'Linux is an ideal operating system in this kind of environment. You are not going to find that in two years' time you have to completely change your system, Linux will grow with your business.'
Oracle has many customers in the Middle East now using Linux, and its criticism of rivals like Microsoft Windows is severe.
'Microsoft Windows remains bulky and black-boxed, and for system developers this means its operating system can not be stripped down. It is a monolithic structure.
'A Linux platform can be stripped down into components and packages and boots up quickly and you don't have the hidden taxation of Microsoft licensing fees. Why should you tie yourself to a particular operating system and pay a licensing fee forever?'
Mr. Keene is also dismissive about concerns over systems support for Linux. He points out that with Oracle running its whole business on Linux that clearly there is a lot of expertise in-house available, and that Oracle would hardly be running on Linux itself if it had any worries over system support.
Security with Linux
'Security is another issue. It is much easier to build a secure infrastructure with Linux. The Dubai Police, for example, run on Linux because it is the most secure system.
'However, the biggest problem for IT in the Middle East is that many large IT systems can not handle growth, and this would be our main argument for Linux, aside from cost, flexibility and security issues. With Linux you can have 100 PCs working like a mainframe.
'You only have to look around a show like Gitex to realize that the Middle East has an astonishing range of IT equipment and devices in operation and that means that the underlying operating system infrastructure has to be right.'
He cites the Dubai International Financial Centre and its community of financial services companies as the next group of local companies that will face critical decisions on their operating systems.
'They will need to ask: how do we make our system compliant and auditable? How will be able to document changes and find out who updated it? How can we avoid getting viruses in our system? For all these reasons I would strongly recommend the adoption of an open operating system like Linux from the start.'