This commentary by some Meta Group analysts says Linux is a
"tactical solution" that is "unlikely to displace Windows or the
proprietary versions of Unix now used on virtually all desktops and
servers in commercial environments."
"Desktop system makers have a definite reason to prefer
to provide Linux rather than Windows to their customers--they don't
need to pay a licensing fee for Linux. The question is, how many of
their customers will be satisfied with Linux. The answer, at least
regarding desktop use, is "very few."
On the server side, all of the major server companies, except
Dell, have their own proprietary versions of Unix to market. While
they might not be happy selling systems running Windows NT--and
therefore paying a licensing fee to Microsoft--they also do not
want Linux as another competitor to their proprietary Unix versions
on their hardware. Success for Linux on servers will come in part
at the expense of the proprietary Unix versions, not just from the
Windows NT share of the market.
The one part of the market where Linux has gained real momentum
is embedded systems. Here, the maker wants an operating system that
can be highly customized for a specific use, will control how the
embedded system is used, and is free from licensing fees. This is
cutting into low-end Windows sales, but its impact on Microsoft
will remain limited."