Survey: Linux Adoption Continues to Grow at the Expense of Windows

A new survey from the Linux Foundation indicates that Linux adoption is growing at the expense of Windows, particularly in the enterprise.

According to a new survey from the Linux Foundation, adoption of enterprise Linux is growing at the expense of Windows.

The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, has published "Linux Adoption Trends: A Survey of Enterprise End Users," which shares new data that shows Linux is poised to take significant market share from Unix and Windows.

The Linux Foundation survey showed that nearly 80 percent of companies surveyed said they are adding more Linux relative to other operating systems in the next five years. Overall, the survey also indicated that Linux is becoming more mission-critical in the enterprise and more strategic to the CIO.

The data in the report reflects the results of an invitation-only survey of the Linux Foundation's Enterprise End User Council as well as of other companies and government organizations. The survey was conducted by The Linux Foundation in partnership with Yeoman Technology Group during August and September 2010 and received responses from more than 1,900 individuals.

The data shows that Linux vendors are poised for growth in the years to come as large Linux users plan to both deploy more Linux relative to other operating systems and to use the OS for more mission-critical workloads than ever before. Linux is also becoming the preferred platform for new/"greenfield" deployments, representing a major shift in user patterns as IT managers break away from legacy systems.

Key findings from the report include that 79.4 percent of companies are adding more Linux relative to other operating systems in the next five years; more people are reporting that their Linux deployments are migrations from Windows than any other platform, including Unix migrations; 66 percent of users surveyed say that their Linux deployments are brand new "greenfield" 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; and 60.2 percent of respondents said they will use Linux for more mission-critical workloads over the next 12 months.

Other interesting findings from the survey include that 86.5 percent of respondents said they view Linux as improving, and 58.4 percent say their CIOs see Linux as more strategic to the organization as compared with three years ago. In addition, drivers for Linux adoption extend beyond cost: Technical superiority is the primary driver, followed by cost and then security, according to the survey.

Moreover, the growth in Linux is leading companies to increasingly seek Linux IT professionals, with 38.3 percent of respondents citing a lack of Linux talent as one of their main concerns related to the platform.

The Linux Foundation survey also showed that users participate in Linux development in three primary ways: testing and submitting bugs, working with vendors, and participating in Linux Foundation activities. The top way is by testing and submitting bugs, with 37.5 percent of users saying they participate in Linux development via this method. Meanwhile, 30.7 percent said they participate by working with vendors, 26 percent by participating in Linux Foundation activities.

"The Linux Foundation strives to be a resource for Linux research and information both for our members and for Linux users worldwide," said Amanda McPherson, vice president of marketing and developer programs at The Linux Foundation. "We feel it's important to ask the people who use Linux in the enterprise directly about their use and perceptions of Linux so we can continue to improve the platform. The IT professionals we surveyed for the Linux Adoption Trends report are among the world's most advanced Linux users working at the largest enterprise companies and illustrate what we can expect from the market in the months and years ahead."

To download the full report, go to: