Published/updated: May 2009
by Dale Vile and Martin Atherton
The Microsoft Windows based desktop has been a fact of life in the mainstream business environment for so long now that it is often just accepted as a given. Some organisations, however, have been actively exploring and indeed successfully deploying alternatives, and the Linux based desktop is one of these. Based on candid ‘warts and all’ feedback from over a thousand experienced adopters, we take a practical look at the use of desktop Linux in a real world business context.
Desktop Linux adoption is primarily driven by cost reduction
When asked during a recent online survey of over a thousand IT professionals with experience of desktop Linux deployment in a business context, over 70% of respondents indicated cost reduction as the primary driver for adoption. Ease of securing the desktop and a general lowering of overheads associated with maintenance and support were cited as factors contributing to the benefit.
But deployment is currently limited, and challenges to further adoption frequently exist
The majority of desktop Linux adopters have only rolled out to less than 20% of their total PC user base at the moment, though the opportunity for more extensive deployment is clearly identified. In order for Linux to reach its full potential in an organisation, however, it is necessary to pay particular attention to challenges in the areas of targeting, user acceptance and application compatibility.
Selective deployment based on objective targeting will yield the highest ROI and acceptance
Rolling out Linux to power users, creative staff and highly mobile professionals can represent a challenge from a migration cost, requirements fulfilment and user satisfaction perspective. However, the needs of transaction workers and general professional users with lighter and more predictable requirements can be met cost-effectively with Linux without running into the same user acceptance issues. With groups such as this typically accounting for a high proportion of the user base, there is a clear opportunity to deploy desktop Linux selectively. Optimisation of the desktop estate is therefore likely to be achieved through a mix of Windows and Linux in most situations.
Linux desktop roll out is easier than expected for properly targeted end-user groups
Those with experience are much more likely to regard non-technical users as primary targets for Linux. The message here is that in practice, Linux is easier to deploy to end users than many imagine before they try it. For the majority of application types, including office tools, email clients and browsers, there is a strong consensus that the needs of most users can be met by native Linux equivalents to traditional Windows solutions. Where this is not the case, thin client or browser based delivery and/or one of the various emulation or virtualisation options are available.
A focus on usability reflects a maturing of thinking
In line with the acknowledged importance of a good user experience, usability is now the most sought after attribute of a Linux distribution. Together with the emphasis on cost reduction already seen, this suggests a maturing of attitudes in relation to Linux, shifting the previous focus on pure technical considerations to a more balanced view of what really matters in a business context. This observation is significant when reviewing the mainstream relevance of the desktop Linux proposition.
The research upon which this report is based was designed, executed and interpreted independently by Freeform Dynamics. Feedback was gathered via an online survey of 1,275 IT professionals from the UK, USA, and other geographies. The study was sponsored by IBM.
This report is free of charge. Click above to download the PDF or view the interactive e-document.
If you experience any problems during this process please contact us at;
email@example.com or call +44 (0)1425 626501 / 620008
By Jack Vile & Dale Vile
As both company and personally owned mobile devices are increasingly used in business, understanding and dealing with the associated risks has become a significant concern for many. In this report we explore some of the trends in mobile technology adoption. ...more
By Dale Vile
In a recent online survey in which responses were gathered from almost three hundred IT and business professionals, we investigated the related set of challenges and risks arising from fragmented cloud adoption in the area of security ...more
By Dale Vile
Organisations are increasingly turning to multi-tiered shared storage environments to deal with growing data volumes, changing business requirements, and IT delivery models. Managing Quality of Service (QoS) at scale, however, requires a highly automated approach ...more
By Tony Lock
VMware Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) are due to be released in 2015 and have been designed to help streamline deployment, make ongoing administration of VMs more straightforward, and to allow each VM to be managed individually. ...more
By Dale Vile
By Dale Vile
Creating a more customer centric business environment has historically been hard to achieve. In this paper, we will examine how technology and market trends, together with changes in the regulatory landscape, are elevating the status of customer centricity from ‘aspirational ideal’ to ‘business critical imperative’. ...more
By Dale Vile, Tony Lock, Jack Vile
With the phenomenal rise in the adoption of smartphones, tablets and other desirable devices, many pundits predict that the direction of corporate IT will increasingly be defined by end users. But does this make sense? ...more