There's been a lot of speculation recently regarding the benefits of businesses upgrading to Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 2000. According to Microsoft, upgrading your server to Windows 2000 would mean gaining the combined strengths of Windows 98's core functions as well as the stability and robustness of Windows NT.
Not everyone agrees that such a move is prudent at this point. In fact, the effects of such speculation were enough to cause a brief downturn in Microsoft's stock price in mid-February, days before the release of Windows 2000 Server, Advanced Server and Professional (the version for networked Pcs).
Fact is, Microsoft's sheen has been dulling as of late, and many experts are quick to note that the Linux OS, an affordable alternative to Windows and an open-source operating system, could steal the Windows 2000 thunder.
The Other Os
The increase in popularity of Linux as a viable alternative to Windows over the past couple of years has taken Microsoft by surprise. This affordable option-costs vary from free to about $80, depending on distributor-has many big-name backers, including Corel (http://linux.corel.com), which recently released Corel Linux OS Deluxe and WordPerfect 8 for Linux. In addition, Red Hat (www.redhat.com), an early Linux supporter and the first company to support the OS, recently completed a successful IPO based on Red Hat Linux 6.1. According to IDC, Linux captured 17 percent of the total server operating system market in 1998, and, by 2001, IDC predicts shipments of Linux to increase considerably and overtake tried-and-true server OS programs like Novell Netware and Unix. The effect? The viability and necessity of Windows 2000, a $599 OS, is in question.
Cassandra Cavanah is a computer journalist with an entrepreneurial focus who's made a homebased career of writing and consulting on tech-related issues. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.