The rise of Linux will reduce the number of Unix variants for mid-range systems to around four and force out some middle-tier Unix vendors, according to analysts.
George Weiss, an analyst at researcher Gartner, said: "Linux will help speed the demise of non-leadership Unix, forcing the number down to three or four Unix variants for systems under $100,000." Unix flavours likely to survive will include Solaris, HP UX and Monterey, he said.
Speaking at Gartner's US Spring Symposium this week, Weiss said that by 2005 Linux will represent 20 per cent of all Unix spend and be used in embedded systems or mid-range servers with single applications, but will not replace Unix in mission-critical systems.
He warned delegates to avoid using Linux in high-end database deployments until the next kernel enhancement. Customers may also have difficulty finding vendors that are capable of providing software and support if they want to implement Linux across the board, he said.
Although many software developers have pledged support for Linux, Weiss said that they will not drop their Unix strategies, so customers should avoid spending too much energy on Linux. Customers should also be willing to pay for Unix-like enhancements to Linux that will be priced similar to Unix improvements.
Weiss said it will be an uphill struggle to depose Microsoft's dominance on the desktop, but that Linux has opportunities in non-PC applications and embedded environments.
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