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Gartner Group: The Future of Linux and Open Source

Jun 21, 2001, 23:35 (52 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by George Weiss)

By Kevin Reichard

Linux, according to a new report by Gartner Group analyst George Weiss, will continue its evolution to eventually become a mainstay in the enterprise -- but will do so only after some bumps and chasms, and only through the goodwill of established UNIX vendors like IBM and Sun.

"Gartner believes Linux is an evolution -- not a revolution promoting new technology," Weiss writes in a summary of the report. "Its growing acceptance by enterprises is, ironically, dependent in large part on the goodwill of Unix platform vendors. Their stake in the enterprise market is now well-established. Gartner sees continued, gradual acceptance of Linux, but with bumps and chasms along the way."

Weiss broke down Linux development in three stages. The first stage, which ended in 2000, was when early adopters hyped Linux as a broad deployment platform. The second stage, which should run through 2003, has Linux becoming an IT infrastructure platform in specific roles, taking market share from UNIX and Windows NT/2000 as a network or appliance server, and in server farms.

The third stage, which is envisioned from 2003 to 2005, is when Linux is utilized by a wide variety of independent software vendors as a platform for e-business. However, Weiss doesn't see Linux evolving past this point: he says that Linux will not be widely deployed in high-end database-management systems, and he doesn't even address the issue of whether Linux will become a player on the desktop.

"In Phase 3, ISV enthusiasm for Linux will increase selectively," Weiss writes. "However, their enthusiasm will be tempered by the entrenched position of Unix, which has already achieved mission-critical scalability and availability, by the strong Windows 2000 upgrades in the pipeline, and by the potentially heavy cost of migrating to Linux. The ISVs that show the greatest interest and willingness to port to Linux are those that tightly integrate applications in e-business frameworks."

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