Linux in Enterprises, market share and Business which use Linux

Linux in Enterprises, market share and Business which use Linux

Unquestionably Linux is still struggling to claim a respectable share in desktop market. The trend does not seem to vary drastically in enterprises too. However in contrast to Linux share in desktop operating system, Linux claims a considerably larger market share when it comes to operating system used by enterprises. The post presents some latest stats depicting where does a Linux stand as an operating system for business. The post also details some enterprises that rely on Linux for their everyday computation.

Unfortunately the enterprise sector is mainly dominated by Windows, Windows 7 to be precise. However trends are changing particularly if we take in account last 3 to 4 years. Te trends are favoring Linux and open source software at large. Small to medium sized business are adopting Linux as their primary Operating system to cut cost. As reported by Jeffrey Hammond, the principal analyst at Forrester Research “Linux has crossed the chasm to mainstream adoption.” this declaration was based on Forrester’s survey data which deduced that large number of enterprises have flocked to open source technologies in early 2009 primarily as a way to cut costs. The survey further found that by the end of 2009, enterprises were increasingly looking to open source as a driver of growth. Survey published by Hubspan in 2012 details the usage stats of operating system used by enterprises during the year 2011. The stats are graphically illustrated here:

Operating system enterprises

Despite Linux only claims 9% of total enterprise operating system it’s exciting to note that all the “big” organizations and enterprises use Linux! Have a look!

Linux Operating system enterprises

Google: Google’s giant infrastructure comprises of Google Web Server (GWS) which is a  Custom Linux-based Web server that Google uses for its online services.
Popular car makers Audi, BMW and Peugeot use Linux for their sophisticated cars, engineered on high-end technology. Lets investigate in detail.

Audi:  The German automobile manufacturer Audi AG (a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group) is known for producing most luxurious cars around the world.  The company produces and sells more than 829,000 vehicles annually under the Audi and Lamborghini brands. Audi has completely migrating its engineering systems over to Linux in past few years. Bulk of its servers and workstations are now running 64-bit Linux. Note that Linux is not only being used on server-side but also on workstations. Audi’s luxury cars are engineered on Linux.

BMW: German car maker BMW is one the leading brand known for producing top notch luxury cars. The firm has used Linux for mission critical systems such as its large servers and and is still using the operating system since 2003. Last year the car maker also showed its intentions to use Linux for in-car entertainment. he company also created a TV advertising campaign: IBM supports Linux 100%

IBM: IBM is among the Linux foundation Platinum Members along with Fujitsu Ltd, Intel Corp.,NEC Corp., Oracle Corp., Qualcomm Innovation Center Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, Hewlett-Packard Development Co. LP, who each donate US$500,000 per year for the development of Linux. Also IBM uses Linux locally to supports its extensive computing demands. IBM also made an ad back a couple of years ago to show its support for Linux “IBM supports Linux 100%


Twitter: The most extensively used social media uses Linux on its servers to support huge data centers. Twitter receives as  much as about 2.8 billion tweets per day wit millions of users using the network from various devices every single second. In such a mission critical environment, Linux provides reliable computation.

Amazon: Amazon, yet another American based tech tycoon uses Linux to support its large infrasturcture.

DreamWorks: DreamWorks Animation are using Linux since 2001. They reportedly own 1,000 Linux desktops and over 3,000 Linux servers for their computation purposes.

Virgin America: Virgin America is an affordable airline based in America which uses Linux to power entertainment system provided with in flight. Similarly Nav Canada has based its popular internet based flight planning system on Red Hat Linux.

The London Stock Exchange deploys Linux based MillenniumIT Millennium Exchange software for its trading platform, while The New York Stock Exchange uses Linux for its trading applications. On the other hand Union Bank of California has standardize its IT infrastructure on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Large enterprises and organizations take advantage of the customization Linux offers therefore most of them roll-out their customized version of Linux distributions and optimize them according to their requirements. Nevertheless, the following table gives an information at glance as to which distribution is employed in businesses.

Linux distribution in enterprises

  • Miquel Mayol i Tur

    Perhaps you can add Some Public Administrations as French police or Munich local gov, Spanish Andalucia admin plus almost all Spanish education systems, the Republic of Venezuela and many others

  • quincho

    i am surprised that there are not such companies as ATT, they have about 10000 linux machines…

  • Marc Schwartz

    Are we looking at servers, desktops or both combined here? 9% suggests some type of blend of the two, as the figures I have seen for server usage (especially on RHEL) are much, much higher and the figures for desktop/laptop usage are much lower.

    Somewhere in the neighborhood of 65% of all web servers worldwide are running Apache on Linux. You could include virtually every major web hosting company in this list and they will be running primarily Linux on their servers, with some offering Windows hosting as an alternative.

    You need to know the sample upon which the surveys were based, otherwise this data has an a priori bias. You need to know what questions were asked in the surveys, because simply moving to open source technologies does not mean moving to Linux. I would argue that open source applications have been far more successful that Linux itself.

    We also need to separate technical use by engineers, developers and others on workstations/laptops from mainstream corporate users on desktops/laptops. It is easy to say that Linux is growing amongst technical users, who are a minority of the marketplace.

    If Linux is to grow more generally, it still needs to “Cross the Chasm” (A Geoffrey Moore-ism) into mainstream use by non-technical users and it has yet to do that.

  • Jonathan Tea

    I agree that Linux need to cross the chasm to become more mainstream, but everybody is afraid to try something they don’t know. Being a fairly new Linux user myself I can understand some of the frustration going to a new operating system. I made the jump to Ubuntu 8.04, and have been running LTS editions since. Linux is expanding slowly and surely. Eventually there will be a tipping point, and the more missed steps that proprietary software makers make the more opportunity there is for people to try something different.

    As it stands for me I’ve been able to show friends, and family how easy it is to Linux. When you say it’s free open source software and they don’t believe me. I even showed them how easy it is to install. In all honesty it just a matter of pushing the big OEMs to offer my systems with the choice of Operating systems.

    I still use Windows at work, and I have been playing with Windows 8 since the first consumer beta. I give a laundry list of thing I hate about Windows, but as long as M$ is using strong arm tactics with OEMs Linux isn’t going to get the exposure it needs to get more popular. Yeah there’s a handful OEM Linux only vendors, that have great products. The problem is getting Linux out there. Keep in mind that most people that use Linux have a conscience, and won’t strong arm people into using Linux.

  • Keksys

    Linux Desktop in Enterprises is DEAD! No sane person will use this abomination for real job.

  • Keksys

    Linux Desktop in Enterprises is DEAD! No sane person will use this abomination for real job.

  • Marc Schwartz

    Jonathon, Linux on desktop/laptops for mainstream users needs a champion in the marketplace, with an appropriate understanding of the functional requirements of the user base and a proactive business strategy, not a passive one. That does not exist today. Neither Red Hat nor Canonical appears to be focused on increasing marketshare for this domain. SUSE is focused on higher end players, which is why SUSE Linux is popular on supercomputers.

    We need only look to see what Google has done with Android (read Linux for mobile devices) to see what is possible when there is a single company that has a business focus and is willing to work with OEMs, including negotiating deals. You are not going to sell the hardware OEMs on Linux because of philosophy. There needs to be a bottom line financial benefit. Sell them on that value proposition and they will cooperate with you.

    There needs to be better hardware support, which means coming to terms with companies like nVidia and AMD to provide better GPU support under Linux. There needs to be better power management on laptops, to facilitate longer battery life.

    We also need a company that can put forth a standard offering to take away the uncertainties about Linux brought about by the infighting over GNOME 3 and Unity. There are similar dynamics now due to the split between OpenOffice and LibreOffice, key applications in a business environment, both of which need better support for complex MS Office documents for better interoperability with MS Office users.

    Some will look at these situations as examples of the strengths of Linux by providing more choice. Unfortunately, the marketplace looks at these situations as anarchy and instability and therefore there is hesitancy to commit. They won’t hang around waiting for the dust to settle, they will just move on.

    As Walt Disney once said, “You don’t build it for yourself. You know what the people want and you build it for them.”

    There was a window (pardon the pun) of opportunity when Vista came out. It was wasted, albeit Apple took advantage of it and has benefitted from increased marketshare due to a cohesive ecosystem across devices. The situation with RIM’s Blackberry failings also helped, by providing more incentives to look at iOS, especially since Windows Mobile has largely failed to gain traction.

    There is now another opportunity with Windows 8. Will anyone in the Linux community have the marketplace vision needed to take advantage of it? Perhaps Google has some plans to extend the Android ecosystem to these environments. They may be the only entity with the financial and technical resources, as well as brand recognition, to take this on, with a consumer based focus.

  • Caitlyn Martin

    Look at the OS list. Wndows XP, Windows 7, MacOS and no commercial UNIX. So… I checked what Forrester actually reported. These are Linux enterprise DESKTOP numbers, not server numbers. Linux has 8% of the enterprise desktop. That, based on my experience and research, is about right. The number on the server is north of 35%

    @Avatar: In my consulting work, starting with Red Hat in 2005, I’ve found that lots and bunches of companies and government agencies do use Linux on the desktop, either Red Hat or SLED.

  • Charlie Whitman

    The numbers in the graph appear to be for desktop usage in the enterprise (or at least the enterprises surveyed). That really is a sign of increased Linux adoption, since adoption generally starts in the enterprise and works its way toward the home user.

  • sola

    8% and growing, You need to work on your reading skills.

  • Khürt L. Williams

    Really? Is that what Apple did with the iPhone and Google with Android OS?

  • Khürt L. Williams

    I don’t know ANYONE at all in my network for coworkers, friends and family who use Linux as a desktop. I switched my wife to desktop Linux for 6 months until she begged me to switch her back. I bought here a MacBook 4 years ago and she has no complained one.

    As Keksys suggest,” No sane person will use this abomination for real job.”

  • sola

    All of the family is on Ubuntu with desktops and laptops (three 60+ old people, wife, + some relatives). Most of them don’t have Windows at all (I won’t install pirated sw and they won’t pay for it). We have a lot of Android devices (tablets+phones) and a HP TouchPad (WebOS Linux). Wider family has a lot of Ubuntu installations as well (sometimes I provide support). Most of the installations have been without complaints whatsoever (no surprises: they mostly browse, skype + email)

    At my workplace, 100% of the direct coworkers (11 ppl) use desktop Linux on the development machines (development environment built on Linux), some uses it on private laptops as well. All of the servers are Linux based.

    Which one of us is more representative?

  • Khürt L. Williams

    I work in a 25,000 person enterprise. # of Linux desktops is near zero. Your family can use Linux as a desktop because YOU provide free tech support. Does that scale?

  • sola

    I don’t see the relevance of this question. Why would it need to scale in this setting? My family isn’t getting any bigger. Moreover, some of the wilder family have installed and maintained Ubuntu Linux instances on their own, without help from me, so your starting point may not even be valid.

    In a corporate setting:

    Obviously, every serious company works with some kind of IT staff and that provides support. If they want to use Linux on desktops or servers, they extend / train the IT staff accordingly. Linux is not that much harder to manage than Windows, professional management tools exist on Linux as well (e.g. Landscape). I have seen settings when the IT staff didn’t support desktop Linux but people were allowed to use it.

    In one of the ISV companies I have recently worked for, EVERY developer machine had OpenSUSE as the main operating system and Windows is only used in virtual machines. We did the development in prepared Windows VM images which were copied to the development workstation according to the task (it was usually client-dependent). All servers were running some kind of Linux. The company had proper Linux-savvy sysadmins.

  • Khürt L. Williams

    “I don’t see the relevance of this question.”

    It’s relevant based on your assertions that your anecdotal experience with your family is someone indicative of some wider trend regarding desktop Linux. Your experience with your family is no indicator of anything regarding Linux except that you support your family.

    Every year for the last 10 years I hear the same mantra about how Linux is just about to go mainstream and every year the numbers indicate other wise.

    It’s like those people who keep rooting for the same team to win the major league baseball championship. And every year they lose but walk away saying, “Definitely next year”.

  • qad

    Your company of 25.000 coworkers has near zero IT-expertise above what they used to know since their childhood. Wich is a Windows Version of some kind.

    Thanks for sharing.

    There are enough companies that use linux on desktops, that is an evidence that Linux is a suitable desktop OS for Comercial use.

    Especially in bigger organisations Linux is easily rolled out and maintaned. For example over 80% of the computers (15.000++)of the city council of Munich are running Linux (Ubunutu 12.04 LTS) and OpenOffice/LibreOffice and open standards . 25% of the cost could have been saved intruducing and maintaining linux over just maintaining Microsoft software.

    Your unobjective “abomination” statement is worth nothing.

  • Khürt L. Williams

    I didn’t make any abomination statement. Read the thread.

    *Khürt Williams*
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  • Khürt L. Williams

    “There are many Linux users who are patient with newer users, and generous with their time and knowledge. Unfortunately, they’re outnumbered five to one by indignant, self-righteous jerks who’d rather belittle you for not being a Linux guru.”

    Here’s what a well know Linux desktop developer had to say last fall:

    “The only way to fix Linux is to take one distro, one set of components as a baseline, abadone everything else and everyone should just contribute to this single Linux. Whether this is Canonical’s Ubutu, or Red Hat’s Fedora or Debian’s system or a new joint effort is something that intelligent people will disagree until the end of the days.”

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