Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Firms increase adoption of Linux

The open source software movement has certainly come a long way from its early days when vendors such as Microsoft painted it as a 'pariah' of the software industry.

Undoubtedly, Microsoft is not the open source software movement's hugest fan, however even it has been forced to acknowledge increasing industry traction and appetite for open source software by forming a business and strategic partnership with one of Linux's biggest proponents, Novell.

Awareness and uptake of open source software has also increased amongst IT and business users in industry sectors such as financial services firms according to Actuate's 2007 Open Source Software Survey, which surveyed UK, North American and German firms across industry sectors. The survey was first conducted in 2005 and this year's results demonstrated that the proportion of financial services respondents using open source software had increased from 38.8% in 2005 to 45.8% in 2007.

More than 50% of respondents are using Linux open source software with more than 64% of firms perceiving the main benefits to be no licence costs. Other perceived benefits included not being locked into Microsoft (45.2%), vendor independence (43.5%), access to source code (42.6%), flexibility (39.1%) and open platforms (37.4%).

However, despite increasing industry traction and software vendor support for Linux, the survey indicated that challenges remain around long-term support and maintenance, the lack of in-house open source software skills and incompatibility with existing applications, which was highlighted by almost half of respondents.

Microsoft's strategic partnership with Novell was aimed at addressing some of the interoperability issues around firms wanting to operate Windows servers in a Linux environment. Other vendors such as Oracle have also nnounced enterprise level support for Linux in the form of its Enterprise Linux Program.

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