1.Penguin Landscape

Commercial Unix was expensive so it was carefully tended – and indeed tendered. Linux is free so it has to fend for itself.

Linux itself was inspired by the tried and tested designs of the proprietary Unixes that preceded it – or predeceased it – which it drove into extinction. Some of their tech continues to make its way into Linux, and some is being reinvented, usually to get round IP issues. The goals are to make Linux more resilient: fault-tolerant, self-healing, and in general to lower the cost of its maintenance.


Just as desktop distros get their core tech from the lucrative server ones, some of the methods being used started out in old enterprise Unixes, or are reimplementations of tools and methods from them, but that's only the beginning of the influence.

A starting point is one of the longest-standing bits of enterprise IT: databases. They've been around for longer than minicomputers and their contents are usually very valuable so lots of time, effort, and money has gone into research into how to make them more resilient. A core property has been to make them transactional – once an important buzzword for big commercial databases, and something that later filtered down to the smaller ones. The idea is to make every alteration of your precious business data into a transaction. Ideally, it completes fully, but if it doesn't, you have a record of what was going to happen, so you can fully undo it, thus putting things back exactly as they were before.