The number of organisations using Linux, the open-source operating system, has increased significantly in recent years. But, according to analyst company Meta Group, this growth is just the tip of the iceberg.
Meta reports that Linux – for which vendors can charge maintenance and support fees, despite the software being available to users for free – now accounts for between 15% and 20% of all new server operating system shipments. But by 2007 Linux running on Intel microprocessors – a combination referred to as ‘Lintel’ – would rise to 45% of new servers.
The growing popularity of Linux will force many technology vendors to make their applications, including systems management, networking, and application development software, available on Linux platforms by mid-2004, according to Meta.
Meta even says that software giant Microsoft – which views Linux as a major competitive threat to its dominance of the operating system market – may port its major applications to the open-source operating system. Microsoft dismisses Meta’s prediction.
However, Linux adoption rates remain very low within enterprise data centres. In 2002, Linux only had a 3% share of the enterprise data centre market, although, driven by the lower cost model of the Intel platform, sales of Linux will rise to 11% by 2007, compared to Windows (38%), proprietary Unix (40%), and IBM’s mainframe operating system zOS (11%), according to Meta, says analyst Rich Evans at Meta.