Global Survey Shows Linux Desktop Easier to Deploy Than Expected

Study finds Linux PC adoption driven by cost reduction; best results achieved with non-technical users

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ARMONK, N.Y. - 21 May 2009: IBM (NYSE:IBM) today announced the results of a study conducted by the I.T. analyst firm Freeform Dynamics, commissioned by IBM, which showed that Linux desktops were easier to implement than IT staff expected if they targeted the right groups of users, such as those who have moderate and predictable use of e-mail and office tools

The research behind the report, "Linux on the Desktop: Lessons from Mainstream Business Adoption," was designed, executed and interpreted independently by Freeform Dynamics. Feedback was gathered via an online survey of 1,275 I.T. professionals from the U.K., U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a spread of other countries across Western Europe and the Nordics. Ninety percent of the study's respondents had direct experience with desktop Linux deployment in their business.

Those with experience of such migrations said that Linux on the desktop was best achieved when it was first targeted to groups of non-technical users. Transaction workers and general professional workers were seen as more than twice as likely to be primary targets for desktop Linux adoption than mobile and creative staff. A majority of the respondents indicated that Linux desktop deployments to these targeted groups was easier than anticipated.

"Some users care a great deal about their desktop computing environment and may be emotionally or practically wedded to Windows," said Dale Vile, research director, Freeform Dynamics. "The trick is to avoid getting distracted by these, and focus on the users for whom the PC on their desk is simply a tool to get their job done. Migrating a general professional user who only needs to access a couple of central systems, an email inbox and light word processing is pretty straightforward."

Key statistics of the study include:

The study confirmed Linux on the desktop adoption is primarily driven by cost reduction. About twice as many of the respondents cited cost savings over security as the primary driver of why they'd adopt Linux on the desktop. Participants in the study indicated that both environments can be secured adequately -- it's just cheaper to secure a Linux desktop and maintain it that way.

"If a company is a 'Windows shop,' at some point it will need to evaluate the significant costs of migrating its base to Microsoft's next desktop and continuing the defense against virus and other attacks," said Bob Sutor, vice president of Linux and open source, IBM Software Group. "Savvy IT departments see the Linux desktop as a PC investment that actually saves money during this downturn. We see the recession fueling open source on the desktop."

The user groups in the study were defined as:

The Freeform Dynamics paper summarizing the findings of the study may be found at

About Freeform Dynamics

Freeform Dynamics is an industry analyst and research organization that investigates and reports on the business impact of developments in the IT and communications (ITC) markets across Europe and the US. For further information or to subscribe to Freeform Dynamics' community research service, please visit

For more information on IBM, visit

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