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ComputerWorld: Linux Falls Short Of Becoming a Mainstream OS

May 30, 2001, 21:00 (84 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Gartenberg)

[ Thanks to Brandioch Conner for this link. ]

Here's a former Gartner VP who maintains that Linux has a bright future... as a low end server for web and e-mail hosting, but that isn't ever going anywhere in datacenters or on desktops. "While Linux's acquisition cost may remain low, using it can be penny-wise and pound-foolish."

"In particular, you might be looking to alternative operating systems, such as Linux, as a lower-cost option for some servers or perhaps even desktops. While Linux's acquisition cost may remain low, using it can be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Many in IT feel that Linux is the heir to Microsoft's 32-bit Windows offerings and will soon surpass Windows in volume shipments, but I'm not as sanguine about Linux's prospects for mainstream business, except in specific cases.

For most enterprises, the lower acquisition cost isn't a compelling reason to switch - and for good reason. Windows has achieved a level of nonsubstitutable infrastructure and is tightly linked with the hardware and peripherals vendors, as well as independent software vendors. Nonsubstitutable infrastructure technologies, by definition, support high switching costs (rendering any lower acquisition cost moot). Their total or near-total permeation throughout a business makes the switch difficult to achieve. They boast strong third-party and vendor support, which Linux hasn't achieved, and functionality as a key and underlying integrated technology for other services and mission-critical business applications."

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