LinuxWorld: Linux in government – As in most organizations, Linux creeps in from below

“Nearly every month, there are more reports of federal, state,
and local governments in the United States running Linux on new
applications. Based on the anecdotal evidence, Linux is

“But the few surveys that have been done about Linux in
government tell a somewhat different story. Apparently, the success
of Linux in government is rather relative. According to IDC, over
25 percent of the federal computing installations it surveyed in
1998 used Linux somewhere in the organization. That was nearly
twice the overall Linux use of computing departments nationwide:
16.6 percent of large companies and 12.2 percent of medium-size
companies said they used Linux in some capacity. That difference is
significant, but not as good as the news stories seem to

“The findings of Government Computer News — a trade publication
that covers federal, state, and local governments — are even less
encouraging. In its most recent survey of LAN administrators in the
federal government, the publication found that Linux use increased
by about 10 percent in 1999. That was three times the growth of
Unix use, but Linux started from a much smaller base. The survey
also found that the dominant operating system was Windows NT
Server; about two-thirds of LAN administrators used it.”

“Finally, there is the evidence from the vendors. In February
2000, GTSI, a computer vendor that the federal government
frequently buys from, signed a deal with Red Hat to distribute Red
Hat Linux through federal procurement systems. But nearly a year
later, GTSI’s sales of Linux are so small they barely register. By
that standard, Linux in government — at least at the federal level
— is a dud.”

“What’s happening here?”

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