In a private study conducted by IDC for Open Source Development Labs, Inc (OSDL), IDC predicted that the overall Linux marketplace revenues for server, PC hardware and packaged software on Linux is expected to reach $35.7 billion by 2008.
According to IDC's research, the use of Linux as the primary operating system will go on increasing steadily. While still a minority player on the desktop/PC, IDC feels that Linux penetration will reach $10 billion annual revenues on 17 million units shipped globally by 2008.
Between 2003 and 2008, Linux will appear in servers as a primary operating system, however, IDC also predicts the use of Linux as a secondary/non-primary operating system.
The research major also notes that non-new servers will be redeployed to Linux as well as net new and redeployed PCs will be seen running a Linux operating system. IDC finds that packaged software is the fastest growing market segment within the Linux marketplace in terms of revenue, growing 44% annually to over $14 billion in 2008.
Free Linux deployments are attractive, but the reality is more commercial and government organizations will move towards paid, supported copies of the operating system. Non-traditional deployments of servers with Linux as secondary or non-primary OS and redeployments have become significant factors.
Key packaged software markets on Linux include database, application server software, applications and management tools. These software revenues dwarf revenues for the Linux distributions.
Lastly, IDC believes that Linux has gained steady ground in the marketplace and is poised to make further gains, often in forms other than pure new deployments. Also, for current participants this forecast should provide additional validation of a trend they have been experiencing.
This will also help in prioritizing investments and for competitors and companies still on the sidelines (end-customers, ISVs, channel partners), this forecast should provide additional justification to the market. Linux is no longer a fringe player. It is now mainstream.