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Linux Is One of This Year's Top Trends

What's hot in 2004? Linux in the data center, according to Forrester Research. Also pretty warm: offshore outsourcing and RFID.

Linux in the data center, offshore outsourcing, and RFID are among the top trends to watch this year, according to Forrester Research's list, which was' released Friday. Forrester, which monitors IT trends and market moves, interviewed more than 500 information managers to compile its list of prognostications for the upcoming year. The list nails down both technology adoption trends, as well as growth patterns and changes predicted for 2004.

Linux, said Forrester, will cement its position in the data center in 2004, thanks to a maturation in the operating system distributions targeting enterprises. By the end of 2004, said the IT managers surveyed, close to 10 percent of the Global 2000 companies will have moved from Windows-based servers to Linux for their basic network infrastructure.

On the offshore outsourcing front, a sore point with many American technology workers who view the shift overseas as contributing to a decline in domestic jobs, Forrester sees only a continued uptick. "Outsourcing will continue to have a huge impact on economies both here and overseas," said Merv Adrian, a vice president with Forrester. The Indian IT services market alone will grow by 30 percent in 2004.

"But for the first time, we're seeing a break out of the monolithic model of outsourcing. Some things work better than others."

Among those that haven't yet really worked out, Adrian, are offshore help desks and contact centers. Some companies, in fact, are stressing the fact that they don't outsource such chores to foreign companies. To combat complaints from users about the technical and language skills of overseas help desks, foreign service suppliers will have to put more emphasis on boosting the English language proficiency of their workers and conduct more thorough training, said Adrian.

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