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IDC predicts Linux growth to beat all other OSes

And we knew it would all along, too, claims research company

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Survey Shipments of Linux into the client and server operating system marketplaces will grow faster than any other OS between now and 2003, according to a report from market researcher IDC. The company reckons commercial shipments of the open source OS will increases at an annual compound rate of 25 per cent from 1999 to 2003, inclusive. Other client operating systems will experience growth rates of ten per cent over the same period; server operating systems will grow at 12 per cent. The research only covers copies of Linux provided by distributors, such as Red Hat, SuSE and Caldera. Given the free availability of downloadable source code and binaries, the OS' growth rates may well be even higher. IDC bases its prediction on the increasing number of application vendors porting their products over to Linux. That will drive the server side; for client-side growth, IDC believes the key Linux GUIs, specifically KDE and Gnome, will soon become sufficiently mature to allow companies to use the OS to host desktop-based productivity apps. However, that will happen later rather than sooner. IDC's predictions should be tempered by an important caveat. The company's report only stresses Linux's growth compared to other operating systems "that IDC covers". That neatly covers the researchers' backs if emerging OSes, such as MacOS X Server, do rather better than anticipated. And while a high growth rate is good for Linux, it still has a lot of catching up to do on the marketshare front, particularly in the client space. Speaking of 'researchers' backs', IDC has clearly been slapping its own. As the report smugly puts it: "IDC realised over a year ago that the Linux movement was imminent and at that point in time decided to pull Linux out of the ubiquitous and otherwise ignored 'Other' category." Yet in January 1998, a release covering the slowdown in worldwide shipments of server operating environments didn't mention Linux once. Lies, damn lies and market research? ® See also Linux marketshare up 212 per cent

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