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LinuxCon Analysts: Linux Is Winning

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BOSTON — Linux is now in the mainstream of enterprise adoption, according to analysts presenting new research here at the LinuxCon conference.

Separate datasets from both IDC and Forrester Research presented at the conference show that Linux and other open source technologies continue to make inroads in corporate settings.

the continuing adoption of Linux and open source technologies. Analysts also provided some recommendations how best to adopt open source technologies and practices.

“Congratulations, you’re on the winning team,” Jeffrey Hammond, principal analyst at Forrester Research, the LinuxCon audience. “Linux has crossed the chasm to mainstream adoption.”

According Forrester’s survey data, enterprises flocked to open source technologies in early 2009 primarily as a way to cut costs. But by the end of 2009, Forrester found that enterprises were increasingly looking to open source as a driver of growth.

In the third quarter of 2009, 48 percent of Forrester’s survey respondents were using an open source operating system, while 57 percent were using an open source programming language. Only one in five said there are not using open source at all.

For Hammond, the key to spreading open source across the enterprise is to have developers adopt the technology first and then warm management up to the idea.

“It’s not about Linux that your mother can use,” Hammond said. “We need Linux that developers can use — if you get developers you can get the rest of the enterprise.”

Hammond suggested that open source vendors focus on speed, flexibility and innovation, not just on cost.

“Companies are willing to pay for fair value delivered. Just craft the right business models,” he said.


In a separate session, IDC analyst Al Gillen said that according to his forecasts, software revenues related to Linux will approach parity with Unix by 2014.

“A good portion of the Unix spend is coming directly to Linux,” Gillen said.

Gillen added that Linux often wins against Solaris-based deployments, with Red Hat typically being the migration target. When it comes to HP-UX and IBM AIX Unix users, Gillen said that Microsoft Windows typically wins those migrations. As to why the different Unix users go different migration routes, Gillen noted that each user base has certain application use cases.

“Solaris shops are more technically oriented and are more likely to develop their own apps,” Gillen said. “HP-UX and AIX users are more likely to run packaged apps.”

When it comes to cloud deployments, Gillen also sees opportunity for Linux, though he cautions that Microsoft has a strong play in the cloud space based on enterprise application usage.

“Linux wins when there are no Microsoft dependencies,” Gillen said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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