To hear Hewlett-Packard's CEO tell it, Linux is at long last coming of age.

In her keynote address at Linux World, Hewlett-Packard Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina declared this the breakout year for Linux, the open source technology that is finding favor with big businesses for its flexibility and cost-effectiveness.

Fiorina mentioned a number of innovative Linux solutions already deployed by customers in the entertainment, banking, service provider, Internet infrastructure and technical computing arenas. Adoption in these markets, along with retail, financial services and public sector, is helping fuel growth in Linux, which consultancy Gartner expects to achieve 50 percent revenue increase in 2002, despite uncertain economic conditions.

"These representatives from the business community aren't supporting Linux because it's popular. They're doing it because it meets their needs and those of their customers, and they're putting their money where their mouths are," she told attendees.

She advised attendees not to become distracted by the industry discussions surrounding the deployment of Microsoft and Linux solutions.

"The reality is that Microsoft solutions on industry-standard hardware are a mainstay of many corporations, especially on the desktop, and will continue to be so," Fiorina says. "Likewise, Linux solutions have found their way into a number of mainstream enterprise applications, are already on the desktop in niche applications, and will continue to make inroads.

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