The huge development effort and wide distribution of the Linux OS will ensure that it takes its place as a real, viable, and significant alternative to commercially restricted operating systems. The open development model, availability of source, and lack of license restrictions are ``features'' of the Linux OS that commercial OS developers simply cannot offer. Software development groups who need this model include groups from government affiliated research organizations, to academic research and teaching projects, to commercial software application developers.
The recent rapid increase in new applications becoming available for Linux and the rapidly growing user base of these technologies are causing even the largest computer industry organizations to take Linux seriously. Even Datapro (a McGraw-Hill Company) in their recent 1996 Survey of the UNIX industry concluded that: "Programmers are taking a hard look at the viability of Linux on production platforms now that Linux costs less than Microsoft and has the added benefits of UNIX, such as great performance, inherent power tool sets, and communication capabilities".
The new distribution and development model that Linux, the FSF's GNU code,
and other ``freely distributable'' software represent is a new model that is
already successfully competing with the older commercially-restricted model.
There is an exciting future for these technologies that we are pleased that
you are now a part of.