Red Hat looks for Linux popularity to grow

With Linux enjoying great use and acceptance with overseas governments, the open-source software's popularity is expected to increase in the United States, said experts that gathered at a forum today sponsored by Red Hat Inc.

Red Hat of Raleigh, N.C., is a developer of Linux applications.

In conjunction with that prediction, Red Hat announced that Paul Smith will lead the company's new government business unit. Before joining Red Hat, Smith was vice president of government operations at Veritas Software Corp. of Mountain View, Calif.

With open-source software being used in the United States at every cabinet-level department, Red Hat officials said they expect adoption will continue to grow.

One hurdle Linux must clear is the perception that open-source software is more vulnerable to security threats, said Don Heffernan, former chief information officer of the General Services Administration, who sat on Red Hat's panel discussion.

"One thought is once Linux becomes more ubiquitous, it will become the target," Heffernan said. "I don't think that will happen."

With a community supporting it, any security hole in Linux is quickly found and patched, Heffernan said.

With wide use in other countries, security issues related to Linux are based more on myth than fact, said panel member Dendy Young, chief executive officer of GTSI Corp. of Chantilly, Va.

Proof of Linux's growing acceptance came in the form of another Red Hat announcement: the CIOs of the Energy Department's national laboratories made an agreement for broad deployment of Red Hat Enterprise Linux for systems in the National Laboratories and Technology Centers.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Washington Technology.

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