Linux Market Shrank in 2001

Despite the clamor of the past two years that open-source operating systems would revolutionize the world, Linux operating environment revenue declined by almost 5 percent in 2001. This marks the first year of contraction for the newbie OS.

New license shipments for server operating environments (SOE), which makes up an overwhelming percentage of the $80 million spent in 2001 on Linux software, experienced essentially flat growth. On the bright side, client unit shipment grew by nearly 50 percent with the Asia/Pacific region contributing generously (34 percent) to 2001 sales.

“The previously strong growth of Linux SOE shipments was interrupted during 2001,” said Al Gillen, research director, system software at IDC. “We also saw China’s Red Flag and Brazil’s Conectiva make strong contributions to the Linux COE market, which continued to grow at a healthy pace.”

Ironically, the only operating environment to experience positive revenue growth in 2001 was Microsoft’s Windows, which unveiled Windows XP on Oct. 25, last year

Still, IDC expects spending on Linux operating environments to increase over the next five years from $80 million in 2001 to $280 million in 2006, which means a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28 percent.

Despite the unconventional way Linux is bought and sold, IDC said it has become a mainstream choice for many infrastructure workloads particularly because the software is available either freely on the network or as a low-cost packaged product that can be deployed on low-cost, high-volume systems.

Furthermore, Linux is often packaged with other open source software such as Samba for file/print services, Apache for Web services, and MySQL or PostgreSQL for data management, which makes it a highly functional and cost-effective environment.

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