The maturity of open-source software tools and services has created a groundswell of Linux users in corporate Australia, a senior Gartner analyst said.
"We're definitely seeing a high level of interest in Linux and enterprises evaluating how it can fit into their existing and future infrastructure," said Matthew Boon, vice president at Gartner Research Asia-Pacific.
Boon said in a recent survey across the Asia-Pacific, 52 percent of organisations in Australia said they had Linux deployed in their organisation. In total, 650 companies responded to the study.
Australia had one of the highest responses -- up significantly from a year ago -- buoyed by advancements in Linux service offerings, he said, making special mention of Sun Microsystems' Java Desktop System, previously known as Mad Hatter.
By 2004, Gartner expects 90 percent of all Australian IT organisations to knowingly or unknowingly leverage open-source software within their software solutions.
While the open-source operating system is making inroads into enterprises, Linux installations will predominantly be at the lower end of the chain as opposed to high-end, transaction-based implementations.
"Linux will not replace Microsoft overnight because companies have Windows 'ingrained' in their organisations," Boon said.
But the main issue is the age-old interoperability topic.
"It's a question of being able to maintain normal business relations with internal and external parties, especially customers, so that presents a huge gamble for Microsoft-based companies to move [to Linux]," he said. Boon was speaking to ZDNet Australia ahead of his "Linux in the enterprise: Server capabilities and realities" presentation at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2003 in Sydney next month.