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Survey: Linux makes inroads in the corporation, but roadblocks remain

Red Hat and Sun lead in brand awareness; VA Linux trails

  • March 19, 2001
  • By Kevin Reichard

By Kevin Reichard

Linux has made tremendous inroads into the corporate-computing world, according to a survey of IT professionals by internet.com Corp. (the publisher of this site), with 39 percent of the respondents reporting that they are already using Linux, with another 31 percent currently exploring Linux usage. However, Linux usage remains well behind operating systems such as Microsoft's NT and Sun's Solaris.

The study, "Linux: You Get What You Pay For?," found that most popular use for Linux is as the operating system behind a Web server, where two-thirds of the respondents report using Linux. Roughly half report using Linux as an Internet access server or a network/file server. One-third of the respondents who reported using Linux use Linux for general desktop usage.

According to the survey, nearly 80 percent of current Linux users value the operating system for its superior, more stable performance. But among non-Linux users, ease of use, ease of upgrades, vendor support, and good documentation are important criteria when selecting an operating system.

Other barriers to widespread adoption of Linux for survey respondents include a general lack of software that can run on the platform, especially enterprise applications and e-commerce applications; lack of a strong robust file system; and few administration tools and backup support.

Internet.com's survey also examined Linux vendors, and found that Red Hat is the most well known -- familiar to 79 percent of the respondents and recognized as a major player in the Linux market by 55 percent of the respondents. (Among all vendors supporting Linux, Sun Microsystems was identified as familiar most often among respondents.) Even among non-Linux users, two-thirds have heard of Red Hat. However, the survey shows that Linux vendors still face an upward climb among IT professionals: 35 percent of the respondents said they didn't know who the major players in the Linux market were, while only 18 percent of respondents were familiar with VA Linux as a Linux vendor -- the same percentage that were familiar with LinuxOne and a lower percentage that identified Zend, Rebel, and Transmeta as Linux/Open Source vendors.

The survey was conducted among members of internet.com's 4,351-member Technology Advisory Panel, which was recruited from the audience of internet.com's audience. Survey questions covered what Linux applications were used and in what context, how happy respondents were with Linux, what Linux distributions were used (Red Hat, Linux-Mandrake, SuSE, etc.), how respondents acquired Linux, and how satisfied they were in their Linux usage.

The report is available from internet.com's AllNetR esearch. The price is $199, and it can be ordered online.

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