Linux and Innovation
By John Clingan on Jun 22, 2004
What is the role of Linux in Innovation? I have been trying to think of ways in which Linux, in and of itself, is innovative and off the top of my head I can't think of any. In most ways it is a re-implementation or repository (via technology donation) of existing innovation.
First, a disclaimer. I use Linux on my laptop every day. This is not an attempt to knock Linux but an honest attempt to grok where Linux is doing something different. I use Linux in a fairly mainstream way. Vanilla desktop. Vanilla server. I don't really sit out at the edge of OS innovation. By "Linux", I am really saying "Linux kernel" not "Linux distribution". And in some way I think this is a partial answer to my own question.
Linux in the mainstream is being used primarily as a cheap OS on Intel-compatable hardware. Its a money saving tool. The nice thing about Linux is that it is a catalyst for innovation, which I think is its primary role in innovation. It has lowered the barrier to entry on top of which other innovations occur. PHP. perl and mod_\*. python, Project Looking Glass and the list goes on. Perhaps the ability for anyone to compile the kernel and remove what they don't want is in some ways an innovation.
But I am really interested in where the Linux kernel is doing something different. It must be happening. If you know of something that is innovative in the Linux kernel space, please comment on it. In particular, I am interested in what has the potential to become mainstream and how I can position its use within my customer base.