A Small Business Guide to Linux Desktop Software

From its humble beginnings back in 1991, Linux has grown at a rapid rate. International Data Corp. (IDC) pegged Linux operating system revenue growth at 23.4 percent in 2008. IDC projects that by 2012, Linux operating system revenue will cross $1 billion for the first time, reaching as much as $1.2 billion. Not bad for a free operating system.

While you can still download many free versions of Linux online, for convenience sake, several vendors offer user-friendly versions and charge a fee for support. Red Hat and Novell are the primary desktop Linux vendors, accounting for nearly 95 percent of the operating system revenue in 2008, according to IDC. Further, these two companies claimed 90 percent of worldwide Linux subscribers during 2008.

“The Linux desktop has developed very rapidly over the past few years,” said Nick Carr, marketing director of Red Hat. “From a technology viewpoint the Linux desktop is well developed, feature rich and mature. It is low cost, secure and manageable, and it’s very well suited to a wide range of customer deployments.”

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