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Linux Gains Ground On NT In India

Linux, the license-free UNIX-like operating system, which has been the fancy of the educational community for long, is now being increasingly seen as a viable alternative to Windows NT and Netware by many corporate houses in India.

The flagship of the open-source software (OSS) movement that's challenging the proprietary paradigms of commercial software development, Linux has so far largely been the preserve of geekdom.

Now, corporate mandarins are aiming for it.

Reliance Industries, ICICI, UTI-Securities, Indian Rayon, Zodiac are among some of the Indian corporates that are actively looking at Linux as an alternative to the well-established Windows NT and Netware.

Many educational institutions like BITS, IITs and research organizations like BARC, ISRO are already use Linux by tailoring it to meet their specific needs.

And with the recent announcement of support for Linux by various global IT majors such as Intel, Oracle, Sybase, Informix, Dell and Netscape, Linux which was mostly in use in a sporadic fashion so far, has now caught the whims of Indian corporate houses too.

Operating systems are the invisible but indispensable traffic cops of a computer -- managing all the functions of the hardware and providing application creators with standard interfaces to which to write their applications.

According to sources, petrochemical giant Reliance Industries is working on implementing certain mission-critical applications on Linux-based solutions.

Besides web-based applications and intranet, the company is also planning to install Linux-based networks for its internal communication and messaging needs.

The company, sources say, is also building a corporate intranet using wide-area links to connect to their nodal centers, carrying multimedia data content, using Linux, besides building their own intranet task force.

Mahindra-British Telecom (MBT) has also jumped on to the Linux bandwagon. MBT, which became aware of Linux's capabilities about a year ago, today, uses Linux-based solution for its mailing system.

The company is also working on implementing Linux for other web-based and intranet applications.

The National Stock Exchange (NSE) too is reportedly using Linux-based solution for its certification program for brokers.

The Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research is another institution, where the entire campus network and Internet link is being set up using Linux-based servers and other free software available on the Internet.

However, some market observers still feel that the freely distributed Linux OS is still not ready to handle all the needs of corporations.

Linux has problems with I/O and is rife with Ring 3 scaling problems, says a Windows NT systems engineer.

Linux also has problems with its scheduler, and there are not much of user-friendly applications in Linux, he adds.