RealTime IT News

Report: Linux Won't Wipe Out UNIX or Windows

Despite expected double-digit growth for Linux, Unix and Windows systems won't disappear anytime soon, according to Yankee Group.

The research firm interviewed 24 IT executives and managers at small, mid and large size enterprises for its report "Linux, Unix and Windows TCO Comparison, Part 2."

Fifty-seven percent of the survey respondents told Yankee Group that no changes were planned for their Windows Desktop. However, 21 percent said they plan to migrate a portion of their Windows systems to Linux, and 15 percent said they plan to add Linux desktops, but not as replacements for Windows.

The results add to an earlier survey by the Yankee Group, which found that, among its survey base of 1,000 respondents, approximately 33 percent already have some degree of Linux deployment within their organization.

Those results showed the typical Linux deployments in those organizations to be either specialized departmental application servers or Web servers.

Linux turned out to be a handy tool, even for a company just mulling a Linux migration. The firms in the survey found Linux to be "a good bargaining chip" with other software providers. According to one respondent: "We have no intention of switching to Linux, but we do find it useful as a stone to throw at Microsoft."

The Yankee Group report, which focused on total cost of ownership (TCO), found that Unix, Windows and Linux users have their share of cost complaints about the technology.

For example, Windows users complained about the high costs of licensing. Unix shops griped about hardware costs, and Linux shops pointed to the high cost of salaries for Linux IT professionals as a concern.

As Linux matures, Yankee said it expects to see more skilled Linux professionals, which could help even out and bring down some consulting fees.

But don't expect the same trend to hold for Windows licensing and Unix hardware costs. In Yankee Group's view, two principal forces are driving enterprises to Linux: the promise of a lower TCO and the passion of the Linux development community.

The report cautions users not to get caught up in the hype and follow the crowd if Linux doesn't make sense for them.

"Our conversations with end users cemented the Yankee Group's belief that no operating system is right for everyone," wrote Laura DiDio, application infrastructure and software platforms senior analyst. "Each company must look within. Make a realistic assessment of their existing software operating system infrastructure. Decide whether the current infrastructure meets your company's current and planned business needs and goals. Balance your business requirements against your current and future budget and then chart your technology course."

The rise of Linux has often been attributed to a decline in Unix. But Yankee Group's numbers did not support that belief. In fact, according to the survey numbers, Unix users are not migrating to Linux at a significant rate; only 4 percent of its survey respondents that are running Unix systems plan to migrate to Linux.

"Do not expect Windows or Unix to fade away," the report said. "Windows and Unix both have proponents that are just as passionate, albeit not as vocal, as the Linux enthusiasts."