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BOSTON – Bill Gates-bashers out there in credit union land waiting for Windows to go away . don’t hold your breath. Accompanied by “almost unprecedented hype”, according to Yankee Group analyst Laura DiDio, the open-source Linux operating system does continue to get legs as a low-cost alternative to Microsoft’s Windows, and UNIX for that matter, but the reality of its place in the corporate market is something quite different. According to a new, independent survey by Yankee Group and Sunbelt Software Inc. of 1,000 IT administrators and C-level executives worldwide, while Linux is making steady gains in the server OS space, especially in new installations with no existing infrastructure, the vast majority of mid-sized and large businesses do not plan to quit doing Windows. The reason why is what DiDio called “the most surprising revelation of the survey. More than 90% of the 300 large enterprises with 10,000 or more end users indicated that a significant or total switch from Windows to Linux would be prohibitively expensive, extremely complex and time consuming, and would not provide any tangible business gains for the organization.” And the momentum won’t come from the front end, either. “Furthermore, between now and 2006, Linux will not make a perceptible dent in the 94% desktop market share currently held by Windows,” DiDio says in a report comparing Linux, UNIX and Windows. The Yankee Group analyst did say that “Linux’s momentum is undeniable,” especially in specialized applications such as Web servers, and that “the overwhelming majority of the survey respondents said Linux is under evaluation, and Linux pilot deployments abound.” Yet, while Linux is the “most serious competition to Microsoft’s dominance in the server operating system market to date,” DiDio says, “Despite the hype, Linux is not superior to UNIX and Windows Server 2003. Linux is the technical equivalent.”

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