I think we have eventually reached the tipping point in the growth process of the open source software. I think that the key is in a recent Gartner document – Don’t Skip Windows Vista Entirely – that tells enterprises to upgrade to Windows Vista as Windows 7 might be still 3 years away.
If we look at the contents of the document (unfortunately, we must rely on the press, as the original text is accessible only to subscribers), is just plain common sense: the longer you wait, the steeper will be the upgrade process, the lower will be the support from ISVs, etcetera. In addition, you never know how late will be the next Windows release…
In fact, there is a Gartner research that confirms how disappointing are Vista sales (unfortunately, I’ve found the data only in this Italian web site). Less than 9% of worldwide PCs use Vista (85.1 million out of 981.5 million). In Europe, less than 8% of PCs use Vista (15.4 million out of 206.1 million). Business PCs using Vista are less than 50%.
According to Gartner, companies should therefore migrate to Vista to avoid problems with the aging OS (Windows XP) and not because of the advantages of the new OS. I would say that this is definitely not a compelling proposition! In fact, companies have investigated (or are in the process of investigating) other opportunities…
According to a Forrester study (mentioned in this article): Linux is becoming a credible threat to Windows on the desktop, and will grow over the next year (2008)as its distributors continue to work hard at making it an enterprise-class offering.
The results of the 2007 Linux Desktop Survey, managed by the Linux Foundation, confirm the Forrester perception.
These are John Cherry’s conclusions:
- For the enterprise client, it is really a two horse race with Windows and Linux. Of the companies represented, 57% were running greater than 50% Windows clients and 46.6% were running greater than 50% Linux clients.
- There is an extremely high confidence in using Linux for mission-critical applications (76%).
- 66.1% of the companies responded that Linux was used for client desktops. Many of these are configured as thin clients.
- While Adobe Photoshop came in as the top Windows application that should be ported to Linux (47.5%), the majority (61.8%) indicated that their “best” plan was to use equivalent Linux applications where possible.
- Eclipse wins (32.7%) as the top developer environment, although it was interesting to see that Microsoft Visual Studio pulled 9.9% indicating that many applications are developed on Windows and ported to Linux. The strength of Eclipse is that it can be used on Windows or Linux.
- The top “potential issues” in migrating to Linux is for the support of new devices. In order, missing device driver support was number 1, followed by the quality of peripheral support, application support, and the ability to sync with mobile devices.
Here you can find the opinions of Steven Vaughan-Nichols on the same survey.
Another online survey (PDF) sponsored by KACE, a systems management appliance company, and managed by King Research, comes to a similar set of conclusions:
In response to concerns about unwanted complexity to their heterogeneous IT environments, 44 percent of respondents reported they would consider deployment of alternative operating systems, such as Macintosh and Linux, to avoid migrating to Vista. A mere 13 percent see their company moving all its desktops to Vista.
The most frequently mentioned Windows replacement was Macintosh with 28 percent. Red Hat Linux was cited almost as frequently, with 23 percent. SUSE Linux was cited by a further 18 percent of participants and other Linux platforms were chosen by 9 percent of participants.
InfoWorld and Network World both agree on calling 2008 “the year of Linux”.
I hope it’s goign to be the final small step…
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