In the survey, Linux workloads are changing, with 60% saying they use Linux "for more mission critical workloads" than in the past.
Although low cost remains a factor in Linux adoption, survey respondents cited security and technical superiority as their top drivers. Sixty-eight percent cited technical superiority, 65% total cost of ownership, and 64% cited security. Asked if the recession had prompted increasing use of Linux at their organizations, 40% said it had, but 59% said their Linux use was not driven by economic need springing from the downturn.
Comments from the 387 largest enterprise and government agency respondents were included in the report; they each had at least $500 million in revenue or 500 employees.
"Training staff (on Linux) has proven to be more cost effective than purchasing licenses," said one of the cost-sensitive commenters. But another said, "Our strategy has been towards Linux for many years. The recession didn't change that."
The Linux kernel continues to be developed through the open source project lead by Linus Torvalds and Andrew Morton, but most large users appear to have confidence in the process: 86.5% said they believe that Linux continues to improve.
Only 26% expected to be involved in cloud computing in the next 12 months, but of those planning the move, 70% said Linux would be their primary cloud operating system.
A somewhat surprising 36% claimed to be using Linux on the desktop, although many conceded it existed in small pockets, not widespread implementations. Linux is often the desktop system of developers. "A few noted more than 400 desktop deployments underway with one citing an 8,000 desktop target," the report said.
Only 13% of the respondents actively contributed code to Linux, but 38% said they test for and report on bugs.
Among the respondents were Linux users at Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Bristol-Myers Squibb, NTT, Deutsche Bank, Dreamworks, ADP, McKinsey and Co., Bank of New York, Barclays Capital, AIG, the U.S. Department of Defense, MetLife, CME Group, NASDAQ QMX, The New York Stock Exchange, and Goodrich.