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Linux gains ground on Windows 2000, others

Companies are increasing their use of the upstart operating system while delaying deployment of Microsoft's latest OS for businesses, according to researchers.

Linux is gaining ground while Windows 2000 sputters along, according to a market research firm.

Companies are increasing their use of the upstart operating system while delaying deployment of Microsoft's latest operating system for businesses, according to International Data Corporation (IDC).

In a recent survey by the market researcher, 13 percent of the respondents said they now use Linux, compared to 1997 when the software did not register in any findings because it was statistically such a small percentage of survey respondents.

Large computer makers such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard have become active supporters of Linux, which is popular in the Web server and email server market. Linux is a Unix-like OS, created originally by Linus Torvalds, a Finnish graduate student at the time.

IBM, for example, said recently it has joined the effort to make sure that Linux will be ready to run Intel's next-generation microprocessor. The computing giant signed onto an initiative to "port" Linux to Intel's first 64-bit chip, code-named Merced, joining Intel, VA Linux Systems, SGI, and Hewlett-Packard.

"This [13 percent] is an amazing level of growth," said Dan Kusnetzky, program director for IDC's Operating Environments and Serverware research programs. "Linux is emerging as a potential competitor to Windows and Unix for some server applications."

The survey also indicated that responding companies have no plans to immediately implement the Windows 2000 operating system, Microsoft's latest and greatest update to the former Windows NT. Microsoft is putting the finishing touches on that software.

"Organizations of all types and sizes indicated they plan to wait anywhere from six to 18 months before beginning wide-scale implementation of the new Microsoft [corporate] enterprise operating system," the report said.

"The No. 1 reason given by respondents for the delay in adopting Windows 2000 was technical stabilization of the operating system. A full 50 percent of respondents said the technical stabilization of Windows 2000 would cause them to delay implementation," the report added.

"Past issues with first-release operating systems from Microsoft have caused organizations to rein in their Windows 2000 deployment plans," said William Peterson, research manager for IDC's Client Infrastructure Software programs. "This is not to say Windows 2000 will not be a success...IDC believes Windows 2000 will succeed--over time."