact makes it very difficult to convince business-oriented companies to support Linux. Beyond the fact that Linux users believe everything should be "free" as in beer, there isn't sufficient support for vertical market development. Integrators build software from components, usually with VB or Delphi under Windows. Where is the component market for Linux? For that matter, where is a common, well-supported, universal component architecture for the penguin? Heck, I still haven't found a Linux installation system that is friendly to non-geeks.

    The question is: Does Linux want to cater to the middle ground, to business and "normal" folk? Or should Linux stay where it is strong, leaving the middle to Mr. Gates and his minions?

    • by hatless ( 8275 )
      It's not a matter of "big iron" and "geek desktops". It's about servers. The reason you don't see point-of-sale systems on Linux is that Linux--like any Unix--is still a relatively awkward choice for standalone and small-network desktop use. It's easy enough to get running for one-off engineering workstations and for hundreds or thousands of X terminals, but the cost savings and overall benefits of a Unix just aren't there for those 5-100 seat mixed-use installations found in most desktop environments.

      Want a stable, non-windowed PC-based cash register? Linux gives you nothing you can't get with DOS, Netware or OS/2-based systems. There's little reason for vendors to port, and the application is so narrow that Linux offers nothing but a savings on OS licenses, which are insignificant to the cost of a 5-station point-of-sale system.

      Running a small- to mid-sized office? Linux is a decent way to save on servers, and many companies do so, buying mail and file-sharing appliances like Cobalt Qubes, or IBM's Small Business Server software bundle, which gives small but ambitious companies a nicely priced bundle of DB2, Domino and Websphere. Still others bring on the accountant's nephew to set up a Samba server or two. But on the desktop? Unix and Linux office suites are mediocre at best, the best being slower and more memory-hungry than MS Office. And you can be the one to tell the senior managers how good Linux is the tenth time they can't properly open an MS Office file that was mailed to them.

      Where Linux is taking over the world is on servers, and now it's not just the usual HTTP, Samba, DNS and SMTP services. In the past year, with good 1.3.x JVMs from Sun and IBM, Linux is now on par with any other platform, dollar for dollar, for running J2EE application servers.

      If you're running clusters of Weblogic, Websphere or other EJB/servlet/JSP engines (Tomcat, JRun, EJBoss, etc.), there's simply no longer any technical reason to do it on Solaris, HPUX, Win2K or AIX. If you have a decent JVM (as Linux has) and decent networking and memory management (as Linux has, especially with 2.4), that's all that really matters. Why pay $700, $3000 or more on OS licenses and OS support per machine for something that you just want to (1) stay up and (2) run a Java app server or one or more of its support systems like a message queue?

      Moreover, the move to journaling filesystems and better support for external storage, and the availability of many mainstream commercial-grade backup and system management tools means Linux is also a perfectly good way to run all those 1-4 CPU database servers. Oracle and DB2 on Linux aren't going to eat into the Sun E10000's turf or IBM's OS/400 and System/390 spaces just yet, but all those databases running on 1U-5U rack equipment with storage in the .5TB range can run on Linux now. And that's a lot of databases.

      Add to that the fact that Linux has become (officially or not) the reference platform for a lot of Unix software, and the reference x86 Unix for many others (see Sybase) and Linux looks poised to eat not just the low end but also the middle of the server market.

      The success of server-side Java has a lot to do with this. Right now, the overwhelming share of new server-side development is being done either with the MS platform (ASP, MTS, COM and the early bits of .NET) or with Java. And since that Java code really does move--unmodified--from Windows developer workstations to staging servers and production boxes that can be running any of a good dozen OSes on hardware going all the way up to mainframes, with application servers that are increasingly interoperable and interchangeable, Java's looking pretty good.
    • Mid range?

      Look to Java. There are J2EE implementations that run fine on Linux.

      A lot of linux server rollouts these days are really Java rollouts. Java Beans are the component architecture, the component market is made up of Java Bean vendors.

      You can get Beans that do anything from embedded 360-degree picture viewers to transactional EJBs for talking to mainframe datastores.

      That's what MS is afraid of. Linux + Java leaves no room for them in the mid-range, since Java already does now what MS say .NET may one day do.

      If your last experience of Java was the MS 1.1 JVM running some crappy applet in IE, I recommend you check out an up-to-date Java VM, such as IBM's 1.3 or Sun's 1.4 beta, both available on Linux. Also try the netbeans/forte development environment - It's very nice.
  • 2 birds, 1 stone (Score:4, Insightful)

    by beanerspace ( 443710 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2001 @10:31AM (#2225278) Homepage
    Just an errant thought as I read the article. Could it be the old giant, IBM has shown us some of the blue-fu that has kept this company around near or on the top for so many years ? For example:

    Bird 1 - undercutting Sun high-end
    "SIAC's Artmail applications previously ran on Sun Microsystems Inc. servers that used Unix. But they will now run on IBM Linux servers linked to an IBM mainframe system."

    IBM's girthieness has been a liability in the past. Not so much for the hardware itself; though expensive. Rather, much of the rub has been on the expense and limitations of its operating system, as anyone using MVS will attest. Linux literally flips that around against it's competitors, forcing companies such as Sun's high-end to compete chip-to-chip with IBM's mid to low end iron.

    Stone 2 - Microsoft's cost of Open Source argument
    "Though basic Linux software is free, IBM makes money by selling the middleware that links Linux with existing software and computer systems at places like SIAC. It also makes money by selling Linux servers and services for Linux-based systems."

    Here IBM parlays one of its biggest, and most enduring strengths ... selling services. Let's face it, there's not much in the way of COTS [] that Microsoft can FUD with when it comes to Wall Streeters, and their propensity to roll and re-roll their own apps.

    Kudos to someone where at Itty Bitty Machines for figuring this one out.
  • To those of you who say "Its replacing Solaris - big deal" It IS a big deal. Having such a well known institution go with Linux and not a Windows SERVER solution is huge. The publicity alone is a goldmine.

    To those of you who say - 'Big deal, they still use Windows on teh desktop' Heh - Desktop OS sales do not have huge profit margins - OEMs & large companies get huge discounts. Microsoft needs to rule the backend because server software margins are much higher. SO this IS a hit to them. A potential conversion from *nix to MS hurts them. Sure, in this case one Unix replaces another, but MS still loses a potential slient for lots and lots of server licenses.

  • Well.. all I can say about this is that we think that financial people are idiots... that is until they adopt our software, and then they're smart, savy business people.

    I think they're still idiots, but they've made a lucky choice or a good choice through council.

    Hey.. these are the same guys that judge the entire Internet based on and
  • NASDAQ is a Windows shop [], mainly in order to keep MS from deserting for the NYSE: reportedly the NYSE has the symbol "M" reserved for Microsoft, should they ever get itchy feet.

    MS in turn uses Nasdaq (and Dell, and several other captive "friends") as examples of "large enterprises that chose Windows as their strategic OS". It makes you almost feel sorry for Nasdaq. Well... for their sysadmins, anyway.

    • >NASDAQ is a Windows shop [],
      >mainly in order to keep MS from deserting for
      >the NYSE: reportedly the NYSE has the symbol
      >"M" reserved for Microsoft, should they ever
      > get itchy feet.

      This sounds like an enormous conflict of interest to me. At the very least, a
      delicious opportunity for a conflict of interest to develop.

  • I think you guys need to read this again. NYSE does not run on Linux. A messaging system that connects to NYSE and advises external parties of trades runs on Linux. Apparently the core systems are still running... whatever it is they used to run.

    Still a big deal for Linux, but you can't really say NYSE runs on Linux. You could say that PART of NYSE runs on Linux.
  • Uh oh (Score:2, Funny)

    by evilviper ( 135110 )
    Look, the Microsoft stock prices are dropping to 0. Oh well, must be a bug in the system. INSERT EVIL LAUGH HERE
  • For anyone who wasn't fortunate enough to attend the annual Usenix Technichal Conference for 2001, the keynote address was (brilliantly) delivered by Daniel D. Frye, Director of the IBM Linux Technology Center. In the talk, and the following Q&A, he made it explicitly clear that IBM's position on Linux was that it would be ready for the 24/7 no-downtime, mission-critical environment (like the financial sector), soon, but that it wasn't yet. The indication was something like 5 years or so, and the conference was 2 months ago.

    I wonder what changed IBM's position so quickly?

  • From the article:
    Patrick says a strong point of Linux software is that data on a stock transaction is relayed from one party to another without interference
    Please tell me, what's so unique about Linux software that NO OTHER software is able to do this? And what has this to do with 'linux' especially? If DB2 does the transaction processing controlled by f.e. tuxedo, what does that have to do with Linux? Nothing, you can run these systems on any OS supported by these applications.

    From the article:
    "The (Linux system) offers users the ability to crawl onto the reliability and shared resources of the IBM mainframe," Graham.
    So, what is this mainframe doing here? The whole setup isn't running TOTALLY on Linux, it still needs a phat Mainframe to run, hell, to work efficiently. So tell me, where is the big shift to Linux in this picture?
  • Now maybe everyone can shut up about whether Linux is "enterprise-ready." I don't think you get much more Enterprise-class than this. Not only is it a massive volume of data, but it's highly sensative data. In the case of the NYSE, much of our economy is based around the day-to-day functioning of these systems.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982