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NEC exec disses Linux

Will never rival Windows, claims company VP

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NEC senior VP Kazuhiko Kobayashi didn't win himself any friends in the open source community when he recently claimed that, to all intents and purposes, Linux hasn't a hope of catching up with Windows in key corporate-oriented applications.

"Linux servers have become the focus of attention in the market, but they can't enter the arena of applications servers, database servers and others, where the Windows OS is playing a key role," he said, according to a Nikkei newswire report.

NEC is, of course, a major proponent of Linux in the Japanese market.

In fact, Kobayashi's comments perhaps aren't as negative as they might at first seem. They're actually a call for a greater level of standardisation in the Linux arena - not so very far from the concerns expressed by those observers who fear the Unix-like fragmentation of Linux.

"It's convenient to use the term Linux, but such distributions are abundantly available from different sources," he said. "This means that makers of Linux-version software must perform validation testing on each distribution of Linux, including Red Hat Linux, TurboLinux and Miracle Linux, which is expensive. In contrast, a software product corresponding to Windows needs such testing only once."

Is there a role, then, for the open source OS? "Linux can show its true colors when used as a front end of an information system, such as an Internet server," said Kobayashi. "But, in this case, it has another rival, the real-time OS implemented in telecommunications equipment provided by Cisco Systems Inc.

"Anyway, Linux may have many chances to show its true merits with published source codes and ease of customisation." ®

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