Linux gains ground in enterprise

Meanwhile, Vista deployments are still mainly theoretical.

Linux has already permanently changed the enterprise desktop landscape, and is set to grow further, according to a new report from Forrester Research.

The report, "How Windows Vista Will Shake Up The State Of The Enterprise Operating System", published this week, predicted that the days of ever more strict standardization on the Windows platform are effectively over.

Linux will only become a stronger force in the enterprise, according to Forrester analyst Benjamin Gray.

"The high volume of client inquiries for Linux on the desktop clearly indicates it's not going away any time soon," he wrote in the report. "Expect Linux to experience growth over the next year as the distributors work hard to make it an enterprise-class offering."

The report was mainly focused on interpreting the adoption figures for Windows Vista, which Forrester admitted are abysmal.

The latest version of Windows runs on 2 percent of enterprise desktops in Europe and North America, found the report, which was based on a survey of just over 1,000 executives in hardware decision-making roles.

In fact, it's only in the US that Forrester found significant Vista deployments - 3 percent of respondents - while European enterprises have yet to begin deployments.

Gray was optimistic about Vista's immediate future, however, predicting it will be deployed on one-quarter of enterprise PCs over the next year, taking over from the XP systems that currently dominate.

Nearly half of enterprises said they had concrete plans to deploy Vista, with 7 percent planning to start their deployments by the end of this year. Thirty-two percent of these businesses said they planned to start deployment by the end of 2008.

Forrester found that XP deployments account for 90 percent of enterprise desktops, followed by 9 percent running Windows 2000.

Only 38 percent of companies with more than half of their systems running Windows 2000 had significant Vista deployment plans, Forrester found.

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