Businesses should embrace Linux or risk losing control over
their IT infrastructure by driving the operating system
Andrew Butler, a research director at GartnerGroup, advises
businesses to have an open Linux strategy.
"A lot of organisations see Linux as a threat. They fear it
represents a free spirit which doesn't gel with their conservative
approach," he said during Gartner's first UK briefing dedicated to
"They are nervous about a product that is free or cheap. But if
they try to suppress interest they risk subversive proliferation of
Linux which could mean losing control of the IT infrastructure," he
The biggest driver of Linux adoption identified by Gartner is a
low initial cost, followed by reliability and uptime, low on-going
cost of operations and few bugs. Looking for a Microsoft
alternative is last on the list.
"Autonomous departments within organisations see the cost and
simplicity of setting up a website and will not necessarily solicit
the approval of the IT department," said Butler. "The ease of
purchase and deployment exacerbates the problem creating hotbeds of
enthusiasm over Linux."
Gartner's message is "don't be scared", said Butler. "Evaluate
Linux as you would Windows 2000 or Unix and plan how best it should
Butler recommends that "users with Unix experience and related
infrastructure services should assign in-house programmers and Lan
integrators to try out Linux deployments in appliance-like services
such as proxy, cache, firewall, mail and intranets."
However, he recommends that users with a risk-averse strategy
should "avoid major commitments to Linux through 2000".
Steps to qualifying Linux are determining the roles for Linux,
making an impact study, driving high level buy-in, planning and
leveraging resources, skills and cost, delegating open source
project leader, understanding distributor and vendor strategies,
and assessing vendor support and service.
Butler urges users to "use Linux as competitive pressure on
Microsoft in negotiating licensing costs and services".
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