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New Study Shows Enterprises Evaluate on Windows, Deploy on Linux

Alfresco Software, Inc. announced the immediate availability of its first-ever global survey of trends in the use of open source software in the enterprise.

The Alfresco open source barometer survey, conducted April through June 2007 using opt-in data provided by 10,000 of the 15,000 Alfresco community members, showed that Windows is increasingly a popular evaluation platform for open source software but most enterprises use Linux when they go into production. The survey also asked users about their preferences in operating systems, application servers, databases, browsers, and portals to capture the latest information in how companies today evaluate and deploy open source and legacy proprietary software stacks in the enterprise.

"The survey shows there is a clear leader at each level of the open source stack but also indicates an increasing trend for organizations to adopt a mixed stack, combining both open source and proprietary software, to enable use of best of breed components," said Dr Ian Howells, CMO, Alfresco Software Inc. "The survey also illustrated that organizations require the flexibility to make component changes within the stack between evaluation and deployment phases."

An open source provider of enterprise content management software, Alfresco boasts more than 300 paying customers worldwide with a skew towards large, Global 2000 organizations, including Boise Cascade, Electronic Arts, the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Kaplan, NASA, Raley's and several of the world's largest financial services companies.

"The survey found that the U.S. is leading open source adoption globally," Howells said. "We believe the Global 2000 is seeking innovation and better value for their technology investments whereas in Europe open source adoption is often driven by governments seeking better value for their citizens. The research also showed that the U.K. lags behind in the adoption of open source suggesting less government emphasis compared with other European countries such as France, Germany, Spain and Italy."

According to the survey, deployments of Red Hat have grown at a rate twice as fast as Novell SUSE since the controversial November 2006 patents and interoperability agreement announced by Novell and Microsoft. "This finding suggests that customers may not like the terms of the deal as more information became public," Howells said.

The survey studied how enterprises evaluate, test and deploy both open source and proprietary software around Alfresco's enterprise content management system. Users surveyed provided unprecedented levels of detailed information on their software infrastructure, a reflection of the vibrancy of the Alfresco community. Among the highlights revealed by the open source barometer were:

Operating systems: Surprisingly, users evaluated Alfresco as much on Windows as they did on different flavors of Linux, but they strongly preferred to deploy production systems on Linux. Windows plays an increasingly important role in testing and evaluation because it is the operating system on most desktops.

Application servers: Users strongly preferred open source Tomcat or JBoss over the leading proprietary offerings from Sun, IBM and BEA, even in production environments.

Databases: Overwhelmingly, users test and deploy on MySQL with PostgreSQL a surprisingly close second for both evaluations and production deployment. Oracle was the most popular proprietary choice among the proprietary databases.

Browsers and portals: To access the Alfresco ECM repository, users preferred browsers over portals. And Firefox was the most popular choice among different browsers. When users selected a portal preference, 80 percent chose Liferay or JBoss Portal.

"Alfresco plan to survey our community on a biannual basis to deliver updates to the open source barometer," Howells said. "Our goal is to provide a leading indicator on enterprise open source adoption trends."

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.