Some days ago, I mentioned that IDC numbers indicate that Linux loses market shares to Windows Server. There is an interesting article on Linux.com claiming that the eWEEK article by Petter Galli that I was referring to in my post, is probably incorrect. There is yet another article from Galli where he responds to some of the critics of his earlier assessment.

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You might say, it is Linux.com, so what else should they write? However, the author, Joe Barr, did some research that makes the eWEEK article seem to be questionable. He contacted IDC and they told him that "Galli hacked that article pretty badly". Unfortunately, Barr doesn't have concrete numbers concerning the IDC study. Instead he presented some data that showed that the revenues of major Linux vendors are growing.

He obviously has a point here. But his reasoning that the data presented in the eWEEK article is wrong is not convincing. The fact that Red Hat and company are doing fine recently, could just indicate that many are moving away from free Linux distributions to the subscription-based versions of big Linux vendors. The overall number of Linux installations might still go down. I think you can read this into the data from NET applications. It is just a pity that they categorize Linux only under "other operating systems".

Other Linux proponents have put forward doubts that IDC's counting is accurate. Some say that it failed to take into account virtualization's impact, others claim the Linux installations on Mainframes have not been considered, and yet others state that it is simply impossible to count the number of Linux systems.

Well, I think it is normal that people who come off badly in a survey try to find their own interpretation of the data. One thing is for sure, though. Windows Server is on the rise. Marc Wilcox from Microsoft Watch sums up the view I had ever since the Linux-Windows debate started:

Bottom line: Linux has never been much of a threat to Windows Server, which has had fairly consistent growth for many years. But Linux's gains against Unix are diminishing.

It always was only Linux against UNIX. People who predicted the decline of Windows year after year simply forgot to look at Microsoft's steady growth in this market. The fact that Linux growth lost its momentum, has probably something to do with the UNIX market, and is not really due to Microsoft. The Microsoft world is too distinct from the Linux/UNIX domain.

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However, I do think that in the future there might be a more direct competition between Linux and Windows. Microsoft has continuously tried to add "UNIX like" features to Windows. In Windows Server 2008 this is more obvious than ever (increased modularity, PowerShell, Server Core etc.).

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