Linux welcomed on the desktop

Linux desktops are easier to implement than IT staff expected if they targeted the right groups of users, a study from Freeform Dynamics has found.

The...

Linux desktops are easier to implement than IT staff expected if they targeted the right groups of users, a study from Freeform Dynamics has found.

The study commissioned by IBM found that Linux PC adoption was driven by cost reduction. 71% of respondents indicated cost reduction as their primary driver for adoption, while 35% stated the ease of securing the desktop was another primary driver.

The online survey of 1,275 IT professionals from the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a spread of other countries across Western Europe and the Nordics found that transaction workers and general professional workers were more than twice as likely to be primary targets for desktop Linux adoption than mobile and creative staff. A majority of the respondents indicated that Linux desktop deployments to these targeted groups was easier than anticipated.

"Some users care a great deal about their desktop computing environment and may be emotionally or practically wedded to Windows," said Dale Vile, research director at Freeform Dynamics.

"The trick is to avoid getting distracted by these, and focus on the users for whom the PC on their desk is simply a tool to get their job done. Migrating a general professional user who only needs to access a couple of central systems, an e-mail inbox and light word processing is pretty straightforward," he said.

Bob Sutor, vice-president of Linux and open source at IBM Software Group, said, "Savvy IT departments see the Linux desktop as a PC investment that saves money during this downturn. We see the recession fuelling open source on the desktop."

Linux has already made in-roads in mobile computing. According to a report from advisory and consulting firm Ovum, a new generation of lower priced but less feature-rich netbooks costing less than $200 (£130) are now being manufactured by the likes of Freescale Semiconductor and Asus. These will be powered by specialised Linux distributions such as Android.

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