Linux is gaining some ground in the enterprise for several reasons:
Cost: Because Linux is free, many enterprises are trying to determine where Linux fits in the data center and on the desktop. The cost savings that can be realized by not having to pay sometimes-hefty licensing costs can be considerable.
Linux embedded in appliances: Because Linux has a large developer community, more and more appliances are shipping with an embedded Linux operating system. For example TiVo runs a version of Linux. Linux is attractive to developers because they can ship a trimmed-down version of Linux that only supports the functionality required to run their application or service. The corporate threat from such a slim version of Linux is smaller than from the feature-complete versions.
The growing acceptance of open source: Five years ago, when open source software like Linux started gaining momentum, many IT managers were afraid of the support issues associated with it. Today there is a large community of >Linux advocates who support the product for free, and support staff are becoming more accustomed to self-help options, such as Usenet and Google groups, for open source software. Many enterprises also have staff on board who have considerable skill running and troubleshooting Linux.
For service providers, there are considerable opportunities to provide support with Linux training, support and deployment. As many enterprises are still skittish about integrating Linux into their environment, there are opportunities for service providers to educate their clients on where Linux will fit in their environment.
This was first published in May 2008