Gartner Group today rejected claims its unflattering assessment of Linux belied a Microsoft bias, after publication of its assessment produced a furious backlash from amongst the Linux community.
In the report entitled "Will Linux Be Viable Competition for Windows Desktops?", Gartner said "Linux is the 'hype du jour' that is thought by some to have the potential to upset Microsoft's dominance on the mainstream desktop".
The issue which seems to have really raised the hackles of the Linux community is the subsequent use of the report by Microsoft.
According to Gartner's Australian vice-president of marketing, John Barrow, Gartner sold that research to Microsoft which it used for a "Webletter", which is sponsored by Microsoft but hosted on the Gartner site. The research's appearance in the Microsoft newsletter lead many users to wrongly assume that Microsoft had funded the study.
"This seems to mean that parts of the study were written by Microsoft and that Microsoft paid for the publishing costs of the study. I would feel better about the results of the study if the funding and editorial content came from an independent group ... instead of the largest competitor to Linux," one reader said.
However, Gartner's Barrow, said the Webletter report had reproduced Gartner's original research in its entirety and that the research had not been funded by Microsoft.
"We had an independent, objective opinion. We allowed Microsoft to republish that opinion," Barrow said.
"We're not marketing the report in that sense," Barrow said. "We've allowed Microsoft to market and that reflects our opinion.
Barrow said Gartner stood by the report's conclusions.