Linux accounts for about one percent of desktop operating systems in the whitebox space, according to figures from IDC Australia.
The results follow a recent survey of 200 resellers, 250 SMEs and 400 consumers. The analyst group found only 1.1 percent of SMEs planned to use the operating system in the next whitebox PC purchase. And just 1.7 percent of consumers said they used Linux on their branded notebook PC. Whitebox PC assemblers expected Linux to represent 1.1 percent of anticipated sales for 2005.
While Linux had continued to become more accessible, IDC PC hardware analyst Michael Sager said the figures showed its presence in the desktop PC and notebook operating system environment was still very low.
He said the numbers would have been even lower if piracy figures were included.
Some respondents had indicated that the reduced licensing fees associated with Linux had been clawed back by increased support costs, Sager said. "Specialist Linux support staff can command high salaries," he said.
Sager advised the channel to offer Linux as an option or to focus on existing pockets of users in education, government and enthusiasts. For system builders, thin clients systems and servers showed more promise, he added.
Westan Managing Director Victor Aghtan did not expect Linux to feature strongly as a desktop OS for several reasons.
"There's not a lot of application software available and Open Office has not been developed sufficiently," he said. A Windows-styled front-end would also be needed before the system took off, Aghtan said.