Linux - Not a Mass Market in Business

Linux has become one of the most talked-about phenomenon's in the computer industry. I personally can't recall of any platform getting the kind of broad ISV support that Linux has received so early in the game.

Linux has become one of the most talked-about phenomenon's in the computer industry. I personally can't recall of any platform getting the kind of broad ISV support that Linux has received so early in the game. If one were only to view the vendor press releases, the missives from the development community, and the "buzz", you'd expect that Microsoft is in imminent danger of being toppled by Linux.

However, here at InfoBeads Insider, I tend to put more faith in customers' actions than in the hype that comes from the industry at large. So, as our contribution to understanding the rise in Linux' popularity and role in the industry, we provide for you the latest penetration data from more than 260,000 sites in the CI Technology Database.

As you can see, Linux installations in business locations is very small in the grand scheme of things. While Linux proponents may disagree and find this troubling, the reality is that this is what real companies report. What might account for some of the perception that Linux is more prevalent is that certain industry verticals have migrated that direction (EDP Services, Business Services, ISPs, and Software Developers) - although even then, the Linux penetration rate is usually below 10%.

Clearly end-users and real customers are not jumping on Linux in huge numbers. This may, in fact, be a good thing as it will let the OS develop more stability, more drivers, and hopefully increase the usability for the generic business customer. In addition, the current situation with some level (low at the moment) of inter-version competition can also hurt customer acceptance. Time may help alleviate this problem.

Yet one of the most important elements of the data is planned purchases. And it doesn't look good for the Linux community. Across all sizes of business, only 0.1% of the companies we interviewed have plans for Linux, and given the huge base of respondents (and the resulting statistical validity), the number is hard to dispute. My sense is that it's time for Linux to grow up a bit from a marketing perspective. That means less ABM (Anything But Microsoft) bombast, and more value statements for real customers. Merely being free is not a value statement, and can in fact, work against Linux as commercial customers worry about where to go for support and who to turn to.

Sites with Linux Installed or Planned

Source:  CI Technology Database

We are still early in the Linux game, but the real issue is going to be customer acceptance if Linux is to be more than a political statement against Microsoft and their tactics. We'll be watching this closely at InfoBeads Insider.

Article appears courtesy of ZD InfoBeads