Momentum behind Linux grows, IDC says

Linux is continuing to gain momentum among both large and small business users, and may sustain that growth with the cautious acceptance of Windows 2000 during the next 12 to 18 months, according to an IDC study released on Tuesday.

In a survey the market researcher conducted among 788 user sites in the US and Canada, 13 per cent of the respondents said they are now using Linux. In a similar study released two years ago, IDC was unable to report any conclusive findings because so few respondents were using the open-source operating system.

"This is an amazing level of growth. Linux is now emerging as a potential competitor to Windows and Unix for some server applications," said Dan Kuznetsky, program director for IDC's operating environments and serverware research programs.

Users said they plan to take their time in rolling out Microsoft's Windows 2000, due to ship by the end of this year, with most indicating they would wait anywhere from six to 18 months to implement the long-awaited operating system in any strategic way.

About 50 per cent of the respondents said they will delay rolling it out to make sure Windows 2000 was technically stable. IDC believes, however, that Windows 2000 will be successful over time.

"Past issues with first-release operating systems from Microsoft have caused organisations to rein in their Windows 2000 deployment plans," said William Petersen, research manager for IDC's client infrastructure software programs.

The results are available in two different reports: "Windows Adoption Windows 98 vs Windows NT Workstation Study" and "Windows NT Server Study".

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