A Yankee Group survey claims that Linux costs more than Windows to run.
Companies are well aware that, though Linux is free or almost free to acquire, running costs are high, whether enterprises roll their own support or pay the "hefty premiums for must-have items like technical service and support, product warranties and licensing indemnification", the study said.
Analyst and author Laura DiDio, who questioned IT managers and executives globally, said, "Corporate customers report Linux does indeed provide businesses with excellent performance, reliability, ease of use and security.
"Hype notwithstanding, Linux' technical merits - while first-rate - are equivalent but not superior to Unix and Windows Server 2003."
She added, "There's a clear bifurcation between the high and low ends of the market. Everyone has a Linux strategy... even if it is just to use Linux as a stone to throw at Microsoft."
Many companies are looking at their OS strategies in the light of the rise of Linux, according to the report, but most will stick with Windows for the time being. Just 4% of Unix and 11% of Windows businesses are to replace existing systems with Linux, the report said, and fewer than 5% said they would switch desktops to Linux from Windows.
Other points made by the study show:
- 30% liked Linux because it is more reliable
- 31% found it more secure
- 29% favoured Linux because they feared being locked into an all-Microsoft environment
- Most large enterprises will not install Linux as a front-line OS because it costs between 25% and 50% more in technology support specialists than Windows
- Over the next two years, enterprises will spend as much securing their Linux systems as they do now on their Windows systems
- Most said they would migrate "a portion" of their Windows servers to Linux for specialised applications
- Most switchers to Linux are coming not from Windows but from other flavours of Unix.
Manek Dubash writes for Techworld.com