LINUXinux, the open-source operating system (OS)
started in 1991 by Finnish programmer Linus Torvalds, has embarked on what futurist Watts Wacker calls “the migration to the mainstream” — a hot idea that starts out on the deviant fringe, attracts a cult following, then gains respectability (and maybe big bucks) as it’s discovered by the masses.

Mighty Microsoft still rules the desktop and almost half the corporate server market, but Linux, symbolized by its penguin mascot, Tux, is making inroads. According to Gartner Dataquest, about 14 percent of servers running corporate networks use Linux, in-cluding Morgan Stanley and other Wall Street powers. Meanwhile, an army of developers continues to crank out new Linux applications.

Who would have thought it? The
starry-eyed true believers of the open-source movement have joined forces with heavyweights like IBM and Hewlett-Packard, which supply hardware, support, and services for Linux customers. No wonder a recent Goldman, Sachs report was titled “Fear the Penguin.”