By comparison with the markets and channels to them for desktop computing solutions, the server market is well understood within the Linux world. The channels that service the server market usually employ a direct sale to the consumer model. S erver solutions are commercially viable because workload types can be easily identified , defined and satisfied with well understood technologies and applications.
The Linux Foundation recently commissioned a white paper that has been published by IDC ("The Role of Linux Server and Commercial Workloads," by Al Gillen, Brett Waldman, Elaina Stergiades. April 2008). This paper recognizes that over the past decade Linux has predominantly displaced UNIX in the server operating environment (SOE). The paper correctly identifies the fact that over the next decade Microsoft will aggressively defend its position in the SOE market and thus we can expect an all-out effort to displace Linux-based solutions with new Microsoft offerings.
Given the lack of financial muscle to preserve the Linux market share in the SOE space, we can expect some erosion of market share. The importance of capturing a larger desktop presence in order to defend the SOE market can not be overstated. In the absence of significant desktop growth for Linux, over the next decade we can therefore anticipate some loss of employment of open source developers by the Linux vendors.