Aussie giants like Linux: Gartner

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Australia companies with more than 500 staff are driving an Asia-Pacific take-up of Linux with 52 percent adopting open source, mainly for non mission-critical applications.

Australia companies with more than 500 staff are driving an Asia-Pacific take-up of Linux with 52 percent adopting open source, mainly for non mission-critical applications.

A Gartner-commissioned annual Asia Pacific survey of big businesses has found that 52 percent of the 121 Australian companies surveyed--mostly in verticals such as telecommunications, government, education, finance and banking--use Linux "somewhere in their organisation", up from 39 percent last year.

The Asia-Pacific average--which included Taiwan, South Korea, China, India and Singapore--for Linux adoption in companies that size was 44 percent.

"Australia [individually] was second only to Taiwan," said Phil Sargeant, research director of storage and services at Gartner. "But I would say, as a generalisation, that while companies have deployed it, it hasn't been in mission-critical work."

Sargeant said the Linux adoption was primarily in one- or two-way type servers, Web-serving or high-performance numerical task computing.

"[Linux] just sits there in the background, doing its thing. People are starting to deploy it and forget it," he said.

Sargeant said the results suggested the market's understanding of what Linux could and could not do for the enterprise was maturing.

However, there was no hard evidence to show whether companies were adopting Linux due to dissatisfaction with any other brand, such as Windows.

"It's probably seven to eight percent of [the servers] in these organisations, and what we have found is some have replaced everything Windows-based, and some have replaced Novell. I can't necessarily say there's anything but anecdotal evidence [of migration] due to [Microsoft] licensing," Sargeant said.

However, large companies were unlikely to have been swept up in any pro-Linux, anti-Microsoft hype, he pointed out.

Sargeant said companies did perceive that Linux offered potential cost savings, but that could change if higher fees and charges were adopted by open source vendors.

Meanwhile, some "solution" vendors--including IBM, Oracle and Dell--and State governments had begun aggressively promoting packages with an open source component, he said.

He added that some companies were moving from Netware due to a perception Novell "was not going anywhere" as a company.

Sargeant also said China's uptake of Linux was surprisingly low, at 19 percent, given the Chinese government's pro-open source and anti-Microsoft approach. "I would have expected to China to be much higher," he said.

The survey is completed annually and focuses on a range of hardware-centred questions. It is not vendor-sponsored, Sargeant said.

The results were released to spur interest in an Australia-wide series of Gartner seminars in late August and early September on open source market readiness, Gartner said.

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