Businesses and government institutions are increasingly buying IT services around Linux, open source and free software, a study by IDC has revealed, with Western European organisations expected to spend US$98m on these services in 2004, rising to US$228m by 2008.
“The services market around Linux and free software accounts for less than 1pc of the total Western European IT services market, but it is losing its niche status and emerging as a mainstream market,” said Dominique Raviart, a senior research analyst in IDC’s European Services group.
There are several factors driving this market growth, not least the fact that many companies and the public sector are choosing Linux and free software as a cost-cutting measure.
“In the past, internal IT staff have been responsible for selecting and implementing open source and free software solutions,” said Raviart. “Now, as this software becomes more embedded in the main IT planning cycles, enterprises are beginning to turn towards large systems integrators and free software specialists.”
IDC expects the public sector in Western Europe, and especially in Germany and France, to be strong advocates of such solutions. “Governments, whether local or central, are bringing a lot of visibility to Linux projects. At this stage, several public sector units are at the consulting phase. In the next two years, a number of them will begin migration projects,” said Lionel Lamy, program manager, European Infrastructure Management Services at IDC.
“In the medium-term future, the IT services market around Linux, free software, and open source software will remain a small. However, it is a dynamic market and one of the few growth drivers in system integration at the moment,” said Raviart.
By John Kennedy