The first thing we can say about the Linux desktop in 2007 is that there are more users than ever. The Linux Foundation 2006 survey had fewer than 10,000 people signing in. This year more than 20,000 Linux desktop users reported in.
Who are these users? Most of them, 69.4 percent, work in small companies with one to 100 workers. To no surprise, many of them, 43.3 percent, are IT professionals or software developers, and most of them, 64.1 percent, have already deployed desktop Linux in the office.
When desktop Linux is deployed in a business, it’s being deployed in a big way. In those businesses and organizations with at least one Linux desktop, 40.6 percent have Linux on more than half of their PCs. Windows is still the No. 1 desktop system, with 57.5 percent of Linux PC using offices still running it on half or more of their desktops.
One interesting aspect of desktop choice that John Cherry, the Linux Foundation’s former director of global Linux workgroups, found is that business users would rather have the freedom to mix and match open-source programs than use a preinstalled Linux desktop. Cherry said that “56.6 percent of the recipients believed that preinstalled Linux offerings did not meet their business requirements.”
Cherry added, “These responses definitely came from an ‘enterprise deployment’ perspective. When IT decision makers and system administrators listed the issues with deploying preinstalled Linux offerings, they indicated that freedom trumps convenience. When deploying corporate desktop systems, the administrators want the freedom in defining settings and configuration options. The choice of Linux distribution is import as well. IT organizations do not want to be locked into the Linux distribution vendor that is preinstalled on the hardware they have selected.” So, “freedom is still a huge factor in deploying and maintaining preinstalled Linux clients.”
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