Ubuntu is making inroads at IBM, with IBM making a significant commitment to lift Ubuntu out of its alleged "community" status to true enterprise status. (It's already enterprise-class, but perception lags technology.) IBM's reason for its Ubuntu move? Customer demand.
Here's another data point. I just got this data from Alfresco's chief marketing officer, Ian Howells, and it shows Ubuntu exceeding Red Hat Enterprise Linux for the first time in Alfresco's community:
Remember: While Alfresco's only one company, the data still has significance as our deployments tend to be with the Global 2000, and a significant portion are mission-critical. (When a company's Web site is their business, that business is worth billions each year, and that site is managed with Alfresco, I consider that mission-critical.)
That said, a (big) caveat is in order. This is not a representation of how much Ubuntu has gone into production with Alfresco. It's a snapshot of our content community (i.e. those who register with Alfresco for white papers, documentation, etc.). It may well be that 100% of our RHEL community represents production instances and 100% of the Ubuntu community represents evaluation instances. I don't yet have that data. (However, even if true, the same could be said of Windows, as a majority of our evaluations are on Windows but a majority of our production deployments are on Linux.)
Still, I can't help but look at this data with surprise. I don't think it portends doom and gloom for Red Hat at all. But it does say a lot about the rise of Ubuntu. Ubuntu should be taken seriously by Red Hat, Novell, Sun, and Microsoft. But it should also be taken seriously by enterprise customers.
That's how I read the tea leaves.
Oh, and one more thing. The chart as a whole demonstrates increased viability for Linux across the board. Part of the growth on the chart can be ascribed to Alfresco's community growth. But looking at the growth of Linux versus the growth of other operating systems with Alfresco shows Linux growing at a faster pace. (I'll try to create a chart to show it.)
Like attracts like. Open source is a magnet for other open source.