Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

SAN DIEGO—Linux on end users’ desktops remains largely elusive for enterprises, but the open-source operating system could become more attractive as the demands of IT departments shift, said panelists and attendees at the Desktop Linux Summit 2004 here.

Microsoft Corp., the maker of the dominant Windows operating system, and other proprietary software vendors themselves could cause the spark for broader desktop Linux adoption by forcing IT departments into tougher licensing stances or costly upgrade cycles, said Linux backers and IT consultants at the conference on Friday.

Already, among those enterprise considering desktop Linux, the desire to take more control away from vendors seems to plays more of a role than potential cost savings, said Nat Friedman, a co-founder of Ximian Inc. and now Novell Inc.’s vice president of product development. Take Microsoft Exchange, the popular e-mail server in corporations, he said. To add directory services on top of it, enterprises must deploy Microsoft Active Directory because of the vendor’s control.

“Control is one issue coming up more and more,” Friedman said. “People want strategic independence from Microsoft.”

But to IT consultant Robert Lewis the central consideration for enterprise is less about control and more about risk. Some vendors’ overly onerous licensing terms, which in some cases even prevent users from publishing results of benchmarks and tests, could lead enterprises to more closely consider Linux, said Lewis, president of IT Catalysts Inc., in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Click here for the full story.