Stats Watch: Apps, skills hold Linux back

IBM might be claiming that increasing availability of Linux applications is helping the open source OS hit an adoption "sweet spot", but users don't yet appear to be convinced.

IBM might be claiming that increasing availability of Linux applications is helping the open source OS hit an adoption “sweet spot”, but users don’t yet appear to be convinced.

IBM’s Linux software business head, Scott Handy, says application availability coupled with affordable Intel-based hardware is pushing Big Blue’s Linux sales along at a merry clip (IBM claims Linux growing apace). But when analyst IDC asked New Zealand organisations late last year what was holding back Linux adoption, applications, or the lack of them, were the main stumbling block. Windows users, in contrast, consider themselves to be comparatively well off for applications.

IDC found lots of Linux interest for new server purchases, particularly for security and web-related tasks, but not for database applications. More than half its sample of 300 organisations will have deployed Linux by the end of the year. The chief attraction is price, while lack of Linux skills is another adoption obstacle.

IBM’s Handy says the company will be setting out to promote the message that there are plenty of Linux applications for the taking. Big Blue’s developer partners alone have written 6500, he says.

And while those in IDC’s survey show less eagerness for putting database and ERP applications on Linux, IBM says there are numerous examples of organisations running SAP on the OS.

Overcoming the perception of application scarcity may not be too much of a challenge, if the IDC survey is any indication; the trend is for respondents to spend a growing proportion of their IT budgets on Linux, although from a typically low starting point. The fact that the OS runs on low-cost hardware makes it an attractive choice for new servers, a choice which IDC says tends to be driven from the bottom up of surveyed organisations.

The graph shows how well supplied with applications users of a variety of operating systems consider themselves to be. Windows users are most smug — with good reason — about their application choice.

Email Anthony Doesburg.

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