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8/10/2006
04:07 PM
Heather Clancy
Heather Clancy
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Opinion: Open Source Upside Speaks For Itself

CRN Editor Heather Clancy says there's more interest in Linux than ever before among solution providers -- and a recent survey vividly illustrates why so many providers are in such a hurry to jump on the Open Source bandwagon.

For a long time, it's been a given that anything on our Web site that includes the word "Linux" will generate an extra-special amount of reader traffic. But I never dreamed this week's LinuxWorld conference track on "Linux in the Channel" would be sold out—more than five times the anticipated attendees registered.

HEATHER CLANCY
Can be reached via e-mail at hclancy@cmp.com.
I'm moderating/emceeing the various conversations and will report on the buzz from San Francisco. But first, I wanted to share some tidbits of research conducted over the past few weeks by my colleagues at the Institute for Partner Education & Development, owned by CRN's parent company.

The IPED study, conducted on behalf of several technology vendors among 400 solution providers, found that about one-third of all respondents considered solutions with a Linux foundation to be an above-average profit opportunity. Comparatively speaking, about half of the solution providers with more than 20 percent of revenue from Linux-related solutions (which was about 30 percent of respondents) said the same thing.

Not surprisingly, there was a high correlation between profitability and the number of employees a particular solution provider had dedicated to Linux activities. Moreover, their customers tended to be on the larger side.

When you consider the reasons why solution providers have avoided Linux in the past, a dearth of management tools and methodologies and the lack of in-house expertise at customer prospects come up as two key obstacles. But to me, those are two of the key values a solution provider can offer. It also helps that vendors are stepping up to the plate with products to help your cause, such as Levanta's Intrepid M 4.2, covered this week by CRN Technical Editor Mario Morejon on page 26.

And contrary to the notion of Linux as a software game—and a major thorn in Microsoft's side—the strong Linux solution providers among the survey respondents reported a higher percentage of hardware content in their solutions.

You can read more about the IPED findings in CRN Senior Writer Paula Rooney's analysis on page 6. Meanwhile, rather than reject Linux out of hand as a fad, it's time to look within and assess whether you could benefit from opening your mind to open source.

Are you open-minded? HEATHER CLANCY, Editor at CRN, appreciates your feedback at hclancy@cmp.com.

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