November 5, 2001

Review of Linux shows gap with Unix narrowing

Author: JT Smith

Monica Ortiz writes: "Berkeley, CA -- November 1, 2001 -- Linux operating system scalability and robustness are quickly catching up to the conventional UNIX systems according to a recent study being presented next week at the Annual Linux Showcase & Conference (ALS 2001) in Oakland, California.The Linux Function Review, published in late September by leading technology assessment firm D. H. Brown Associates (DHBA), shows that the strongest of Linux distributions have surpassed the weakest UNIX systems in scalability and robustness. Although UNIX operating systems remain the standard for enterprise level computing systems, Linux distributions do not fall far behind as they increase the capability of their bundled network infrastructure software and improve directory and security services.

"In previous evaluations, Linux made a good fit with certain key applications such as entry file-and-print sharing or web servers," said Tony Iams, DHBA Vice President of Systems Software Research, who is presented the findings at ALS 2001. "The growth of its functional capabilities, based on the 2.4 kernel, expand the range of suitable deployment to include a broad range of departmental and workgroup applications."

The evaluation utilized over a hundred functional categories to compare five major commercial Linux distributions -- Caldera eServer 3.1, Debian GNU/Linux 2.2, Red Hat Linux 7.1, SuSE Linux 7.2, and TurboLinux Server 6.5 -- against Caldera UnixWare 7.1, Compaq Tru64 UNIX 5.1, IBM AIX 5L v5.1, Hewlett-Packard HP-UX 11I, and Sun Solaris 8.

"D. H. Brown is a technical analyst firm of the highest reputation and competence. They have developed a model for operating system analysis that is without peer and Tony (Iams) is their expert on UNIX and Linux operating systems," said Jon "maddog" Hall, USENIX Director and ALS 2001 Invited Talks Program Chair. "By exposing both the strong and weak parts of Linux as compared to commercial systems, developers become aware of which parts of Linux they need to improve and how much the user community values the planned enhancements."

The review is a match with the conference's objective of providing Linux professionals with a highly technical and cogent research sought after by leading computer companies.

"Technical, accurate, unbiased information is vital in deciding whether Linux is capable of supporting the type of computing that companies are currently doing with more expensive, proprietary, and closed-source UNIX system," said Hall. "These are exactly the kind of studies, from exactly the kind of analyst company, that companies like Sun, Compaq, and IBM drive future engineering plans. Presenting this kind of research is what ALS was formed for."

"A Competitive Assessment of Linux in the Enterprise" will be presented by Tony Iams on Friday, November 9, 2001 at the Oakland Marriott Hotel. Registration for ALS 2001 is free of charge and available on-site starting Monday, November 5, 2001. A full conference program is available online at


The 5th Annual Linux Showcase and Conference
November 5-10, 2001
Oakland Marriott City Center
Oakland, California

About the USENIX Association
USENIX is the Advanced Computing Systems Association. For over 25 years, it has been the leading community for engineers, system administrators, scientists, and technician working on the cutting edge of the computing world. USENIX conferences are the essential meeting grounds for the presentation and discussion of technical advances in all aspects of computing systems. For more information about the USENIX Association, visit

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