Linux: A baby with some way to go - analyst

Linux has some way to go before it can become a head-on competitor with Windows NT and UNIX operating systems according to a report published Monday by US analyst firm D.H. Brown Associates.
Written by Jane Wakefield, Contributor

Acknowledging Linux' importance in the OS marketplace, author Tony Iams believes it is not yet ready to meet the demands of high-end business computing. In this space, the report found, Windows NT and UNIX still hold sway.

While Linux' "good enough" capabilities and minimal costs make it worthy of deployment for low-end or midrange Web serving, e-mail routing, network printing and file serving, the report hesitates to recommend Linux distributions for business computing solutions due to their lack of high-end capabilities. With profits reliant on efficient computer systems, businesses cannot afford to allow hardware or software to act as limiting factors to their business operations, the report says.

The report found Linux performed best in four key areas:

  • Entry file-and-print sharing or Web servers
  • Appliance-class systems
  • Systems used by Internet Service Providers
  • Systems sued as compute nodes in technical computing clusters
  • Linux, says the report, is still a baby among established operating systems and the ability of the Open Source community to match or surpass conventionally developed operating systems has yet to be proven. With developers promising to address the current limitations of Linux with improvements and extensions, it may well mature quickly -- a view backed by International Data Corporation which predicts use of Linux will grow by 25 percent over the next four years.

    As part of this growth process Linux already has the backing of the leading hardware vendors keen to find alternatives to Windows NT. However the report claims vendors' efforts to embrace Linux remain "somewhat indirect".

    While companies like IBM, Dell and Hewlett Packard are happy to seed development efforts by providing high-end server equipment and device drivers, providing technical advice and making investments in organisations such as Red Hat, few yet sell or pre-load Linux distributions the report concludes.

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