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A prolific penguin
Caldera is also not worried that rampant piracy-almost a culture in Asia-may depress the market for Linux in the region. “We will get together to educate and show how to get open source products without stealing,” he said.
Piracy is not an issue in the Linux realm, said Linus Lai, senior market analyst for International Data Corporation (IDC) Malaysia, mainly because license revenues are not the focus as it is with Windows NT.
"Let's face it. If Linux were really dependent on license revenues, it wouldn't have all the press attention that it is enjoying today. The value-added services that vendors, resellers and distributors can offer to the corporate sector are where the real money is," he said.
Lai said IDC only began tracking Linux sales in Asia Pacific this year but assumes the highest demand would be in the largest IT markets including Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia. "Worldwide, Linux generated many unit sales but very little revenue compared with the major Server Operating Environment (SOE) platforms last year," he said.
Lai added that Linux was the No. 1 SOE in terms of unit-volume growth in 1998 but revenue generated amounted to a miniscule US$31 million, compared to NT Server sales of more than US$1.3 billion.
Linux also claimed only 0.6% of the total revenues generated by SOEs. "There is a handful of suppliers, or distributors, of Linux, and our report reflects the combined unit sales and revenues generated by all major Linux distributors," he said.
Unit sales for paid copies of Linux distributions, however, grew an astronomical 190.4% year-over-year. "Unpaid" copies shipped could have pushed up the figure significantly higher.
IDC attributed the rapid growth rate to extremely low cost, the relatively small base of units sold in 1997, and enthusiastic adoption of its use for Web-serving.
"We do not believe that Linux displaced units of Unix, Windows NT Server or NetWare in 1998. However, the situation could change this year. Several major vendors announced that they would offer Linux as a choice for channel-based server sales. IDC expects this trend to extend to nearly all major systems vendors by the year 2000," he said.
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