Report: Linux makes gains in server applications

The Linux juggernaut continues, with more users and applications adopting the open-source operating system, according to a report from the Linux Foundation.

Dave Rosenberg Co-founder, MuleSource
Dave Rosenberg has more than 15 years of technology and marketing experience that spans from Bell Labs to startup IPOs to open-source and cloud software companies. He is CEO and founder of Nodeable, co-founder of MuleSoft, and managing director for Hardy Way. He is an adviser to DataStax, IT Database, and Puppet Labs.
Dave Rosenberg
2 min read

A new report from the nonprofit Linux Foundation shows that Linux continues to grow at breakneck speed and will outpace all other server operating systems over the next five years. Additionally, Linux will be chosen for more than 66 percent of new or "greenfield" applications.

The report, titled "Linux Adoption Trends: A Survey of Enterprise End Users," reflects the results of an invitation-only survey with responses from 1,900 individuals. According to the report, Linux adoption continues to grow for a number of reasons, not just driven by reduced costs, but by technical superiority and security measures.

It's important to take these kinds of statistics with a grain of salt, considering the respondents are already partial to Linux. However, the trend toward Linux and open-source is clearly a big part of enterprise computing, and the report itself shows that end-users believe the OS continues to improve--even if they often still have to sell their companies' upper-management on the idea. That said, nearly 60 percent of respondents said that Linux is seen as more strategic to their organization than it was a year ago.

Linux use circa October 2010
Linux use circa October 2010 Linux Foundation

Key findings from the report:

  • 79.4 percent of companies plan to add more Linux relative to other operating systems in the next five years.
  • 66 percent of users surveyed say that their Linux deployments are brand-new deployments.
  • Among the early adopters who are operating in cloud environments, 70.3 percent use Linux as their primary platform, while only 18.3 percent use Windows.
  • 60.2 percent of respondents say they will use Linux for more mission-critical workloads over the next 12 months.
  • 86.5 percent of respondents report that Linux is improving, and 58.4 percent say their CIOs see Linux as more strategic to the organization as compared to three years ago.

Another important aspect of the report results is the fact that with more companies coming to depend on Linux, there are many job opportunities available for those with skills. In fact, more than 38 percent of the survey respondents cited a lack of available Linux talent as one of their main concerns related to the platform.

Other major concerns include driver support and availability for specific hardware and overall interoperability with other applications and platforms, both of which Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin assured me the organization and its constituents are working on. Zemlin also told me that Linux is seeing phenomenal growth in emerging markets such as China, where many developers have grown up using Linux and see it as the obvious solution to computing challenges.