Saturday, August 9, 2008

IBM VP urges open source devs to make Linux less like Windows

If Linux is going to make bigger inroads on the desktop, developers need to stop cloning Microsoft Windows and instead produce more unique user interface designs, according to Bob Sutor, IBM's VP of open source and standards.

Sutor made these remarks today at the Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas, a day after IBM issued the latest in an eight-year series of Linux announcements, joining at LinuxWorld with Linux distributors Red Hat, Novell, and Canonical in an initiative to build "Microsoft-free PCs for business."

The VP delivered his recommendations around more creative Linux user interfaces as part of a series of predictions about the future of Linux in the next decade. If developers are building applications for the traditional PC desktop, they are better off copying Apple Macintosh concepts about design and usability, Sutor maintained.

Over the next ten years, he said, Linux will become less focused on x86 PCs, anyway, with more opportunities emerging in cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS). PCs will become less significant as devices, and user interfaces will also be needed for mobile phones and other smaller machines used for accessing the Web.

Sutor also predicted today, for example, that "green" initiatives will help drive greater Linux adoption, and that Linux could see greater acceptance in the future among SMBs, which tend to be more interested in purchasing "solutions" as a whole than OS, applications, and hardware separately.

On the other hand, he said, if Linux hasn't been adopted within any specific vertical industry over the next decade, it's likely that Linux will never experience much use within that specific industry.

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