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ZDNet: Linux threatens Unix, not Windows

Oct 05, 2001, 20:11 (35 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Larry Seltzer)
"Unless you've had your head under a rock for the last several years, you know that Linux has been gaining a considerable amount of attention and even market share. Through the use of shallow thinking and logical fallacies, many conclude, therefore, that Windows is losing market share to Linux. In fact, Linux is only rarely in competition with Windows. The real threat from Linux is to the establishment Unix versions, principally Sun's Solaris.

Everyone knows that in the desktop market Linux has no traction. There is an honest question of what it would take for Linux to gain some desktop market share, and the failure of companies like VA Linux and Dell to sell Linux desktops is a pretty clear sign that few people currently want to buy them. Certainly there are lots (depending on your definition of "lots") of people who do run Linux on desktop systems, but they're a teeny minority. I have my own theories for why they are likely to stay a teeny minority, but I'll get into that some other time. For the issue at hand though, ironically, Linux is not much of a desktop threat to big company Unix versions because those too have little in the way of desktop market share.

Much more interesting is the state of the server OS business. It's harder to get a feel for this from just talking to people and the publicly available research seems a little less trustworthy to me. One key thing I look at is the platforms for which third parties are selling products, and those are mostly Windows, Linux and Solaris. Almost everyone with a commercial server product to sell offers a version for Windows NT/2000; most of them have a Unix or Linux version, possibly both. You can't glean much from this other than that there are a lot of people running Windows and Linux/Unix servers."

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