(Extracted from CIO.com)
Survey: Linux Acceptable, Not Superior
With Laura DiDio, senior analyst for the Yankee Group. DiDio's survey and report on the costs of Linux vs. UNIX and Windows contained some surprises. Perhaps the biggest is that enterprises with 10,000 or more end users don't necessarily think Linux is the bargain that its proponents say it is.
Question: Did survey respondents say that Linux is living up to the hype?
DiDio: The answer is yes and no. The yes part of it is that corporate customers told us that Linux does supply them with excellent performance, reliability, ease of use and security, although that comes with an asterisk [because it's] variable. Yes, it is a viable alternative to UNIX and Windows. The no part of the answer is that - hype notwithstanding - Linux's technical merits, while first rate, are equivalent but not superior to UNIX and Windows. The most surprising revelation was that over 90 percent of the 300 largest enterprises indicated that they were probably not going to do a very significant - meaning 50 to 60 percent - or total switch from Windows to Linux because it's prohibitively expensive, extremely complex and time-consuming. At the end, they could not discern that it will provide their businesses with a huge tangible or incremental business gain.
Question: Then who is adopting Linux?
DiDio: There is a clear bifurcation in the market. Companies most likely to do a wholesale Linux conversion from their present environment have very specific usage scenarios. Academic institutions and small local or state governments are two scenarios - they are very, very price-sensitive and price-driven. The second scenario is in organizations that may be small or mid-size and characterized as more scientific or engineering firms where there is a high degree of proficiency or skill with Linux. They use it with a specific vertical application and they have expertise in Linux. They can modify the code and do a lot of their own maintenance [and] build their own PCs and laptops. Often in these environments they are transitioning from UNIX because they want to shed the cost of the most expensive UNIX hardware. The third scenario where it is very attractive is green field applications. It may be a startup company, or a developing nation such as China. ... That said, almost everybody we polled said we have a Linux strategy, if for no other reason than to throw rocks at Microsoft, as one person said.
Question: One of the conclusions you seem to draw is that UNIX, Linux and Windows all are strong.
DiDio: All of the OS environments have reached a certain level of maturity in terms of performance, reliability, etc. Security is a variable, certainly. Microsoft Windows is assaulted on a daily basis. We found as Linux grows the attacks on it will grow as well. Within two years we are projecting corporations will spend just as much time and money securing Linux networks as they do now with Windows. Linux people say it is inherently more secure than Windows. [But] 50 percent of the security equation always is the human element. ... At the end of the day, human error is going to do just as much damage, if not more, than any inherent security flaw.