An IBM-commissioned study says Linux desktops are easier to implement if you target the right groups of users, such as those who have moderate and predictable use of e-mail and office tools. It’s done by the analyst firm Freeform Dynamics for IBM.

As findings of the commissioned studies mostly favor the vendors that sponsor them, tech users are advised to use the results of such studies cautiously. It’s pertinent to state here that a few months ago, IBM, Virtual Bridges, and Canonical had announced general availability of a Linux-desktop solution as an alternative to Microsoft-desktop software.

And now IBM brings these findings from its commissioned study.

So here’s what IBM has to say: 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. IBM says 90% of the study’s respondents had direct experience with desktop Linux deployment in their business.

Key findings according to IBM:

  • 71% of respondents indicated cost reduction as their primary driver for adoption.
  • 35% stated the ease of securing the desktop was another primary driver
  • 32% cited the lowering of overheads associated with maintenance and support in general were factors contributing to the benefit of desktop Linux adoption
  • Those with experience of Linux desktop rollouts are 50% more likely to regard non-technical users such as general professional users and transaction workers as primary targets for Linux
  • 58% of those with prior experience of a Linux desktop rollout see general professional users as primary targets
  • 52% of those with prior experience of a Linux desktop rollout see transaction workers as primary targets.
  • 32% of those with prior experience of a Linux desktop rollout see power users as primary targets.
  • 47% of respondents said usability was the main consideration when evaluating or selecting a desktop Linux distribution for use in a business environment 

The study, according to IBM, 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, IBM says.

IBM released the results of the study today (May 21).


About Rakesh Raman

Have extensive editorial, content management, and integrated communications experience and have worked as a senior tech journalist, analyst, and columnist with different newspapers, magazines, and Web/online properties in India.

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