I just returned from an extended trip that started with Linux Expo. Linux Expo was about twice as large as the prior year, and Linux Mall sold more than twice as much stuff as the year before. Products are now being submitted to Linux Mall faster than we can add them.
This seems to be a trend, every year the momentum of Linux and the number of people involved is twice as large as the year before. This has been true for the last several years.
Can it continue?
I just saw an editorial pointed out to me by Ted Cook. It asks the question whether Linux can beat Windows NT, and then decides the answer is no. But consider that last year the question was too preposterous to print. And the year before that Linux was an interesting Toy from the Press' point of view. The year before that it didn't exist except for a very few visionary journalists.
Yes, things are rolling. There is a paper I wrote in early 1994 about future success for Linux, and then posted late in the year. At the time I got a lot of email that it was totally preposterous. So my employees insisted on adding my bio to it to give the paper more credibility (embarrasing). A few weeks ago I came across it again, and started to update it. I was amazed that updating was not needed. Why? The community continues to get more and more vital, and hasn't let me down!
So, let's all do our parts, and also support the LSB as it expands the scope of the standardization already present in Linux. Previous editorials by many others gave a lot of great reasons that I'll not repeat here. We should also support many other worthy efforts, development related or otherwise. Free or Commercial. Efforts such as Linux International, Linux Journal, Linux Mall, Caldera, Red Hat, EST and others so that next year the community again will be twice the size it is today, and again the year after that.. until indeed, Microsoft's stated direction, NT has been eclipsed. It is possible.
Whether you hack the kernel, or build software around it. Whether you sell Linux, buy it, or download it. Whether you use Linux or tell your friends about it, beginner or seasoned pro, all of you are vital to the continued availability of a viable alternative to Microsoft's offerings. Linux is perhaps the only long term viable alternative. All of us are needed, all of us have an essential part to play. This is a team sport. Drink it up.