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Linux marketshare up 212 per cent

Open Source OS now outselling all other brands of Unix, research suggests

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Linux's share of the server market expanded by 212 per cent this year, well ahead of Windows NT, NetWare and all other varieties of Unix, IDC reported yesterday. Still, that growth left Linux with just 17.2 per cent of the market, up from 6.8 per cent in 1997. Windows NT leads the market with a 36 per cent share, the same figure it achieved last year. NetWare dropped slightly, from 26.4 per cent in 1997 to 24.1 per cent in 1998. IDC only tracks copies of Linux sold through distributors like RedHat -- the figures don't include copies of the OS downloaded from the Internet simply because it's impossible to tell how many are used as servers. Even allowing for only a small percentage of downloads used in that role -- and it's not unreasonable to assume that many are, albeit not necessarily by IT professionals -- it's probably enough for Linux's real marketshare to eclipse that of all the other variants of Unix, which IDC reckons together command 17.4 per cent of the server market. IDC analyst Dan Kusnetzky put the growth in the use of Linux down to its low pricing, good performance and ant-Microsoft feeling among the hardcore IT community. That's likely to continue. With Windows 2000 (aka NT 5.0) due to ship sometime next year, it's not hard to foresee sales of the current release slipping in the meantime. And the explosive growth of Linux, which in turn is persuading server vendors like Dell and IBM to offer it as an alternative to NT, which in turn may drive Linux further and stem NT's growth. Indeed, while IDC has previously recorded NT growth rates of 75-80 per cent per year, it now reckons that will slide to between 20 and 30 per cent. ®

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