Revenue from the open source Linux operating system dipped in 2001 after two consecutive years of substantial growth, but is still on track to become a $280m market by 2006, according to the latest research from IDC.
According to the Framingham, Massachusetts-based market research company, worldwide revenue from Linux was down 5% in 2001 compared to the previous year. Despite that, revenue for the open source operating system is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 28% for the next five years, from $80m in 2001 to $280 in 2006.
In terms of license shipments, Linux server operating system shipments in 2001 were flat compared to the previous year, while licenses for the client version of the operating system were up by almost 50%. These figures appear to put a damper on analyst assumptions that the server market is Linux's biggest opportunity to break the Microsoft and Unix enterprise operating system hegemony.
However, the indications are that the growth in Linux as a client operating system can be attributed to Linux's strong showing in the Asia-Pacific market, which Microsoft does not have so much of a dominant position. According to IDC, the growth in client licenses was largely driven by the Asia-Pac region, which was responsible for 34% of all new Linux shipments, both client and server, during the year.
IDC singled out Red Hat Inc as the dominant player in the server operating system market worldwide, but also mentioned the strong client operating system performance of Beijing, China-based Red Flag Software Co and Curitiba, Brazil-based Conectiva SA.