Gartner Sees a Lack of Momentum for Desktop Linux and Open Source Office Products

Report Examines Where Desktop Linux and Open-Source Office Products Make Sense

STAMFORD, Conn., August 10, 2005 — Linux and open-source software products have generated a lot of interest, however buyers of these products for the desktop have been slow to materialize, according to Gartner, Inc.

During the fourth quarter of 2004, Gartner surveyed attendees at the Gartner Symposium conferences in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, and Cannes, France, about their use of client operating systems. Based on these results, Gartner said just over 1 percent of enterprise users were running Linux desktops. In a separate forecast report, Gartner estimates that only 3.2 percent of non-consumer users will run Linux by 2008.

"For most companies, the cost to migrate away from Microsoft Windows is simply too high and outweighs the benefits companies expect they will receive," said Michael Silver, research vice president in Gartner's Client Platforms group. "Most large companies have hundreds, if not thousands, of applications, and the cost to migrate them to run on or be accessible from Linux clients is huge."

Gartner said the public sector is more likely to be interested in Linux and open source office products, but even there, movement has been measured.

"Open source is gaining ground in the public sector because the government calculates return on investment differently from the private sector, so the benefits that advance political agendas or enhance the economy can also be considered," said Andrea DiMaio, research vice president at Gartner.

Gartner finds that even in emerging markets, open source adoption on the desktop has been sluggish.

"Migration issues have made it more difficult to adopt Linux, and in many places, pirated Microsoft products have been low-cost competition to Linux," said Martin Gilliland, research director in Gartner's Client Platforms group.

Further details are available in Gartner's research Spotlight report entitled Examining Where Desktop Linux and Open-Source Office Products Make Sense. The Spotlight includes a compilation of reports focused on desktop Linux issues. Other pieces in the compilation discuss which users are most appropriate for open source desktop products and how to develop a return on investment model so organizations can decide if open source client software can make sense in their environments. The set also includes three case studies of organizations that recently made open source desktop decisions. The Spotlight is available on Gartner's Web site.

About Gartner:
Gartner, Inc. is the leading provider of research and analysis on the global information technology industry. Gartner serves more than 10,000 clients, including chief information officers and other senior IT executives in corporations and government agencies, as well as technology companies and the investment community. The Company focuses on delivering objective, in-depth analysis and actionable advice to enable clients to make more informed business and technology decisions. The Company's businesses consist of Research and Events for IT professionals; Gartner Executive Programs, membership programs and peer networking services; and Gartner Consulting, customized engagements with a specific emphasis on outsourcing and IT management. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, and has over 3,900 associates, including more than 1,100 research analysts and consultants, in more than 75 locations worldwide. For more information, visit