The analyst firm predicted that the market for Linux-based servers will triple in volume and double in value by 2007.
More than 162,000 Linux-based servers, worth $621m (£369m), will be shipped in western Europe in 2003, but this will rise to almost 500,000, worth $1.9bn (£1.12bn), by 2007, the report said.
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The Linux desktop market is also likely to pick up, with around 15% of European businesses considering the open source software at client level, IDC said.
Support from some of the large IT players will drive demand for Linux on the desktop, the report said. For example, Sun Microsystems’ low-cost Linux PC, which is due to launch this autumn, and Oracle’s commitment to offer support to companies using open source software from the United Linux Consortium, will boost Linux’s credibility as a viable desktop operating system.
Increasing numbers of European users are throwing their weight behind Linux.
In one of the most significant moves, the Munich city government last month revealed that it is to migrate its entire computer network to Linux, dropping Microsoft's Windows system in the process.
Germany's third largest city will equip all of the 14,000 computers in its public administration with Linux and other open-source office applications, the city government said.In Germany, federal, state and local governments as well as other public agencies have been considering Linux intensively ever since the Federal Ministry of the Interior agreed last June to a partnership with IBM to supply computers with Linux at favourable conditions.