Linux catching Microsoft in the server market

Linux is fast gaining ground on Microsoft NT as the world's favourite server operating system, according to research firm IDC

According to IDC figures, Linux has overtaken both NetWare and Unix in the server sales stakes to snatch second position. Linux has increased its market share by 16 percent to 25 percent, moving it up from fourth to second place after NT. NT has showed no change, with 38 percent of the market.

However these figures only account for purchased copies of server software and so make no provision for "free" or Open Source operating systems, subsidised software or trial software that has been cracked.

IDC analyst Dan Kusnetzky admits that this makes the figures less than perfect, but claims there is very little way to measure the use of open-source software. "We have come up with a methodology but it's not authoritative enough to publish," he says.

Linux still has a long way to go to catch Microsoft according to Kusnetzky. "We found that world wide sales of Linux last year amounted to $63m [£38.4m]. Microsoft makes more than that before breakfast everyday."

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