Study: Linux use undeterred by SCO suit

New research indicates that the legal battle over use of Unix source code in the Linux operating system is not discouraging developers from working on Linux-oriented software.

Matt Hines Staff Writer, CNET News.com
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New research indicates that SCO Group's lawsuit over the use of Unix source code in the Linux operating system has not discouraged developers from implementing Linux-oriented software.

A survey of roughly 400 software developers completed by researchers at Evans Data found that more than 70 percent of the IT professionals it polled do not believe that the SCO lawsuit will affect plans to deploy Linux-based technologies. An overwhelming majority of developers told Evans Data that the litigation would "probably not" or "absolutely not" deter their freedom to use Linux. Only 12 percent of those surveyed said the lawsuit would affect adoption plans, and 17 percent had no opinion.

Published on the eve of the LinuxWorld conference, the industry's largest Linux-focused event, which kicks off Monday in San Francisco, the survey concluded that SCO's lawsuit has done little to deter users from deploying Linux. SCO claims that its Unix code was illegally copied into Linux and that companies such as IBM illegally transferred improvements made to Unix into Linux and should pay license fees to SCO.

The legal battle also appears to have done little to shift strategy at companies such as IBM that are mounting large-scale efforts around Linux. IBM is expected to announce five new Linux-oriented customer wins at LinuxWorld as well as an expansion of its practice around the software.

"Developers seem unimpressed with the SCO lawsuit," Nicholas Petreley, an analyst at Evans Data, said in a statement. "They are certainly not concerned enough to change their plans for Linux, since only one out of ten are considering it a factor in their adoption plans."

Additional findings of the poll, completed in July, suggested increased ease among those who move applications from other operating systems to Linux. The report indicated that about 45 percent of Unix application migrations to Linux have been completed in six months or less and found that 47 percent of overall planned Windows application migrations have been finished.

Evans Data also reported that the market for Linux remains largely up for grabs, with 36 percent of developers opting for commercial versions of the software and 15 percent choosing a noncommercial alternative. In addition, 49 percent of the developers surveyed labeled themselves undecided on the matter.