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Recession victims big on Linux, IDC says

It's the talk of the poorhouse

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Nowadays, more and more companies are poor and interested in Linux, according to an IDC study sponsored by Novell.

The industry bean counter's February poll of 330 IT workers indicates a "surge" of businesses that are either thinking about using Linux or already switching over. Most said the primary reason was to lower ongoing support costs.

According to the study, more than 72 per cent of respondents said they are either actively evaluating or have decided to increase adoption of Linux server in 2009. Where desktops are concerned, 68 per cent polled have a distro of Linux on their mind.

Of course, Microsoft still retains its handsome lead in popularity. Among the survey participants, 55 per cent already use Linux server while 97 per cent had Windows server in use. Unix server was found in 39 per cent of the firms.

When asked what tempts them towards Linux, the survey participants identified reducing costs and stronger interoperability with Windows or other OSs as their top two reasons, respectively.

From the Novell-sponsored IDC study:

IDC has found that economic downturns lead to a reduction in spending, but not necessarily an equal-sized reduction in deployments. In fact, past recessions have helped to accelerate platform shifts that were in progress. During the 2001-2002 recession, the industry saw a shift away from RISC-based Unix servers and toward x86 server architectures. Linux was a beneficiary of that transition, and that downturn set the stage for the sustained growth of Linux server operating system deployments during much of the current decade.

The current economic crisis is likely to help nudge that adoption forward once again, given the low-cost nature of Linux and the accompanying availability of no-cost Linux solutions. We believe the current economic crisis will also have a net positive impact on the use of virtualization software, which will end up hosting more guest operating systems, including Linux server operating systems.

Despite the apparent upturn, IDC warns the news isn't necessarily a win for Linux server vendors. It claims that in a recession, there is more availability and interest in ultra-low-cost servers — which may lead to more businesses going it alone with non-paid Linux solutions.

And rather than eating Windows' lunch, IDC claims Linux deployments are presently positioned to replace existing Unix installations. Many customers don't see Linux as a viable alternative to existing installed Windows solutions, according to IDC.

Novell, which IDC claims was not involved recruiting participants, has a release on the study here. The IDC whitepaper on the survey results is available yonder. ®

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