Linux will continue to grow faster than the operating system market overall but won't threaten Microsoft's hold of either the server or the desktop in the next few years, according to a new report from Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corp. (IDC).
IDC's report examines the desktop and server operating systems markets over a period of five years, from last year to 2004. Last year, Linux bulleted into second place with 25% of the market, behind Windows NT's 38% but eclipsing NetWare from Novell and Unix. But IDC doesn't expect Linux to continue its current trend, said analyst Al Gillen.
Instead, Linux will grow at a strong compound annual rate of 28% in the five year-period, compared with the market's 17%. But even by 2004, Linux revenue will reach only $85 million because of its low per-unit sales price, said IDC.
IDC expects Linux and Windows to account for most of the server market growth for the period - with Linux growing at a slightly faster percentage rate than Windows.
For this year, IDC projects Windows NT and 2000 shipments to grow 20% from last year's 2.1 million. The percentage growth of Linux shipments will be in the "mid- to high twenties" from last year's 1.35 million shipments, said Gillen.
Gillen said Windows 2000 is selling slightly better than IDC had expected, and sales are likely to accelerate after the first service pack for the operating system is shipped later this summer.