Factors ranging from netbooks to a new Linux OS kernel will spur more Linux ramp-ups when the recession lifts, a new study says.
In a new survey, IDC found that existing users of Linux servers are "highly satisfied," with plans to deploy more Linux at such time as financial constraints start fading away.
"Given the severity of the current economic downturn and the potential for a lengthy and gradual recovery that will likely take years rather than months, Linux is in a desirable competitive position to emerge from this downtown as a stronger solution with a key position in the industry," according to IDC's report.
The authors of the report, IDC analysts Al Gillen and Brett Waldman, contend that Linux has already "enjoyed significant commercial success on server platforms," and that it's also the OS of choice for many software appliances and cloud providers.
The analysts acknowledge that desktop Linux hasn't caught on that well yet. But they point to several phenomena as helping to "create a more favorable climate" for desktop or client-side Linux in the future.
These include "continued anti-piracy efforts by Microsoft," along with the rise of netbooks; pre-loaded Linux on devices; greater numbers of Web-based applications; and new growth opportunities for Linux in emerging markets.
The IDC white paper also suggests that adoption of server-side Linux will get a further push with "a second generation of major releases based on the 2.6.x Linux kernel emerging from the industry's top vendors."
Interestingly, the report is sponsored by Novell, a major distributor of the Linux OS with its SuSE Linux product line-up.
According to the IDC analysts, new releases based on the 2.6.x kernel feature more mature management tools, integrated virtualization, and a bigger application portfolio, for example.
But the analysts also point to several challenges to Linux going forward, including the continuing dominance of Windows on PCs and x86 server hardware; the "stickiness" of corporate customer applications, especially on the Unix side; and the relative lack of packaged applications for Linux in comparison to both Windows and Linux.