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Analysts Get Hit By Cluestick?

Apr 11, 2008, 22:30 (14 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

By Brian Proffitt
Managing Editor

Some headlines of note:

The Linux Beacon: Linux Market to Triple by 2012 (March 11)
ZDNet: Gartner Report Forecasts Bad News, Good News for Open Source (April 1)
internetnews.com: IDC: Linux-Related Spending Could Top $49B by 2011 (April 8)
Between the Lines: Gartner: Windows Collapsing Under Its Own Weight; Radical Change Needed (April 9)

See the pattern? It might not be entirely evident from the headlines, but if you read the articles, it will become immediately clear: these positive statements about Linux and negative statements about Windows are courtesy of analysts.

What's going on here? Is it a sign of the apocalypse? Did (as some wags amongst us might suggest) Redmond forget to send in a check? Or is it, as we all have known for what seems like forever, the inevitability of open source and Linux as a force to contend with in IT?

I tend to believe in the latter. As many readers know, I have never been one to put much stock in the universal "bought and paid for" mentality that many in the open source community have about analysts and their sponsors. I will certainly concede that it is a problem in certain instances, but no industry is perfect and people do use poor judgment.

That said, I don't think that all analysts everywhere are up for sale. Most of the analysts I know tend to be honest and try to do their best reporting what they perceive are the facts.

It should be noted that the IDC report about Linux-related spending hitting nearly $50 billion in three years was sponsored by the Linux Foundation, and presented to their Collaboration Summit's audience this week. Based on the information in the articles, it is not known who sponsored the Research and Markets report and the two Gartner reports. You can bet, however, if they were sponsored, it wasn't by Redmond. When analysts deliver negative reports, they hardly ever see the light of day.

So, can we take all of this good news at face value? Obviously, I would like to think so, and so would many of you. But, like many analyst reports, it should not be taken as gospel, even if we really like the message that's being delivered.

Any analyst report is based on what's known at the present time. It's a sure bet that companies negatively impacted by these reports will try to adjust their strategies, and in six months we might have a whole new set of predictions.

Still, like the aviation metaphor I used last week regarding desktop surveys, I think we should all pay attention to the broader trend that's being shown now: that Linux is on a clear path to the future and (in its present form) Windows' path is more treacherous.

That's a take-away many of us should appreciate.