It's easy for most of us to remember those cataclysmic societal events after which it is universally intoned that "things will never be the same again." It may be a little more rare to remember those events which slide under the radar of most folks, but which have profound consequences nonetheless.

One of those landmarks in the technology industry was IBM's announcement in 2000 that it was throwing its corporate weight behind the open source Linux operating system. Up to that point, open source software had been viewed as the product of a plucky but overall irrelevant cadre of cranks, crackpots, and cheapskates. It may have been fine for a network of gamers who never left their geek caves, but "mission-critical" enterprise platforms? Please.

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