The evidence is now overwhelming that Linux, once a symbol of software’s counterculture, has become a mainstream technology.
To date, Linux has thrived in some sizable niches of the market for operating systems on server computers, the data-serving machines that act as the hubs of computer networks. Linux is widely used on machines that send Web pages to desktop personal computers and for high-performance computing tasks like scientific research, Hollywood special effects and analyses of risk and trading patterns on Wall Street.
But the real issue is how far Linux can extend its reach into everyday corporate computing in all kinds of industries. By 2005, it should be “a mainstream choice,” along with Microsoft’s Windows and commercial versions of Unix, as a server operating system in most industries, said Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at IDC.
“All of Unix is more at risk than Microsoft’s Windows in the next few years,” said Thomas Berquist, a Goldman, Sachs analyst and a co-author of the study. “But what is really at risk is the concept of a proprietary operating system. And that has to affect Microsoft.”