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Linux Growth In The Workplace Slowing

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the chugga-chugga dept.

Linux Business 181

BrainSurgeon writes "According to a Business Week article Linux growth numbers have slowed for the first time since SG Cowen & Co. began tracking it on their survey. The biggest reason for the slow down according is due to the hidden cost of consultants." From the article: "That doesn't mean overall Linux use is slowing. The survey only shows that a smaller number of companies not using Linux plan to try the software than in previous surveys. Most analysts expect Linux use to grow at the companies that have already rolled it out -- and do so at a healthy rate. And analysts say Linux is picking up steam outside North America, which the Cowen survey doesn't cover."

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751090)

fp

IT'S OFFICIAL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751095)

Netcraft has confirmed that Linux is dying off! It is in today's newsletter.

I thought... (1, Troll)

kukickface (675936) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751098)

that open source software wasn't going to lock anybody in? Now it seems like a "We've spent too much to go back" kind of scenario.

it's a botched management analysis (1, Insightful)

BitterAndDrunk (799378) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751132)

"We've spent too much to go back" means that the manager is an idiot and doesn't understand the concept of sunk costs.

Re:I thought... (3, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751136)

Thsi has nothing to do with open versus closed. The same holds true for any technical architecture investment. Once you've made the investment in time and money, it's vcery expensive to switch, whether it's from closed to open or vice versa.

Re:I thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751343)

Yes, that was the granparent's point. Lock-in doesn't go away with F/OSS.

Re:I thought... (0, Redundant)

winkydink (650484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751637)

Then I missed it. Sorry.

Re:I thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751412)

No way this is flamebait. Assholes.

Lock in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751139)

It locks you in to "open source software". It doesn't lock you in to an open source software vendor. Nobody ever said open source means the end of compatibility issues and network effects, what it means is a choice of software suppliers.

Re:Lock in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751376)

"It doesn't lock you in to an open source software vendor."

Of course it does. If you rely on any unique aspect of a vendor's distro, you're locked-in.

Re:Lock in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751652)

This is the entire point. You can't maintain uniqueness when your customer-- and thus your competitors-- have the complete source code to the project.

Re:I thought... (2, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751151)

No, the biggest danger of lock-in is the "We can't go forward [because either or vendor is out of business or they're trying to bleed us dry now that they've got us hooked]." Free Software mostly eliminates those problems, because there's always a new vendor that can take over the management of your current technology.

But there isn't always someone to take over... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 9 years ago | (#12752216)

Free Software mostly eliminates those problems, because there's always a new vendor that can take over the management of your current technology.

That's really not true, you know. If Sun stopped supporting Star/OpenOffice, or the guys at MySQL gave up and went home, I'd give you great odds that it would pretty much kill future development of the corresponding product as well, open source or not. You might get the occasional bug fix or minor patch, but that's probably it.

The harsh reality is that just because you've got the source code to something doesn't mean you can instantly be an expert in how it's been designed and all the little things that were learned along the way, nor competent to continue development as if you were the original dev team. This has nothing to do with being open source; classical closed source businesses have been facing this dilemma as a matter of HR management for as long as there's been software development. Moreover, even a relatively weak dev team doing this stuff professionally usually generates better documentation than most F/OSS projects seem to, and there's usually more continuity even if some of the original development staff leave.

Open source projects that are widely distributed in more than one version by somewhat independent groups -- in other words, Linux -- are a good bet for future-proofing. Open source projects that are widely distributed in only one version with only a few core developers -- in other words, pretty much everything else, including the other big names -- are not good bets. In fact, if future-proofing is your biggest concern, the most robust option is to get it written in-house, with an emphasis on good documentation and testing procedures, and with solid management overseeing the work. Failing that, you might well be better off going with something provided by a megacorp that employs vast numbers of developers and has vast financial reserves.

Re:I thought... (2, Insightful)

Zeebs (577100) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751154)

All aspects of business can suffer this fate. It is not as much a software problem then a "We've spent the money, try and get something back with/from it" problem. Everything a business does costs money so everything can suffer this, even free open source software. You've confused gratis free and libre free.

So.. surveys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751101)

So in other words it isn't even Linux growth slowing, it's Linux's imaginary growth slowing?

Re:So.. surveys? (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751368)

Makes you wonder about the the absolute value of the study, doesn't it? It's important to know when the issue is complex, if you want to determine what is real.

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751105)

first post

How does it compare with Windows growth? (3, Interesting)

bc90021 (43730) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751111)

Is it slowing too? In which case, this is a sign of overall growth slowing... or is it just a Linux thing?

Re:How does it compare with Windows growth? (1, Offtopic)

rovingeyes (575063) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751147)

May be windows is kicking its butt [casper.ru]

VOTE NO! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751221)

NO SELLOUT!
NO UNBRIDLED INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY!
NO BOLKESTEIN!
NO WINDOWS!
NO POWERPOINT!
NO!

(slashdot likes lower case letters, so i have to append a paragraph of nonsense to make it happy. meow, meow, i'm a cat. a very teeny tiny kitten!)

Re:VOTE NO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751275)

No Juncker!

Re:How does it compare with Windows growth? (3, Insightful)

Dink Paisy (823325) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751231)

In the sense they are reporting, Windows growth has been approximately zero for years. When you have a presences in every company, it's hard to increase the percentage of companies that are considering your software. The article does mention one company switching from Linux to Windows because they can't afford consultants to write Linux applications that their in-house Windows team can write at a third the price, but that is not the main point. The conclusion seems to be that Linux usually comes in as a proprietary UNIX replacement, and most companies with proprietary UNIX systems have already mixed in some Linux as well.

Obligatory Simpsons quotation (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751746)

Homer: Here's good news! According to this eye-catching article, SAT scores are declining at a slower rate!

Re:How does it compare with Windows growth? (1)

matt me (850665) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751327)

Microsoft - "please buy our latest identical piece software, even if you have it already, we need you, no, you're not buying? that's a criminal offence."

Slowing growth (1)

techwrench (586424) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751115)

With every new annoucenment from MS, it seems someone, somewhere states this.

YES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751539)

Micro$oft (heehee, see how I made the "s" a dollar sign? It's because Microsoft likes money!) is using every trick in the book (like selling stable, supported software with a high ROI) to try to stop the powerful threat (slashdot, kids in basements declaring that businesses love Linux) that they see coming (2% and growing)!

Soon (never), Linux will be the number 1 (behind Windows, BSD, Mac OS X, Solaris, AIX, QNX, DOS, and probably OS/2) operating system for businesses (who don't mind paying smelly college students eight dollars an hour to admin (replace toner carts in copiers, run to staples for legal pads)) their Linux boxes (cheap x86s built from parts of old Windows boxes)!

Apple is poised ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751135)

to seize market share from Linux.

There's only room for one pretender, and
Bill Gates wants it to be Steve Jobs, not
Linux Torvolds.

Oh well, we tried.

In other news.... (-1, Offtopic)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751143)

Debian has gone years without a new release, Apple disspells rumours of moving to Intel.....

oh wait...

I am not surprised (5, Interesting)

Skiron (735617) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751144)

BACK TO MICROSOFT. Take Independence Air, a low-cost Washington (D.C.) carrier that had been running the reservation system on its Web site with Linux. The company, which uses Microsoft's Windows operating systems in most other pieces of its business, needed to hire consultants who could write code for Linux, since its Windows developers couldn't.

What can 'Windows developers' do? Use a mouse?

And if this statement is to do with the code running on a web server (Apache, I presume), then even more so I feel they hired the wrong 'developers' to begin with.

Just more FUD - move along.

Re:I am not surprised (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751252)

I can't read a text file!!! I can't use an ODBC interface to our server backend!!! This is way over our heads!

I don't do a lot of programming anymore, but integrating an opensource backend with a Windows frontend is a cakewalk compared to going the other way.

I'm guessing that their programmers do nothing more than generate some stupid crystal reports from a SQL database.

You are probably right. (5, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751444)

HTML doesn't vary between servers. (Duh!) Neither does PHP. Cold Fusion could be a problem - but Cold Fusion is always a problem. :)


Java servlets? Java is Java is Java. Perl is, well, Perl. :) Python is most definitely Python.


What does that leave? Well, ASP. asp2php and other conversion tools help, but that would need new skills. MySQL and PostgreSQL are different from Access and SQL Server, but the GUI managers out there are plenty good.


There's the business of configuring Apache, but there are GUI tools for that, too. In fact, between the excellent stand-along GUI tools you can get off Freshmeat, that come with Fedora, or are provided with Webmin, I can't think of much you can't do with Linux in a purely graphical context.


This means that when people complain that Linux isn't "friendly enough", what they really mean is that they're determined not to like it, that when they complain they can't use it, what they really mean is that they don't want to.


There's nothing wrong with choosing not to like something, but it is better to be honest about the fact that it often IS a choice and not something intrinsic about the target.

Re:You are probably right. (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 9 years ago | (#12752243)

What does that leave?

Win32 and/or MFC.

Re:I am not surprised (4, Insightful)

SQLz (564901) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751468)

What can 'Windows developers' do? Use a mouse?

No, they make programs so other windows people can point and click their way to IT glory.

Seriously though I agree but it depends. I mean, if you take a VCC guy and ask him for a KDE app, he *SHOULD* be able to do it with a little studying. If the server application in question is just some database interface or server program, the code is 99% the same. Sounds like laziness to me.

What BS (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751470)

Try getting a job with a company that wants someone with a Unix programming background and tell them you have experience programming for Windows or VMS or some other non-Unix OS. Do you think they might be asking for that experience for a reason?

Try the reverse. Try landing a job doing Windows programming when you've only had Unix/Linux experience. Again, do you think they might be asking for that experience for a reason?

Re:What BS (1)

ndogg (158021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12752042)

Any developer who is so limited in that manner isn't a very good developer. A good developer should be able to learn a new system quickly enough to program for it.

Re:I am not surprised (1)

CrkHead (27176) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751501)

When I read that line it sounded like he needed to hire developers rather than contract out his code.

Can an army of mouse junkies be considered a means of illegaly maintaining a monopoly?

Hmmm (4, Insightful)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751170)

What kind of developers, Windows or otherwise, can't learn how to write PHP or Qt/GTKmm based C++? They're not exactly new development paradigms or anything.

I suspect the company quoted in the article had a lot of developers who knew what they liked and liked what they knew. The idea of learning a new OS and new APIs didn't really appeal to them, so they just said "we can't do it!" and went off to hire new people.

I dunno. The other theory sounds more likely - Linux is competing very well with older UNIX based installations but isn't attacking the low end server market as well as it could (ASP compatibility?). And desktop is still at the "we're starting to take this seriously" stage rather than "mass deployment every week" stage.

I read somewhere that this study was itself funded indirectly by Microsoft, but who knows. The survey data seems credible. That said a reduction in the number of groups who said they were planning to evaluate it dropping a bit doesn't necessarily mean growth is slowing. Maybe it just means a lot of them got around to it? ;)

Re:Hmmm (1)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751293)

What kind of developers, Linux or otherwise, can't learn how to write VC++ or C#? They're not exactly new development paradigms or anything.

I suspect the company quoted in the article had a lot of developers who knew what they liked and liked what they knew. The idea of learning a new OS and new APIs didn't really appeal to them, so they just said "we can't do it!" and went off to hire new people.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751809)

I know a number Linux programmers capable of writing Windows applications in C# and C++.

Re:Hmmm (3, Insightful)

insert cool name (889389) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751351)

What kind of developers, Windows or otherwise, can't learn how to write PHP or Qt/GTKmm based C++?

VB developers.

Re:Hmmm (1)

matt me (850665) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751449)

Maybe... but wouldn't that mean we've reached saturation?

Reminds me of strange piece in NewScientist recently. "Fresh AIDs cases drop in India - This year, the WHO estimates only 100,000 new cases of aids ocurred, as opposed to 500,000 the year before, halting a trend since records began. However, this may be due to a change in the method use to estimate the value made by the WHO". I thought no, hang on, according to those figures, the number of new cases must have dropped cos of the 1 billion ppl in India, they've all got it. No, AIDs isn't funny. Maybe. Team America - "Everybody got's AIDs, AIDs, AIDs..."

Re:Hmmm (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751768)

It's interesting that Independent Air is mentioned. They are also mentioned in a Microsoft case study on their website. See here [microsoft.com]

Will it matter in the long run? (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751171)

Once DRM becomes mandated on all PC hardware, who in the OSS community will be able to afford to be 'certified'. Not many..

At that point only the 'big boys' will be able to play..

Microsoft has a *lot* of money in the bank, and can afford to be very patient on regaining their domination..

Re:Will it matter in the long run? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751251)

Microsoft has a *lot* of money in the bank, and can afford to be very patient on regaining their domination

But not without your agreement. Vote no!

Re:Will it matter in the long run? (1)

matt me (850665) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751301)

> Once DRM becomes mandated on all PC hardware I don't think so. Hardware companies are catching on that such moves offend a growing number of uses, cutting sales. Hence recent chips have included DRM as a internal option. And that suits me fine. I can go in to my computer and switch it off. Someone who buys a Windows OEM PC from Dell from Hell for three times it's true value, can have DRM enabled when it arrives and not have a clue how to change it.

Re:Will it matter in the long run? (1)

fendragon (841926) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751841)

Once DRM becomes mandated on all PC hardware..
If that happens, maybe Linux users will switch to other platforms like the new Apple x86 based hardware, or some of the 10 other platforms you can currenly run Linux on.
(maybe)

Re:Will it matter in the long run? (1)

compm375 (847701) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751988)

Do you really think the Apple x86 hardware won't have DRM? Apple won't allow OSX to run on anything other than its own hardware. To me that sounds like DRM. Other than that, I agree with your point. In fact, I bet Linux will end up running on a lot of those soon to be obsolete PPC computers.

Re:Will it matter in the long run? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12752026)

If that happens, maybe Linux users will switch to other platforms like the new Apple x86 based hardware

I'd rather have no computer than a mac.

Re:Will it matter in the long run? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751924)

At that point only the 'big boys' will be able to play..

since when has it been any different?

if business wants drm they will get it from apple or red hat, no matter how loud rms can be heard screaming in the background.

in the american home market/soho market, there is no chance of a distro, an oem install, gaining traction unless, like apple, it can make its peace with drm.

Microsoft has a *lot* of money in the bank, and can afford to be very patient on regaining their domination..

by the numbers, microsoft still rules.

Liars, Damned Liars and Statisticians... (3, Interesting)

the_rajah (749499) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751183)

in that order. You can make the numbers say anything with sufficient qualifications. Oh, and it's only in the US, not world-wide. Read the article carefully. It doesn't mean Linux adoption on a per user basis is slowing, as I read it, the growth rate of new companies using it is slowing. Hardly time to get out the black armbands..

Not only in the US. (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751230)

"Oh, and it's only in the US, not world-wide. Read the article carefully"

The article said that they surveyed North America. North Americaa includes three large populous nations and several smaller ones. Only one of these is the US. North America is not world-wide, of course, but it certainly is not just the US.

Thanks... (1)

the_rajah (749499) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751314)

Appreciate the clarification. Guess I didn't read it carefully enough..

Re:Liars, Damned Liars and Statisticians... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751496)

So you're saying that all those statistics that show that Linux has been growing all these years are wrong. Or is it just the numbers that are negative toward Linux that are wrong?

Growing costs of consultants...? (2, Funny)

Infinityis (807294) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751184)

If the problem is the hidden-yet-growing costs of consultants, I think we can solve this by

1. Outsource consulting to India.
2. Due to labor shortage, India re-outsources back to us
3. ????
4. Profit!

Re:Growing costs of consultants...? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751268)

1) outsource consulting to india (tax deductable)
2) India re-outsources back to us (as consultants)
3) get paid to do your usual job while also getting the tax break
4) Profit!

Growth Slowing but still growing (3, Interesting)

Mutilated1 (836311) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751187)

Well just because the growth is slowing doesn't mean that its not still growing. The HPs and IBMs of the world already are using Linux, but the smaller businesses aren't really leading the way with Linux. At my company ( about 500 employess ) we are just this year using Linux for some servers, and I know several other companys that are just starting to use Linux too. So even though these companys are small, as machines age more and more of them will be replaced, and more and more of them are being replaced with something other than Microsoft. Maybe it won't happen overnight, but it will happen none the less.

Without knowing the error margin, we can't say. (2, Informative)

khasim (1285) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751526)

They say their survey shows reduce interest in Linux
in North American Companies
that have not deployed Linux.

But they don't state their error margin.
http://www.resolutions.co.nz/sample_sizes.htm [resolutions.co.nz]

So, given those numbers, unless shown otherwise, the difference between the two surveys is ... statistically zero.

But that doesn't get the big headlines, so they play up the difference between the two surveys because people don't know enough about surveys and statistics to know that there might not be as big a difference as is claimed.

As you noted, the REAL question is: What is the adoption rate doing? And we won't know that until a year from now. Even a 1% gain a year means that, eventually, every company except Microsoft and Sun will be running Linux.

And even then, we'd need to know the error margin to know whether there is a statistically valid increase or decrease.

Re:Growth Slowing but still growing (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751813)

I know a lot of companies who are trying it out. Turning boxes into firewalls, trying it out for fileservers - that sort of thing.

Linux is dying (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751229)

It's official, Linux is dying!

In other news.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751257)

...a competing study notes that the situation is not quite as hopeless as it sounds, since the rate at which Linux growth is slowing, is actually decreasing.

Nice spin (1)

PoderOmega (677170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751258)

That doesn't mean overall Linux use is slowing. The survey only shows that a smaller number of companies not using Linux plan to try the software than in previous surveys.

Uhh.. right. So the the survey shows less linux use, but that might not be true because the survey might be wrong. Is that what this line is implying??? OK so you've just established the survey is worthless? Or only when linux use goes down?

Re:Nice spin (1)

Kihaji (612640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751355)

No, the survey is showing the the adoption of Linux is slowing. The use is still growing, but it is mostly growing in the companies that are already using it.

Simple (3, Interesting)

kf6auf (719514) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751366)

It's really quite simple: the first derivative of linux use (growth) is positive, but the second derivative (acceleration) is negative. Let's just all hope that the third derivative is positive.

double standard? (1)

xintegerx (557455) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751259)

"That doesn't mean overall Linux use is slowing. The survey only shows that a smaller number of companies not using Linux plan to try the software than in previous surveys. Most analysts expect Linux use to grow at the companies that have already rolled it out -- and do so at a healthy rate. And analysts say Linux is picking up steam outside North America, which the Cowen survey doesn't cover."

Even a negative report about Linux instantly becomes a positive one on Slashdot. :)

The biggest limiting factor of Linux growth in the workplace is actually simple. After your computer has been immobolized by 188 pieces of spyware (by SpyBot's count), the extra Linux partition confuses the system restore CDs from Dell and Compaq that you try to boot with.

Hold on (1)

Lifewish (724999) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751369)

If you have linux dual-booted then why not just use that to assault the spyware?

Re:Hold on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12752053)

Because I'm a PHB

Probably growing faster in mid to small economies (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751262)

Where cost is more of an issue for boxen in comparison to talent.

Places like China etc which probably aren't being measured, since they're not the EU or US.

And if there are sales there, the price per unit shipped would be less, since the market won't bear higher premium prices, and thus would show up as "lower growth in sales amounts" which is what they measure.

Standard Gartner hype curve (3, Interesting)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751265)

It can just mean that linux is normalizing. People are not able to hype it anymore to get it into a company. This can be the best thing, since where it gets in, it will stay, and that way slowly gain market share.

LIES (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751279)

ALL LIES

EXCUSE ME

...but (1, Flamebait)

mr_tommy (619972) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751286)

You what? The "FUD" that Microsoft had been saying about Linux in terms of cost turned out to be true? Who'd have guessed it?! It turns out that in real world, it does cost money to move over to new systems, train people and get support!

Re:...but (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751771)

You what? The "FUD" that Microsoft had been saying about Linux in terms of cost turned out to be true? Who'd have guessed it?! It turns out that in real world, it does cost money to move over to new systems, train people and get support!

Oh, please. No one with a brain ever claimed that there were no ancillary costs involved in using Linux. The FUD that Microsoft spreads, and that people like you seem determined to help them spread, goes like this: the ancillary costs associated with Linux are higher than those associated with Windows; higher enough, in fact, that Windows is cheaper overall. Which, now that I think of it, doesn't even deserve a fancy name like "FUD" -- the simple, old-fashioned word "bullshit" is quite sufficient.

You don't need consultants... (1)

PenguinBoyDave (806137) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751310)

If you had a product like Interstructures you'd get by with your Windoze guys.

http://www.interstructures.com/ [interstructures.com]

It means that most adopted... (1)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751323)

And not much are out there left without a GNU/Linux server.

Multiplatform Deployments (5, Interesting)

maynard (3337) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751338)

Take Independence Air, a low-cost Washington (D.C.) carrier that had been running the reservation system on its Web site with Linux. The company, which uses Microsoft's Windows operating systems in most other pieces of its business, needed to hire consultants who could write code for Linux, since its Windows developers couldn't.

"That cost was killing me," says Stephen Shaffer, Independence's director of software systems. After eight months, he replaced the system with Windows and a batch of other Microsoft applications, which he believes will cut his costs by 70% a year.

Naturally, Microsoft sees the Cowen survey as proof that Linux is finding resistance. "This data completely validates what I've seen," says Martin Taylor, Microsoft's general manager for platform strategy. Not only is Linux maxing out on Unix users but it's not finding new customers among stalwart Windows users, he says.

These statements are skewed to show that Independence Air's Linux deployment cost too much in consultant fees, and therefore Linux is "expensive" to deploy in comparison to Windows. But they really say no such thing. Independence Air's problem was not its Linux deployment, but the fact that it chose to deploy a small part of their infrastructure without in house knowledge. They already had hired a Windows skill base, and therefore the comparison in utility between their Windows skillset for the entire Windows deployment against a small Linux deployment was bound to come out poorly for Linux. One sees savings with Linux in scale, not individually. Deploy hundreds of hosts and you'll save huge. Deploy a few hosts to drive a small piece of corporate infrastructure and not only will the savings be marginal, but you may have to hire external help to support the deployment.

So. Don't deploy Linux for small tasks if you're already heavily invested in an alternate technology. Duh. But to claim poor savings across the board as a result of this anecdote is simply stupid. With in house Linux (or UNIX) personnel and a large deployment - of course you'll save big. Which is why the UNIX houses have dumped commercial UNIX desktops for Linux. And why so many have dumped all their small UNIX servers for Linux (and BSD) on Intel. Because it's cheap. Very cheap (and cost effective). --M

Re:Also (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 9 years ago | (#12752223)


Notice the absence of real dollars, as opposed to terminology like "70%". 70% of what? 70% doesn't mean much if you don't have a frame of reference.

Meaningful survey results? (4, Insightful)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751340)

Funny thing. At my company, they're using Linux quite a lot and they don't even know it. Granted, this is an industrial company, but computers are used throughout the company. I slowly switched systems running Windows to Linux and FreeBSD over the years. Currently, all of our networking functions are based on these OSes, as are quite a few applications. While the desktops continue to run Windows, the employees don't know that their files are stored on one of several servers, for example. Even the boss doesn't know. He is always concerned about getting things shipped on time, ensuring high quality output, and that sort of thing, and he has no involvement in the geeky computer stuff, where I take care of everything. Little does he know that half of the computers in his company run free software!

The point is: Many companies say they're not switching or thinking about switching, and many of these same companies have no idea that they use this stuff. The people being asked are not necessarily the ones who know. And as I've shown, not only at my employer's company, but also at some other places I've moonlighted for as a poor-man's IT consultant of sorts, many functions can be switched over to Linux to gain higher robustness. The servers running this stuff can be in a closet somewhere. I install everything, back it up, turn it on, and then they forget that it exists, because it Just Works (tm).

So I'm not too sure that these survey results are meaningful.

Re:Meaningful survey results? (1)

iabervon (1971) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751873)

Your company shouldn't be counted in this statistic, because this is looking at the change in the number of companies using or considering Linux; you're using it already and expanding your use isn't counted. I suspect that Linux in the US is closing in on the point where everyone has considered it and either formed a plan for switching things or decided not to switch anything. There's plenty more growth to go in companies expanding their Linux use, but that's a different metric.

Re:Meaningful survey results? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 9 years ago | (#12752049)

stealth deployments bite when their maintainer departs for greener pastures.

Re:Meaningful survey results? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12752196)

Summary: "I don't think this IT survey talked to IT people."

Re:Meaningful survey results? (1)

endeavour31 (640795) | more than 9 years ago | (#12752238)

Though it is nice that you can switch infrastructure without anyone knowing or caring I think that is the exception rather than the rule. Any company where Management, at least in IS, keeps tabs on things will not be so easy.

I work in Finance where regulators appear annually and change managment is strictly enforced. As much as I like the idea of adding some OSS the case I would have to make to justify such a move is too great. Like it or not my firm is tied to Microsoft and - God Forbid - running on Server 2003 has been actually quite nice. Because both the box applications and in-house solutions require MS I wont see any MySQL or BSD running on servers anytime soon.

However, taking care of a medium-sized MS network has been quite nice. And I would never have thought I'd say that! Lock users down with global policies and spyware is not a problem.

It's the Dvorak effect!!! (1)

bushlick_bill (716163) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751345)

Now everything John C. says is going to come true... can't you see it? If his next prediction is "Bill Gates and Steve Jobs will become co-Emperors of the Known Universe", I'm packing it in.

Read between the lines (2, Interesting)

coolsva (786215) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751350)

Only 7% of outfits with no Linux servers plan to add some over the next year.
Can we safely assume that we are approaching the limit of diminishing returns, all those who are amicable to convert, have already done so.
Also, this doesnt mean Linux is slowing/stopping. Companies with some servers would definitely go forward with more, thus growing the overall Linux implementations.

Re:Read between the lines (1)

picklepuss (749206) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751683)

This is exactly what I was thinking. If all the companies with no linux servers last year have linux servers this year, then they fall out of the category. This seems like Linux is actually acheiving a pretty good conversion rate to me. If the number for this year were closer to 0%, it would indicate that a huge percentage of companies who were planning on running Linux for the first time have actually done so. And that would probably be a good thing.

Tux in a Suit (0, Troll)

Le Marteau (206396) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751392)

Goddamit, Tux would not be wearing a suit! Makes him look gay. I know Taco probably thinks it's cute, but to those of us who fight the battle against the ass kissing, back-slapping, glad-handing, Big Bertha swinging, BMW driving, Hamptons vactioning, outsourcing, pro-actively lay-offing idiots in suspenders on a daily basis, it's just plain offensive.

Taco, it's is the MANAGERS who would USE liunx that would be wearing the suits, not Tux!

another Microsoft sponsored study (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751418)

This time we are looking at a more indirectly sponsored study by Microsoft. You might want to look up who is behind SG Cowen & Co. LLC and you'll see they are largly owned by Société Générale, a large French bank that is one of the major investors of Microsoft.

Sorry, but as everyone knows Linux is gaining market share very rapidly. Nice try...

Propagating the FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751423)

I'm getting tired of hearing these doom and gloom stories repeated on and on as if there were truth to them.

What's the margin of error? Who actually responded? Who paid for this research?

And most importantly, WHO CARES? It'll be there, at some pace, constantly whittling away at MS's user base. It can do so at glacial speed, but it will not stop. Linux is not in a hurry, does not care about quarterly revenue reports, and does not care about some superficial "war" with anyone else. It just plods along, doing what it does best, and gets better all along.

The Second Coming (4, Funny)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751426)

First, Apple switches to Intel. Then, Sarge is released. Hell freezes over and pigs fly. And to make matters worse, Dvorak said that Apple's switch to Intel will harm Linux.

And now, we see that it has come to pass [slashdot.org] mere hours after that appeared on Slashdot!

I guess the Second Coming is happening tomorrow.

Dogbert had something to say about consulting... (0, Troll)

suitepotato (863945) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751495)

...being about con and insult, two favorite things of his.

That came to mind when I read this both for the consultants part and also for the fact that my intelligence has been insulted by an attempted con at trying to make me think Linux is ready to go anywhere near business desktops.

The same people who can't manage Windows, can barely use AOL, they're going to make work efficiently an OS which is the orgasmic manna for geeks firmly of the "difficult is beautiful" mindset? Yeah, right. Maybe the server department, but I don't think any of the middle aged women in my family, who've worked XP Pro, NT4, OS/2 Warp 3, DOS 6, DOS 5, Windows for Workgroups 3.11, on their company desktops are going to be remotely interested in another paradigm shifting without a clutch.

If I had to use Gnome or KDE at work all day, I'd want to strangle someone. If it was Red Hat or Fedora underneath, I would merely choke them to unconsciousness. If it was Debian, to a coma. If it was Gentoo, straight to the grave. BSD is right out.

Little did those who suffered in the early years of Unix ever realize that their kids would one day be masochists on a level undreamt of even by the Marquis de Sade and actually find Unix cool. "Waitaminute, you said DOS sucked because of text. Now you think Linux is 'da bomb'? Are you researching bombs now with the Internet?"

Re:Dogbert had something to say about consulting.. (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751607)

"Little did those who suffered in the early years of Unix ever realize that their kids would one day be masochists on a level undreamt of even by the Marquis de Sade and actually find Unix cool."

Very well put. Those who were working in the computer industry at the time GUIs were introduced know that they were widely recognized as a major development by virtually everyone in the field.

It took years of academic propaganda to drop us back into the 1970s.

Re:Dogbert had something to say about consulting.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751964)

The same people who can't manage Windows, can barely use AOL, they're going to make work efficiently an OS which is the orgasmic manna for geeks firmly of the "difficult is beautiful" mindset?

No, those people are going to find new jobs. Preferably higher up the application stack, but in something more suited to their talents, like pizza delivery, if need be.

Re:Dogbert had something to say about consulting.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12752114)

I suspect you missed the point. The people the grandparent was referring to are Windows end users not programmers.

If you were referrring to the geeks, than yes. They would probably be better off delivering pizza than working on OS's for the masses.

No I don't want to take a survey. (0, Offtopic)

arose (644256) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751630)

Is the only thing that advertisers learned from popup blockers how to misuse javascript in even worse ways? And no I didn't read the article because there was a fucking ad floating in front of it!

Slowing or not, but it's definitely growing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12751702)

Slowing or not, but it's growing! So what's your point exactly?

Misleading Slashdot Title (2, Informative)

the_crowbar (149535) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751903)

Wow! What is with this story submission? The title on /. would suggest that the Linux growth is slowing. The only thing the article stated was that the rate of new companies testing Linux solutions was slowing.

The last line of the article sums it up nicely:

It may get harder to find potential customers that haven't yet tried out the Linux operating system. But has Linux hit a wall? Don't bet on it.

The prior paragraph also states that Linux server sales were up 35.2% for first quarter 2005, and that was the 11th consecutive quarter of double digit growth.

the_crowbar

Real numbers don't show up in management (2, Informative)

tuoppi (415801) | more than 9 years ago | (#12751922)

When you ask from a company about what systems they are using, they will give (if they will give such information) out an number which consists of systems are actively maintained server or desktop systems or other systems which cause expenses.

If the system doesn't cost anything extra, it doesn't exist in those numbers. Hence, all test and development environments don't show up in these numbers. In many cases the company doesn't even want to give out any information on what platform they are developing their products on - or then the people in the management see them only as "pc" expenses, and draw an conclusion that it must be also an windows box.

The cult of UNIX strikes again (1)

couch_warrior (718752) | more than 9 years ago | (#12752025)

Linux growth is slowing because Linux has used up the available pool of UNIX cultists. These are people who believe that it is morally wrong to make a computer easy to use, and are angry at Microsoft for making so many functions point-and-click. The problem is, you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. Once people get used to point-and-click interfaces, and software development that works like a powerpoint drawing, getting them to go back to a CLI and text code development is like talking people into giving up their car for a bicycle. I'm an old-fashioned computer geek myself, I think that object oriented code is an abomination, and God wrote the Universe in "C" (with some assembler for the microscopic stuff). BUT - I have zero chance of getting my kids to see the world that way. SO FOR ALL YOU LinGeeks out there- make a choice. Either make Linux easier to use,(that means NO CLI) or resign yourselves to having Linux be the dysfunctional OS for the kind of social misfits who brew methane with their own poop to fuel their converted VW bugs.

ITs fault! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12752068)

IT departments wouldn't need to hire consultants if companies would just hire people who understood linux in the first place. One of the large reasons why Linux is not taking off where I work is because IT is aproximately 4 years behind on their linux builds. I'm still forced to use a Redhat 7.1 build. They're hoping to upgrade to SLES 9.1 soon. By the time I get that I'm sure it'll be at least a year behind.

In comparison, they're never more than 4 to 5 months behind Microsoft when it comes to new versionss/patches for windows.

The other main reason is that we're so dependent on Exchange server for calendaring/meetings/email . Linux tools are finally getting to the state where things can communicate well with Exchange for all circumstances. However, I still can't use any of those tools because I'm stuck on an ancient Redhat machine that I can't upgrade. This keeps 99% of the people I work with from asking computing to give them a Linux desktop. Computing see this and says "No one wants linux!".

At my company, the largest reason Linux isn't taking off is because the people working in IT departments are, on the whole, not that bright. Sure they've got a gazillion Microsoft certifications, but that doesn't mean jack to me. In the IT department that supports me, I only know of handful of people who even have 4 year bachelor degrees.

The rest are hack(er)s.

I work for a large company that makes processors.

you insensitive cl0d! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12752086)

Don't be a sLi8g [goat.cx]

It makes sense... (2, Interesting)

freality (324306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12752113)

The *required* cost of using Linux in the workplace is, of course, $0. Just hire people who've been using it for years and you don't have this big scary learning curve. They, like any other long-term OS user, knows how to manage the version stream and keep focused at the same time. Except with Linux, there's no other costs. It's free.

The way it actually gets to cost something is driven by a market. The question isn't how much free Linux costs. The question is how much Windoze-imitation Linux costs. Companies who are accustomed to shelling out big bucks for Windoze will shell out just a bit less for anything else that does the job and call it a win.

So of course, for many things, Linux does the job.

And then there's RedHat to charge just a bit less.

That's all it takes to bring Linux TCO up to Windows range. I've seen it happen, with my very own eyes. I've even seen a company pay *more* for Linux than Windoze.. *and be happy with it* because Linux is higher performance for many server applications.

"Unbelievable!" I thought. But it's the market and the expectations that set it up.

No matter that you can d/l and install Fedora to do just the same job in less the time than it takes to call a RH consultant to get even a quote. You just shout "Risk! Risk! Risk!" enough and you get your IT department a fat budget and get to wear a Linux T-Shirt.

It's like saying A bird in hand is better than two in the bush. "Sure we could all become Linux experts, but maybe we'd fail!"

Businesses understand and practice outsourcing intelligence all the time. That's their bird in hand.

Well, I am surprised .. (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 9 years ago | (#12752115)

And analysts say Linux is picking up steam outside North America, which the Cowen survey doesn't cover.

Linux was created outside North America, so it's surprising that the Cowen survey crew even noticed that it exists. If they look around a bit, they just might find other useful software that was written somewhere else in the world.

(Honestly, when will those Norteamericanos notice that they are no longer in control of the computer industry? Haven't been for years, actually. ;-)

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