I'm surrounded by Linuxy goodness
[This has been sitting in my "to publish" queue for a year or so it seems. Or maybe it was published but got retracted somehow at some point. So it's a bit out of date. I've had my Eee PC for over a year and really like it. -Tracy]
There are an amazing number of Linux based open hardware projects hitting the market these days.
Fully open hardware:
OLPC XO laptop http://laptop.org/
Linux powered but not necessarily hackable hardware:
Everex TC2502 Green PC http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=7754614 (Wal-Mart actually sells this one in stores here in San Diego, not web-only like that silly Lindows deal)
Snom VOIP phones http://www.snom.com
Linksys routers Eee PC http://eeepc.asus.com/en/
And many more I'm sure. I just received my Eee PC laptop which I ordered from Newegg.com for $399. It is awesome. So tiny! Very portable. Weighs less than 2lbs. 4G flash HD. 512M of RAM. Comes with office suite, firefox, thunderbird, IM client, skype, pretty much everything I need. And it is Linux with an obvious idiot-proof interface and everything works right out of the box, no configuration needed. Straight from the factory. Asus says they are selling one of these every 6 seconds. We're going to have a million new desktop/laptop Linux users before this is done. XP would technically run on it but it would be tight and it would greatly increase the price of the hardware. I really relish watching hardware become so cheap that MS cannot make money on it. :) And after what they did hiding behind SCO then Acacia and OOXML and their long history of nastiness in general I am really looking forward to watching the vice tighten around their jewels.
I have Linux on my desktop. At home and at work. Linux came preinstalled on my laptop. I have a Snom phone on my desk. Linux in my DVR. Soon I will have Linux on my mobile phone as soon as the second generation OpenMoko comes out (Looking like December but like all open community driven projects "it's ready when it's ready" and no sooner). I have Linux in my Linksys router. I may just have to pick up a Chumby so my alarm clock will be running Linux. :) Although that's a rather expensive alarm clock.
"The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it." - Mark Weiser, almost 15 years ago in a Scientific American article titled, "The Computer for the 21st Century."
Linux is certainly heading that way. But that is just the consumer electronics side of things. Linux is doing great things on the server side too. Over the last few years I have become a big fan of virtualization with SAN storage. I put together a system called Xen-AoE which uses the free Xen virtualization software with the AoE ethernet based SAN protocol. We are slowly populating a community based site at http://xen-aoe.org to provide howto information on setting this stuff up. Not much there yet. But keep an eye on it over the coming weeks. A former employer currently serves a lot of their critical infrastructure out of a Xen-AoE cluster. You can see it in action at http://www.drjays.com as those pages are served off of it.
Tomorrow night (Thursday) I will be giving a little presentation with a few colleagues at the Kernel-Panic Linux User Group Meeting (http://www.kernel-panic.org) on basic shell scripting for newbies. In the next month or two (still being negotiated) it looks like I will be giving a presentation on AoE at the San Diego Windows 2003 User Group meeting at the Microsoft offices here in San Diego. Surprised? Don't be. I would happily teach Free/Open technologies in a gay brothel if it meant more people getting clued in. Linux has taken me all over the world since my time at MP3. It is a great time to be in the technology business!