Linux 'missed Aussie desktop wave' - IDC

Australian firms started to replace their post-Y2K PCs some time ago and Linux would not make significant gains from the refresh, according to the analyst firm

Linux is already late in catching the desktop refresh wave in Australia, says analyst firm International Data Corporation.

A ZDNet UK report said Linux vendors were hoping to take away market share from Microsoft's Windows in the desktop PC market as enterprises enter a desktop refresh cited as the biggest since Y2K.

The report said "Linux vendors are hoping that the massive refresh in desktop hardware could trigger a small, but significant move away from Windows."

However, Australian IDC market analyst Michael Sager said the post-Y2K refresh had started in Australia a year and a half ago and was expected to finish during the second quarter of this year.

"Here in Australia, the post Y2K refresh started a year and a half ago and the rest of the world is just catching up with Australia. By the time the world refreshes, Australia will already be done," Sager said.

He added that for the past year, there had been very limited uptake of Linux in the desktop space and only in "very niche" areas. Sager said the sectors in which desktop PC upgrades were outstanding were small-to-medium businesses and education departments or offices.

"If [Linux vendors] are seeking the same opportunity here, then they are already late because majority of that wave has already hit the shore. There is no wave to ride and the last part is already coming in," Sager said.

The UK report also stated that Red Hat chief executive Matthew Szulik "launched the company's enterprise desktop operating system earlier this month and emphasised that a push into the corporate desktop would be achieved slowly but surely as old PCs were replaced with new models."

However, Sager says this will not be the case anytime soon, given Linux's limited penetration relative to Windows and its restriction to government agencies, education departments or "techies."

He also believes that Linux vendors will have to wait a long time before they can penetrate the Australian desktop PC market.

"The general opinion of IDC is that these are very early days for Linux to be penetrating the desktop PC market in Australia. There are several considerations to be made such as the availability of the applications to Linux migration. There can still be areas of growth but only for SMEs and they will not be able to target the same areas as in other countries," Sager said

For more coverage on ZDNet Australia, click here.