Wharton on Linux

Knowledge@Wharton writes:

Whartons Kogut, who has written extensively on Linux, says he believes that Linux will slowly make inroads into the PC market, but that Linuxs real impact will be in large organizations that use servers. As for the consumer market, lets see how many more applications they can run on Linux before making a judgment about how widespread Linux use will be, Kogut says. Well see more applications to run on Linux, and thats what consumers want. But theres something else going on thats interesting. Some governments around the world are saying theyre tired of paying fees to Microsoft and are considering moving to Linux. I also think well see Linux being used in areas we dont normally think of, such as mobile telephones, smart cards and personal digital assistants, or PDAs.

Murcko the Apache Software Foundation member, who also has done work for IBM says Linux may become more of a household name in the desktop market in two to five years. Its only a matter of time. Dell and Gateway two or three years ago started offering Linux as alternative installs. I suspect if you went to Dell or Gateway and asked for the percentage of people ordering Linux, it may be 1% or 2%. But the crack is there. Its the hole in the dyke. Its a matter of waiting for Linux to be easy to use on the desktop.

The real big opportunity for Linux is in emerging markets – both on the desktop and the server. Linux can become the base for the IT architecture for SMEs in the developing countries.

Cisco’s Chambers on Tech’s Future

From a Fortune article entitled Finding a Silver Lining in the Tech Bust:

What tech manufacturers need is the same thing that made them powerful in the first place: a new technology that corporate America believes it can’t do without. That was true of the PC in the 1980s, and it was true of networking and the Internet in the 1990s.

What will that technology be? If you want the big picture, it still makes sense to listen to Cisco’s Chambers. Last month, in a speech at a Bank of America conference in San Francisco, he explained that we are far from seeing the potential of all the equipment bought and advances made during the boom. For all companies’ bluster about outsourcing arrangements, Net-based streamlining, and virtual supply chains, there’s still much to do. Throughout corporate America, files are sitting undigitized and forms have yet to go online. Once all that becomes available on private and public webs, Chambers told his audience, it will create a fluidity of information that will profoundly change business.

If the thinkers like Chambers are right, the meaning of the word “corporation” will change. Armed with the flexibility of moving and sharing information instantaneously with whomever they choose, companies will slim down to focus on doing one thing well, say designing computer chips, and outsource everything else from payroll and accounting to manufacturing and distribution. “It will be the most fundamental change to business since the assembly line,” Chambers says. “It’s amazing to me how many businesspeople around the world tell me ‘that’s exactly where we are going to go.’ ”

AMD in China

A WSJ story on how AMD plans to work with China Basic Education Software Co. to develop computers for China’s 200+ million students:

The schools’ systems could contain three kinds of AMD chips — microprocessors, data-storage chips known as flash memory, and embedded processors, according to AMD.

Dan Pickens, an AMD spokesman, said China has mandated online access for all schools by 2010. The venture, he added, should secure AMD’s position as a “preferred provider” in the Chinese market and build a brand image in schools.

Mr. Pickens estimated that AMD chips are used in 29% of the personal computers in China that use Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system.

What Next for Linux

Slashdot has a discussion on the future of Linux.

I think Linux needs to focus on being able to run Windows applications. Wine is not good enough, while some of the others cost a lot of money. What’s needed is for work to be done on Wine to make it “perfect”. This is critical for Linux to make inroads into enterprises in emerging markets.

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Asian News Network

WSJ writes about “an alliance of 11 newspapers from Japan to Pakistan announced the launch of an online newspaper designed to provide readers with an Asian perspective of the region that would serve as an alternative to Western media organizations.”

The Asia News Network founding members are:
China – China Daily, Beijing and Hong Kong editions
India – The Statesman
Indonesia – The Jakarta Post
Japan – Daily Yomiuri
Malaysia – Sin Chew Daily,The Star
Philippines – The Daily Inquirer
Singapore – The Straits Times
South Korea – The Korea Herald
Thailand – The Nation
Vietnam – Viet Nam News

Enterprise IM

Writes Jon Udell (InfoWorld):

Typically regarded as a consumer-oriented text chat tool, instant messaging, as well as presence-awareness technology, are making strong inroads into enterprises, emerging as critical collaboration and productivity tools.

“What started out as a tactical application is being developed and nurtured by companies like IBM and Microsoft to have both a collaborative and productive benefit as an application, but further being baked into applications through the platform and standards,” said Dana Gardner, research director at Aberdeen Group in Boston.

The strategic goal is to make real-time collaborative activities seamless to business processes, application activities, and consumers and partners on the supply chain, Gardner said.

There’s also a sidebar on Jabber.

Yahoo recently launched its corporate IM service.

XML Problems

On News.com:

Even though XML is a lingua franca, the price of its expedience has become complexity and inefficiency. Chief information officers are encountering layers upon layers of XML data generated by multiple platforms through myriad applications. Companies may be sitting on a goldmine of XML services and be unaware of it. They may also be sitting on potential problems.

For instance, XML standards themselves are creating heterogeneity. A simple XML message might contain three to five “namespaces” from three to five different standards. (A namespace is like a digital snapshot–a picture of an XML standard taken at a single point in time and displaying unique context.) The message alone may be complex enough, but competing standards, versioning and styling choices further complicate it.

And because XML messages emanate from application code, the cost of retrofitting poorly designed XML usually includes a rewrite of a significant portion of an application. It’s much more cost-effective to get it right the first time.

TECH TALK: Technology’s Next Markets: India as Proxy

The world of technology as seen from one of its developing markets like India appears very different. Here’s a glimpse:

  • A computer costs double that of the per capita annual income.
  • There are only 7 computers and 35 phones for every 1000 people.
  • Only 1 in every 100 people has access to the largely English Internet.
  • Dial-up Internet access costs more than 70 cents (Rs 30) per hour, thanks to local call costs.
  • In a world that talks broadband, it is tough to even get quality narrowband connections. The bandwidth that my office has to the Internet is 164 Kbps upstream and 64 Kbps downstream (on an ADSL connection), for which we pay USD 200 per month. We pay an equivalent amount for a now-up-but-mostly-down Net connection via a cable company, which when it works, provides a fraction of the promised 128 Kbps.
  • The majority of software installed on desktops is pirated.
  • Domestic software products barely exist, thanks to piracy, the lure of dollar-based earnings for servicing international clients and the poor demand due to a low installed base of technology coupled with a limited understanding of the benefits of technology.

    But that’s the glass which is half-empty. The part of which is half-full sees that:

  • More wireless phones are now being bought in India than wired phones.
  • The GSM networks across India are as good as the best in the world.
  • India has rapidly earned a name for itself in IT outsourcing – both in software services and increasingly, in business process outsourcing.
  • Many global technology companies have opened R&D centres in India to harness local talent.
  • The IITs, IIMs and now the ISB (Indian School of Business in Hyderabad) are considered among the best educational institutions in the world.
  • Various state governments are now talking of e-governance and e-procurement.
  • Based on the closing prices on Friday (Oct 4), the market cap of both Infosys (USD 7 billion) and Wipro (USD 6.2 billion) is now greater than that of EDS (USD 5.8 billion).
  • In Abdul Kalam, India has a highly successful scientist as its President.
  • The largely illiterate dabbawallas of Mumbai run a Six Sigma operation.

    Much of what we see and read about is the impact of technology in the world’s developed markets – and this is where technological innovation has become incremental. This is because there is already a huge established base, a legacy. But there is another world comprising the world’s developing nations like India which is waiting for technology to help it leapfrog. This is a world which makes up in volumes what it lacks in purchasing power. This is where the opportunities of tomorrow lie. This is where the road to utopia leads. But for people and companies in the developed markets, it is as if this other world did not exist. This is the Invisible Market.

    Tomorrow: The Invisible Market

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