Desktop Linux is almost soup. We only have a few items left on the short list. Will we do it? If history is an indicator, the answer is yes.

I remember the major turning point that took Linux from an OS that Microsoft used to call competition during their anti-trust case to a serious commercial operating system. At the time, Linux users numbered two million and Microsoft users numbered 300 million. I used to say Linux makes more news than anything else and I owned a Linux company.

In April 1999, D.H. Brown Associates, Inc. published a report called Linux: How Good Is It? Hardly any archives exist today mentioning that story with the possible exception of this C/Net News article.

The study dinged Linux for lacking features needed to make it a serious consideration as an operating system. The report said that Linux was good for file and print servers, Web servers, some scientific computing, and thin client computers. But, the DH Brown report said Linux lacked support for computers with multiple processors; failover and a "journaling" file system needed to reboot a crashed machine without having to reconstruct the system files.

I attended a briefing on the report by Linux International and learned that the kernel developers started addressing the issues before the report's official release. As we know now, the open source community responded rapidly and the Linux server has taken a commanding share of the server market. The DH Brown report became the Linux server roadmap placing it among elite operating systems.

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