While the Microsoft Windows-based desktop has long been accepted as a fact of life in the mainstream business environment, some organizations have been actively exploring as well as successfully deploying alternatives, and the Linux-based desktop is one of these, according to a new research report. The report is based on research sponsored by IBM, but was designed, executed and analyzed on an independent basis by Freeform Dynamics under its Community Research Programme.
Not surprisingly, the report, authored by Dale Vile, finds that Desktop Linux adoption is primarily driven by cost reduction. Ease of securing the desktop and a general lowering of overhead associated with maintenance and support were also cited as contributing factors to its adoption. Deployment is currently limited, and challenges to further adoption frequently exist, the report acknowledges. At this time, the majority of desktop Linux adopters have rolled out to less than 20% of their total PC user base, although there is opportunity for more extensive deployment. In order for Linux to reach its full potential in the enterprise, the report notes, it is necessary for organizations to pay particular attention to challenges in the areas of targeting, user acceptance and application compatibility.
Those with experience are much more likely to regard non-technical users as primary targets for Linux. According to the report, Linux is easier to deploy to end users than many expect and for the majority of application types, including office tools, email clients and browsers, there is a consensus that most users' needs can be handled by native Linux equivalents to traditional Windows solutions. Usability is now the most sought-after attribute of a Linux distribution and Ubuntu, which is often cited as providing the most Windows-like experience, is overwhelmingly preferred for business use, according to the report, which states that familiarity and usability are closely related for new users.
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