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 Can Linux Save IT Jobs in America?

As computer jobs have been diluted in the U.S. with lay-offs and being sent away to other countries, the implementation of Linux has hardly slowed down. Linux, originally of foreign origins, is quickly becoming the operating system to keep jobs in America.

 (Submitted by Douglas Chick Tue Jan 20, 2004 )

  Can Linux Save IT Jobs in America?
Douglas Chick

As computer jobs have been diluted in the U.S. with lay-offs and being sent away to other countries, the implementation of Linux has hardly slowed down. Linux, originally of foreign origins, is quickly becoming the operating system to keep jobs in America.

In the 80s and mid-90s, it was computer people that made Netware the dominant server operating system, and it was also computer people that overturned the Netware operating system with NT because Microsoft offered a cheaper alternative, promising higher wages for all those that became MCSEs. At the very first sign of economic decline these same people were the first sacrificed and lost their jobs to cheaper wages and alternative methods of outsourcing. Monopolizing on the fears of corporate America, many companies like Microsoft began to market their new product line on the premise that purchasing their software will allow you to reduce your IT department even further. Or at least that's the impression that is given from the Windows 2003 commercials.

The Information Technology career group has suffered the more lay-offs than any other group in America since 2000. Once the government made CEOs responsible for their earning reports, actual numbers had to be produced to keep shareholders from dumping their stock and the best way to show growth in revenue when there is none is through the revenue produced by laying-off people. Sadly this was the governments plan to help the economy and the catalyst that spurred the largest job loss in the U.S. History, and computer people were hit the hardest. But you already know this.

For those of us that still have a job these are nervous times. Software companies must sell software and the only way they can do so and maintain the same profit margins is to discover more ingenious ways to sell a program that requires less computer staff to operate, or software that can be supported by cheaper workers remotely. We need only to sit and wait and it will happen. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Linux: Revolution

If you could prove to your boss that the real savings in IT is not letting more staff go or shipping more jobs overseas, the savings is in using alternate desktop operating systems and saving money in server licensing, if successful you could very well save your own job. Microsoft's desktop operating systems have nearly doubled in price while the nation is in the worst economic condition since the depression. Corporate America didn't cut back on software first; they cut back on IT staff.

I believe, as well as others do, that the only way we will keep our jobs is to take that control away from the software vendors and put it in the hands of the computer professional. We already have that power but many of us lack the courage to exercise it. As long as the software giants continue to control the computer desktop, they will also control our careers. I am now convinced that the only way to keep computer jobs in America is to shift the balance of power by implementing Linux as a corporate desktop operating system.

Many computer people already know this and have been fighting the battle for a long time now, but have been largely ignored as being radicals. Admittedly I am as guilty as any for not listening. Another obstacle has been trying to convince the IT Director and CIO the benefits of Linux and just how much money that can be saved by using it on the company desktop. This will be a helpful tool in the year 2004 as IT Directors and CIO's will have to account for their own corporate self worth.

Linux: Reloaded

As a Windows network administrator, I've resisted Linux for a very long time because I believed that by not supporting Microsoft products it would in some how hurt my IT career. But as I look around and see so many of my fellow computer brothers and sisters betrayed by their own ambitions, it is obvious now more than ever, if we are to keep our jobs and maintain a computer career, we are going to have to deploy Linux in our companies as a desktop operating system. If we can't prove to our companies that we have a value and can save them money than, Microsoft is going to prove that they can do our job from a helpdesk phone in India.

Last week I purchased "Linux For Dummies, and slackers and last minute holdouts." Or rather it's equivalent. And began where I left off 7 years ago when I managed a Linux mail server. As a computer professional, I am accustom to learning new software and adapt to the change of new technology, so learning Linux over again isn't as difficult as I imagined it would be. After all, it's a small price to pay to stay in a field that I love. (I've seen some reports that have stated: A large portion of computer people that have lost their jobs in the last few years will never return to the computer field again.) Sounds horrifying if you're like me and you love working with computers.

Linux: The Return of the Clone Wars

IBM clones (Compaq, Dell, Gateway) with Windows operating system is what made Microsoft its fortune and also made the desktop computer affordable for the individual. Linux Clones will make the PC affordable again for corporate America and will afford them to keep their American IT staff. If Dell, Compaq and Gateway do not offer Linux as a desktop solution, or are contractually bound not to, a new era of computer clones will rise up and leave these same companies where they left IBM in the early 90s. Linux is a freight train that slowly and gradually has been building up speed and passengers cars until it has become so fast with so many people on board that there is no stopping it.
Time has always been against Microsoft, as no one can hold a monopoly forever. 2004 will be the year that Linux collides head-on with Windows desktop and neither lawsuit nor court order will prevent that which has been inevitable for such a long time.

Douglas Chick

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