Given the discussions on this and other web sites by biased partisans (myself included), I thought this headline (SMB Linux use on the rise) and article was interesting.
The major thesis is interesting, but the data contained within is startling.
First, they note that Linux isn’t the selling point. Something we have pointed out here before, the OS is not the issue. Its the applications. It is always the applications. People claiming that the issue is the installation of the OS are missing the boat. Badly. End users want applications. That work, easily, with little pain. They want cross system interoperability. They get pissed off with barriers to moving data. Especially when these are barriers erected on purpose to push end users to one particular companies products.
Users don’t like to be manipulated, and they should rightly take umbrage at any company or group trying to do so. Imposition of artificial barriers, road blocks, or other pain makes end users less likely to select these products later on. Users have long memories.
But that isn’t the startling point. This is
Few small companies, the under 10 employee set, use Linux. Well, this may not be true due to the number of devices such as routers, wireless APs, and other things that SMB’s use, which run Linux. But you don’t know that it is running Linux.
Ask Microsoft. They are one of the larger users of Linux. They just don’t know about it. Unless they ripped out their wireless network.
The point here is not to poke fun at Microsoft, or show some … uh … interesting things about them, but to indicate that the OS largely doesn’t matter. Its what you do with it that does. That is, its the applications that matter.
And from the article, it appears that users recognize value, seek value, and when they go after Linux based systems, they spend more on IT products and services in total. That doesn’t mean they are spending more per installation. We know that price and TCO comparisons are not kind to the Microsoft solutions. What it means is that the people buying Linux based solutions spend more money in general on IT systems and services than those who don’t.
And why is this important? Again, fairly simple. This means that smart vendors are going to figure this out, well more than the ones that already have, and offer more products and services in this market. Which will have a tendency to grow this market. Which means more vendors, products and services, … That is, a rapidly growing market, which is what we observe.
There is a lesson in here for HPC BTW. A big one.