first off good article. I have worked as an Irix administrator for several years now and find the move towards linux to be a very good move on SGI's part.
I believe that the real test for linux in the commercial market will
be when the new intel IA-64 processors are released to the market.
Most of the major unix vendors have already bought into this new
technology and I think it will be another unifying factor. It will be
much easier for vendors to support a linux distribution on IA-64 than it would be to support thier own aging unix distributions.
a couple of points
The bigest problem that I have found with linux distributions is the
same problem that I have faced with many commercial unix's: they
have too many services turned on by default that are not needed.
One of the bigest things that would be a help for security is that
distributions go to a policy where installed software is only turned
on when explicitly asked for rather than on by default. While this
will not stop everything, it would stop a good portion of the new
machines out there getting broken into right away.
One thing comes to mind. Why does every linux distribution need
to be server oriented? I think there is a real need out there for
a completely client-side distribution. This would take care of
the extra services problem by making sure that servers are not
even an option.
Another issue that I think distributions should look into is finding
a way to more easily distribute patches. While it is a good thing
that to have fixes come out quickly it is entire different problem
with getting users to actually apply them. I think the process of
fixing bugs needs to be as simple as possible so that it can be
as automated as possible (debian's app-get method for updating
software comes to mind). While this introduces even more possible
security risks I think that it should be concidered at least for the
deffinitly a good editorial Jon...