The Linux Foundation is set to release a report on Wednesday estimating that the Linux ecosystem is now worth $25 billion. The $25 billion figure is one that I’m surprised at because its lower than other forecasts I’ve seen over the years.
Or is it? I’m not sure how the Linux Foundation has compiled their numbers as I have not seen their report. The only tidbit of info I have so far is that the LInux Foundation has valued Google’s use of Linux for Android at $1.3 billion worth of R&D. I would assume that the forecast also includes direct revenues from Linux vendors as well as hardware revenue derived from Linux server sales. A really accurate forecast would also include revenues from routing hardware (from Cisco, Juniper, Nortel and others) that is all powered by a Linux OS.
So why do I think the $25 billion figure is a bit low?
In 2008, IDC forecast that the Linux ecosystem would be worth $49 billion by 2011. That report coincidentally was sponsored by the Linux Foundation as well. IDC pegged the value of the 2007 Linux ecosystem at $21 billion. At that point (2007) IDC noted that Linux only accounted for 4 percent of the $242 billion spent annually on all software.
So yes I suppose that $25 billion is an accomplishment that needs to be recognized. But take it with a grain of salt. If IDC’s 2008 projection was accurate 2009/2010 will see some massive growth – then again maybe IDC was just wrong. In the context of the overall software market it’s also clear that Linux is a player but it certainly has alot of room to grow.