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Is Linux's "Overall Market Share" Statistic Meaningful?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the either-that-or-it's-not dept.

Linux Business 300

ruphus13 writes "Linux recently achieved 1% market share of the overall operating system market. But, does that statistic really mean anything useful? This article makes the case that it doesn't. It states, 'Framed in the "overall market share" terminology, the information (or how it was gathered and calculated) isn't necessarily questionable, it's more that it's meaningless. It's nebulous, even when one looks at several months worth of data. [How] Linux is used in various business settings answers an actual question — and the answer can be used to ask further questions, form opinions — and maybe one day even explain to some degree what 1% of the market share really means. ... Operating systems aren't immortal beings, and by rights, there can't be (there shouldn't be) only one. ... No one system can be everything to everyone, and no one system (however powerful, or stable) can do everything perfectly that just one person might require of it in the course of a day. While observing trends and measuring market share are important, the results (good or bad) shouldn't be any platform's measure of self-worth or validation. It's a data point to build on (we're weak in this area, strong in this area, our platform is being used a lot more this quarter, where did all of our users go?) in order to improve and stay relevant.'"

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Ridiculous. (5, Funny)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063215)

Operating systems aren't immortal beings, and by rights, there can't be (there shouldn't be) only one.

What? This directly contradicts the widely-known fact that Linux is The Highlander of operating systems.

Re:Ridiculous. (3, Funny)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063799)

If Linux is The Highlander, then is Windows The Borg?

Does that mean that OSX are vampires? And what is Solaris?

Re:Ridiculous. (4, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063845)

Does that mean that OSX are vampires? And what is Solaris?

The dodo bird.

Re:Ridiculous. (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063877)

Zombies?

Re:Ridiculous. (5, Funny)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064189)

If Linux is The Highlander, then is Windows The Borg?

No, they're not The Borg, they're Vogons. Much, much worse.

Re:Ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28064829)

No it does not.

If Linux is The Highlander, then NT is The Borg and XNU is The Vampires while SunOS is The Yeti.
Do not ask what FreeBSD, OpenBSD and NetBSD are!

It ain't good to compare just the Linux OS (kernle) to whole Software systems like Windows and MacOSX.

of course it means something numbnuts (3, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063229)

it's 1% of how they were measuring it. what you really want to know is how meaningful are the metrics used to produce that 1%.

slashdot, missing the point as usual....

Re:of course it means something numbnuts (3, Interesting)

PleaseFearMe (1549865) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063351)

It's like playing WOW and someone comes up to you and tells you the level of your character, the strength of its spells, don't matter. And all this time these were the things you were aiming for. A lot of people, me included, want to see Linux have 100% market share. What the summary seems to be trying to say is to not treat market share as the main goal. It is going one step beyond what timmarhy is saying. The article does not say that it is the number 1% that is faulty. Instead, it is the desire to know the market share that is misguided.

Re:of course it means something numbnuts (3, Interesting)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064163)

I wouldn't want linux to have a 100% market share, just a big enough market share that it is supported on hardware as much as windows is

Re:of course it means something numbnuts (5, Interesting)

Ghworg (177484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064301)

Absolutely. I want to be able to walk into a store, buy some random piece of hardware and be absolutely sure that it will work under Linux. I don't care how many people use Linux, I just want to make my own personal choice to use it easier.

The question is, what market share is required to achieve this? I'm betting it's fairly low, I mean, even at 1% we are starting to see some traction. Boxes with Linux pre-installed are available from major manufacturers (albeit in a limited and hidden manner), more and more hardware makers are starting to produce drivers or release specs so the community can (I'm looking at ATI here).

If we are getting all this at 1%, then surely full-support can't need a huge amount more, I'd guess at 10% we should be good. How long it will take to get there is another question.

Re:of course it means something numbnuts (2, Interesting)

node 3 (115640) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063491)

Actually, that's not terribly important, so long as the methodology isn't downright absurd. What's more important is market share of what market. Of servers, it's going to be much higher than 1%, but that's not a very interesting market to most people.

Of the business market, that's a bit more interesting. Still, more of a factoid type number than something useful.

The truly interesting number for most people is the consumer or home user market. That tells you what people are running when given a choice. Even if someone bought a Mac or Windows PC without knowing Linux existed, they can choose to install it at any time. Of this market, I suspect the number is actually less than 1%.

Re:of course it means something numbnuts (2, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063615)

I haven't seen surveys or stats that focused on business vs. home use.

I think the proportion can be important, for instance, it can tell vendors how much time and money they can justify spending to satisfy the wants of a vocal group.

The fact that Linux can be installed after purchase is kind of a red herring, because the proportion of people that browse the web using a Linux system hasn't been shown to be much larger than 1% of all browsers. I think to claim that the user base is a lot larger than that, you'd have to say that either Linux users as a group are predisposed to avoiding http, or that they don't visit the top several hundred most popular web sites, which those stats are based on, and that's encroaching into a special pleading argument.

Re:of course it means something numbnuts (2, Interesting)

thsths (31372) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064551)

> or that they don't visit the top several hundred most popular web sites

Did they ever check that these sites are actually Linux accessible? If not, they would hardly register any Linux connections even if the world was being taken over by Linux...

I am just saying that because some IT sites come to a very different conclusion - maybe Linux users are more selective about their information sources, and avoid the mainstream. Somehow that would make sense :-)

I think the point of the study is that the market share is still small, probably in the single digits.

Re:of course it means something numbnuts (2, Interesting)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063831)

What matters are the network affects. The Linux ecosystem (including the pantheon of open source projects) relies on contributions from the 1% of people who are able to fix bugs and add features.

Geeks used to try Linux for geek points. Now geeks use Linux because it's better in most ways for what they use it for. That's the battle that Linux has won.

Yes, I've heard about .net ... it's a factor, but if it really flies mono will catch up.

Re:of course it means something numbnuts (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064101)

Geeks used to try Linux for geek points. Now geeks use Linux because it's better in most ways for what they use it for. That's the battle that Linux has won.

I would wager quite a large sum of money that significantly less than 50% of "geeks" run Linux.

Re:of course it means something numbnuts (3, Interesting)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064545)

I'm a geek. I run Windows XP OEM install on my Aspire One laptop.

However, I run debian stable for any server stuff.

And I don't actually do development on the netbook. I remote into the debian machine and there I do work.

Does that make me a hypocrite? No. I never claimed that Linux should be on all the desktops. I claimed, and continue to, that linux can be a fine desktop for people who know how to set it up well enough. I personally don't want to invest the time to do that.

Re:of course it means something numbnuts (1)

SlashWombat (1227578) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064645)

I would wager quite a large sum of money that significantly less than 50% of "geeks" run Linux.

This probably depends on your definition of "Geek". If they are not running Linux, they really aren't geeks, just dumb-wanabe's. (Somewhat like the loose definition of nerd used on /.)

It would be more illuminating to discuss why so the Linux server percentage is so high. (Thus exposing the poor quality and/or high price of its competition)

Re:of course it means something numbnuts (1)

rzekson (990139) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064115)

Mono had a lot of time to catch up, but as much as I respect the effort of the Mono team, the progress has been painfully slow. It took several years to even get the implementation of generics debugged. The last time I checked, implementation of web services (olive) was mostly one guy's job, and not even in the core system. Meanwhile, the gap is widening, and Microsoft is moving fast. At this point, nobody in the sane mind except the hardcore free software fanatics will ever choose Mono/Linux over .NET/Windows because it just makes no sense: Mono is epochs behind .NET in terms of functionality, and has negligible user base. How exactly is Mono going to catch up? Turn on a hidden antimatter quantum warp drive, or some other secred weapon from Sci-Fi novels? The Linux community has not embraced this technology, even though it was clearly a marvel of engineering and popped out just in the right moment. Indeed, some folks out there are still not sure that it "really flies". Nevermind that .NET is spreading to one platform (PCs, PDAs, gaming consoles, browsers, OS scripting, headless servers), programming languages and paradigm (dymamic languages, functional languages, you name it) after another. With this sort of attitude, surely it will never fly on Linux. How unfortunate. The Linux community had a huge head start with Java, but is blowing it big time, too. By the time this community realizes that managed languages were the key technology to focus on, .NET will be light years ahead. Who cares about superior package management if the development tools lag behind because the community has not actively promoted and developed and a single consistent modern development platform?

Re:of course it means something numbnuts (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064459)

Why would the home user market be more important than the business one? I'm sorry, but that makes absolutely no sense.

To me, it's like trying to predict the results of the World Cup by comparing the amount of fans rather than the skill of the players. A complete waste of time, unless your only interest is to be with the most 'popular' stuff.

Quick response: No (5, Insightful)

Drinking Bleach (975757) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063245)

To the developers, at least, marketshare is absolutely irrelevant to their efforts. With some exceptions, the GNU/Linux systems is largely built to benefit the developers themselves, and if other people find it useful, good for them.

Re:Quick response: No (3, Insightful)

arminw (717974) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063329)

...To the developers, at least, marketshare is absolutely irrelevant to their efforts....

That maybe true to those dedicated souls who give time and effort for free to develop the software, but not for the companies who make the hardware. They have to provide support for their products. Building up an entire support team for such a small share of units sold is disproportionately expensive and will not be done by anyone who wants to make a profit. For all products, with computers no exception, most people look to the manufacturer to address an eventual problem. Ordinary users are not sophisticated enough to determine whether the problem is with the software or with the hardware. They will instinctively call the manufacturer of the computer box and expect help. Giving this help will cost a manufacturer a sizable bundle of money.

Re:Quick response: No (2, Insightful)

Draek (916851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064477)

Good thing then that those dedicated souls who give time and effort for free to develop the software aren't requiring manufacturers to build anything themselves, and in fact have been very clear from day one that all they want are open specifications for the hardware. And that only requires a change of mindset, no need to hire new people to cope with extra work.

Re:Quick response: No (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064585)

sadly, much hardware is just rebranded common parts and third party licences, and said third party may not like the idea of open source at all...

Re:Quick response: No (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063365)

To some developers, it does matter. The kernel guys know they've made something useful, so sure, they don't care so much if it makes it on the desktop, they know they've made something awesome and people respect them for it.

But if I had made an awesome distro, or windows manager, or whatever; and no one wanted to use it, I'd feel really lame. What is the problem? I don't know, but eventually Linux will make it.

Re:Quick response: No (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063517)

But if I had made an awesome distro, or windows manager, or whatever; and no one wanted to use it, I'd feel really lame.

I wouldn't, simply because I recognise that the majority have completely screwed up priorities, and generally have no clue how to recognise real quality when they see it.

If you want to make a popular Linux distro, all you have to do is clone Windows. Case closed.

The popularity of Linux distros can therefore easily be determined by how closely they resemble Windows. Ubuntu is the one distro which has the most in common with Windows, which is why it will be the most popular. From the above heuristic, you can also easily determine how (tragically) comparitively unpopular distros such as Slack, Arch, or Gentoo will remain. They resemble Windows the least.

Re:Quick response: No (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063577)

That's an extremely simplistic argument: 'different priorities than you' is not the same as 'completely screwed up priorities.'

My favorite distro is Slackware, but it's not easy to use (it IS fun to use). The reason it's unpopular has nothing to do with how similar it is to Windows. In fact, for Linux to take over on the desktop, it CAN'T just copy windows, it has to be better. If you could make it exactly like windows, people would say, "well that's cool, why not get the real thing?" It has to do something better, otherwise it will continue to wallow in unusedness.

Incidentally, the kernel programmers are relatively responsive to the needs of their users: a lot of their new features are added because people want them. They don't do everything the users want, but they don't ignore them. That was HURD.

Seriously. The day Linux is just like Windows is the day I boot OpenBSD.

Re:Quick response: No (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063739)

They don't do everything the users want, but they don't ignore them. That was HURD.

Well, yes; we already well know about the FSF's tendency to try and tell other people what they want, rather than listening to said other people. Still, I'm not going to turn this particular post into another foaming-at-the-mouth rant about my unwavering belief that Stallman is the antiChrist; I've already written plenty of those, and they're in my comment history if you're interested. ;)

Seriously. The day Linux is just like Windows is the day I boot OpenBSD.

Why do you think I'm currently running FreeBSD? If I were you I'd beat the rush. ;)

Re:Quick response: No (4, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063501)

If it was 1993, I would probably agree with you. However, the focus has been all about building market share for Linux for quite a long time now. Yes, many developers would work on it regardless of market share, but many others are working on it primarily because of its popularity. Personally, I think it's absurd to try and make Linux a Windows killer, but it seems like a large majority of the Linux community wants to make that happen. Sure, articles like these come along every so often when it's become obvious that Linux has once again failed to increase its share of the desktop market, but for the most part the community is still trying to beat Microsoft.

Linux is strong enough in the server market to allow me to make a living working with it. That's good enough for me. Yes, I use Linux on my own desktop (minus the Windows-clone desktop environments like Gnome and KDE), but I don't give a rip how many other people do. So long as Linux pays my bills, I'm happy. If everyone else wants to stick with Windows, that's fine by me. I still use Windows myself for things that require it, and I don't feel any kind of guilt for doing that.

Re:Quick response: No (3, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063563)

To the developers, at least, marketshare is absolutely irrelevant to their efforts.

Nobody wants to program a user application for a platform without users. Except as a training excercise, perhaps.

Re:Quick response: No (4, Interesting)

SleepingWaterBear (1152169) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063645)

This isn't quite true. I use Linux primarily because it's such an excellent development environment. However, I'd like to see it get a larger market share so that I can reap the benefits of manufacturers producing and testing drivers for hardware, and software developers releasing versions of their programs for Linux. I don't really care about market share for it's own sake, but market share comes with perks!

I figure Linux would only need around 5% market share to get me most the advantages I want though. Not everyone needs to use it!

Marketshare is meangless (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064379)

Look into the logs on our computing cluster on any given work day ad you'll find between 1,000 and 2,000 users using our hosted software. 9 GNU/Linux systems, lightly loaded. But that's thousands of Windows terminals, and a hundred or two Macs.

But the work is being done on NINE midrange servers!

A funny scenario - one of our clients had their own database system running on a dozen Windows servers. Performance was at a crawl, and I can't tell you how many times I had to reassure them that performance wouldn't be a issue. Well, the cutover happened, and the increase on our systems was so severe that we didn't even notice!

VIVE Linux and Postgre!

Re:Quick response: No (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064741)

If man had more of a sense of humor, things might have turned out differently

I disagree. For FOSS developers market share is pretty much the only way you know that you are making a difference. You can volunteer for all sorts of reasons, fun project, want to learn a new language etc. But "Is anyone using this?" is a very big piece of the puzzle.

For for profit code, market share translates into revenue and profits, revenue pays your salary, allows the company to grow etc. With out a growing company you have to rely on attritition for advancement. So yeah market share is important. A caveat is though if you are in a growing industry then you can get a way with still having the same market share.

Not 1%. Much more. Enough with the 1% (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28063249)

Why do people keep quoting this obviously bogus 1% figure? It's too low by several points. Can we please stop spreading disinformation already?

Re:Not 1%. Much more. Enough with the 1% (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063339)

Why do people keep quoting this obviously bogus 1% figure?

Because there are sound commercial reasons to do so.

Re:Not 1%. Much more. Enough with the 1% (2, Insightful)

epine (68316) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063677)

Because there are sound commercial reasons to do so.

Which vary in each specific instance, while the figure itself remains largely unchanged.

It boils down to human counting systems with only three or four distinct values: 0%, 1%, 90%, 99% aka nobody, hardly anybody, most people, almost everyone.

When you cite 1% it spares you from deciding whether to write "hardly anyone" or "a tenacious few". For exponential distributions, 1% is the glass half-full point: the optimists read that as the upward inflection of immanent domination; status-quo pessimists read that as annoying cohort who forgot to take their meds.

If you write "5% of desktops run Linux", it's like saying the glass is 5/8s full. It only complicates the knee-jerk response.

If some materials science wonk invents an exotic new material which they have absolutely no idea how to commercialize, but raised money anyway, the obligatory quote is that commercial products will be available "in five years". It's kinda PR speak for "don't call us, we'll call you, if we ever get our shit together".

There are sound reasons not to take precision too seriously.

http://www.scientificblogging.com/quantum_diaries_survivor/nitpicking_omega_b_discovery [scientificblogging.com]

Re:Not 1%. Much more. Enough with the 1% (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063397)

and your basing this on what? i have no trouble believing only 1 in 100 computers has linux on it

Re:Not 1%. Much more. Enough with the 1% (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063997)

I hope you're right. I like being in the top 1%.

Re:Not 1%. Much more. Enough with the 1% (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063439)

Macs are at around 10-15%. How many Macs do you see in public? how many Linux notebooks?

Granted, it's much easier to spot a Mac than a Linux PC, but from the screen side it's easy, and I've never seen a Linux notebook in public that wasn't someone I know. Otherwise the total would be two. And I have to go back 15 years to get that number.

Re:Not 1%. Much more. Enough with the 1% (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063729)

How many Macs do you see in public?

I have only seen about 5-10 Macs ever (two Apple IIs over 12 years ago, 2 Mac laptops, 3 IMacs, and a couple others)

how many Linux notebooks?

Notebooks? About 10, but PCs/Servers over 20.

I have 3 Linux PCs and 3 Linux Laptops.

Re:Not 1%. Much more. Enough with the 1% (2, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063519)

So...

We trust the guy who "just says so" over the guys who collect and analize the data and compare the results for a living?

Sorry bro "just cause" doesn't cut it when there are mountains of data proving you wrong.

Linux extremely popular in a few areas: network backbones, pure data crunching applications (often a windows application passes data to a linux server farm for processing), web server applications where up-front OS cost is a significant portion of the cost (else the MS server product is often cheaper in the long run), web server applications that require very custom applications and very fine OS control, very small embedded hardware applications, etc. For a lot of these applications I'd wager linux has 50/50 market share with microsoft (roughly, novel still has a portion of the server market, and apple has a very small portion as well). In a few areas like embedded apps, MS has very little market share, and Linux is probably in the 50-70% range, maybe even higher.

However, ALL of those applications are trounced by the desktop PC market, and MS still owns that hands down, even with Macs at 9%. 1% is not at all unbelievable for Linux, MS has its hands in almost everything, and has very good products that are strong competitors in almost every catagory. Linux doesn't even compare, it's a niche OS used for niche applications and it is very very good at filling most all niche needs. Unfortunately "Niche" is just everything MS doesn't dominate.

Re:Not 1%. Much more. Enough with the 1% (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063745)

I agree with you on almost everything here, except one: Linux is not a "niche" OS, any more than the model for its existence, Unix, is a "niche" OS. It was, from the very beginning, intended to be a general-purpose computing platform, capable of running just about any type of program. And it does.

It may be used mostly by a particular "niche" of the market right now, but that does not make it a niche OS. The two things are entirely different.

For example, some recent versions of Mac OS were developed on top of a variant of BSD, which for all practical purposes is itself a variant of Unix (even if the BSD people would disagree). Would you call the Mac OS a "niche" OS? Not at all. It is as general-purpose as Windows. But all it really is, is a layer on top of a POSIX-compliant OS, which makes it, at lower levels, virtually indistinguishable from all the POSIX-compliant flavors of Linux.

Re:Not 1%. Much more. Enough with the 1% (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28064293)

It's pretty unbelievable because it's not true. Linux went past 1% at least 5 years ago. The only way it's believable is if you're completely unaware of what goes on in the real world.

"Statistics are like mini skirts... (5, Funny)

ark1 (873448) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063253)

both reveal some interesting things but may hide the essential."

Well... (5, Insightful)

techwizrd (1164023) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063273)

These statistics seem to a be a bit flawed. Windows has 90% of the market, Mac OS X has 9%, and Linux has 1%. However, Linux is heavily used in servers, handhelds, and other devices. Not to mention, the fact that there is no way reliable way to track Linux installs (100s of dstributions with users installing everywhere and no phoning home to report it).

I don't think this statistic is meaningful. I think Linux should keep chugging along and show the world that freedom, volunteers, and good will can equal money. Something to tip the scales...

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063481)

Who modded the parent a Troll? Perfectly legitimate comment, and he's right besides.

The problem is that they assume that the only reasonable metric for evaluating Linux adoption is to compare the number of Linux boxes to the number of Mac or Windows systems. That ignores the fact that millions upon millions of devices are running Linux (mostly embedded systems of one kind or another.) In most cases, it's not even apparent that Linux is under the hood.

Linux is here to stay, period. Whether or not it eventually becomes serious competition to Windows (or the Mac for that matter) is not relevant, since there's plenty of other application for it.

Re:Well... (3, Interesting)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064073)

I think it's assumed that we're talking about Linux on the desktop.

Not so difficult (2, Insightful)

PleaseFearMe (1549865) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063279)

The market share is not fragmented so evenly as the summary suggests. The majority of the market share is composed of people who only check email, browse the web, etc. I have heard plenty of stories of these people moving seamlessly from Windows to Linux. Linux should be aiming specifically for this group of people because they do not need the proprietary software that musicians/artists/etc. would otherwise need. All their needs can easily be satisfied with Firefox and Thunderbird. There is not much more to the data point than how many people have experienced Linux and found that it satisfied all their needs without the heavy price they must otherwise pay to Microsoft. What Linux needs to do is get itself out there through advertisements, etc. There needs to be more commercials on television like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwL0G9wK8j4 [youtube.com]

Re:Not so difficult (2, Interesting)

zxjio (1475207) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063331)

I was recently watching Hulu and saw an ad for what I first thought might be Firefox. Turns out it was Chrome, which is too bad (we already know Google can advertise). It seems like the perfect space to advertise for Firefox or, better yet, a Linux distribution. You know people there are somewhat tech savvy, and frankly for whatever your friend says, having professionally-produced advertisements on respectable places like Hulu stamp "Ubuntu" into your consciousness means a lot for acceptance.

Re:Not so difficult (1)

jb_02_98 (636753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063427)

I agree. It would be really neat to see some Open Source ads getting run somewhere. Perhaps a fund should be started to get the ball rolling.

Re:Not so difficult (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063617)

But why should it be Hulu? Hulu is a commercial site. They are not necessarily supporters of Open Source (even though the site is built in Ruby on Rails), if they can get advertising money from someone else. So my guess is that if Google wants to pay to advertise Chrome, you aren't going to see Firefox ads on there anytime soon.

I mentioned something about this recently... (1)

jb_02_98 (636753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063283)

I blogged a bit about this a while ago. The direct link is http://josephbrower.com/2009/05/13/whats-up-with-market-share/ [josephbrower.com] . I'd be interested in hearing what people think.

Re:I mentioned something about this recently... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28063371)

If you really cared what people thought, you would have posted your opinion here. As it is, all I see is blog-whoring. Stop wasting peoples' time.

Re:I mentioned something about this recently... (1)

jb_02_98 (636753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063393)

If you really cared what people thought, you would have posted your opinion here. As it is, all I see is blog-whoring. Stop wasting peoples' time.

My apologies. If you would like, I can copy and paste the blog entry. Would that help you to feel better?

Re:I mentioned something about this recently... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28063583)

My apologies. If you would like, I can copy and paste the blog entry. Would that help you to feel better? [/sarcasm]

There, fixed that for ya.

Re:I mentioned something about this recently... (1)

jb_02_98 (636753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063709)

No, I wasn't trying to be sarcastic, I was simply interested in hearing what people think without having to copy and paste my entire blog entry. Since that seems to be what people want, I'll post it here and waste more precious bits. (The last part was sarcasm, by the way. :-P ) I apologize that some of the characters and such don't appear to have translated properly.

I was thinking the other day, why is market share so important? I read various articles saying Linux has X market share, Mac has Y market share, and Windows has Z market share. I would like to throw the following question out to the masses. Who cares? The pie is large enough in this industry that it doesnâ(TM)t really matter. Especially when you look at this on a global scale. If I was producing something in an industry this size, I would be thrilled to have 0.01 percent market share. I understand that market share is extremely useful in determining growth of any product, but in this case I seriously donâ(TM)t think it matters all that much beyond a growth measurement. Right now it is very difficult to quantify which operating systems are being used the most. We canâ(TM)t count sales (there are many free operating systems.) We canâ(TM)t count downloads (one person could download it multiple times.) We canâ(TM)t even count website visits (my blog is visited more under Ubuntu Linux than any other operating system.)

So could someone tell me why it is so important to try to expend all of this energy on market share calculations? Isnâ(TM)t market share simply supposed to tell us if there is an increase or a decline in a particular productâ(TM)s use? Relative accuracy is important while complete accuracy is not. If you measure using the same tool each time and see a growth, then you can be confident that a growth has occurred. Expending all of this energy on trying to calculate the exact number of Linux users isnâ(TM)t going to really benefit everyone. Letâ(TM)s try to focus on actually making good products and having them speak for themselves.

Now before everyone starts to call me a zealot and a person thatâ(TM)s just upset that linux has a small market share, let me say one more thing. Everything has started with a small market share, and it hasnâ(TM)t mattered before. Any new product starts small. Any new service starts small. Thatâ(TM)s the point! They donâ(TM)t start out saying âoeWe have 0% market penetration so we have failed.â What they do instead is look at what overhead they can afford and build their business around that. I ran an open source business for a while, and had a very small market share, but I lived quite comfortably. Market share isnâ(TM)t the be-all, end-all, it is just one of many tools that companies can use to determine if they are growing or shrinking. It isnâ(TM)t some magical tool that tells them if they are successful.

Re:I mentioned something about this recently... (1)

jb_02_98 (636753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063767)

My apologies. If you would like, I can copy and paste the blog entry. Would that help you to feel better? [/sarcasm]

There, fixed that for ya.

I forgot to address your main concern. I did want to help people feel better. No sense in making people upset.

Re:I mentioned something about this recently... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28063717)

I'm sure you didn't mean it, but being a blog whore is frowned upon here.

It's not meaningless at all (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063285)

The quote from TFA misses the point entirely. It's not about there "being only one," it's about there being enough users to make Linux (or any OS that isn't from Microsoft) a viable alternative to Windows. If a particular OS has 0.0001% or 0.01% or even 0.1% market share, very few developers are going to develop for that OS. You won't be able to connect your machine running that OS to anyone's network, even if it's technically capable of making the connection, because IT will be paranoid about this unknown platform. Etc. But if you reach 1% or more, that's kind of a magic number. You may still be seen as kind of weird for not following the crowd, but you'll be able to use your computer for the same tasks for which everyone else uses theirs.

I'd say 1% is about what any non-Windows OS needs, as long as the aggregate of "alternative" OSes stays above 5% or so, as is currently the case with Linux + OS X. When the number gets significantly below that, as it did in the days before Linux took off and when you couldn't say "Apple" without first saying "beleaguered," things are pretty rough for anyone who's not running Windows on the desktop, using IE for the web, and writing everything in Word.

Re:It's not meaningless at all (2, Interesting)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064051)

Linux has been a viable operating system for at least ten years now. Ditto for FreeBSD which I use. They have had ample developers to make them viable for a very long time. Don't worry about what other people are using, and make your own decisions.

Re:It's not meaningless at all (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064683)

I fear that open source is its own worst enemy in that regard, as its biggest potential draw is also available on windows and osx...

I recall pitching the idea of going linux on some school systems, and got the response of why bother when one could just as well run openoffice on windows...

Basically, both osx and windows have apps that are only available there, but not so with your common linux distro...

Re:It's not meaningless at all (1)

toesterdahl (1409235) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064689)

True. It is important for Linux to get to the point where web-site designers, product suppliers and other actors in the market can not just say 'Linux? Not a concern of ours'. It is important that web site designers do not test for IE only, which was probably the case for some time. It is important for Linux that makers of printers and graphics cards do provide drivers. To achieve this Linux do not need a 10% market share, but it need at least a tangible visibility in the market. In this sense also the 1%, although disappointing for a Linux fan, is an important milestone.

Statistical significance (2, Informative)

Browzer (17971) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063309)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistically_significant>

"In statistics, a result is called statistically significant if it is unlikely to have occurred by chance. "A statistically significant difference" simply means there is statistical evidence that there is a difference; it does not mean the difference is necessarily large, important, or significant in the common meaning of the word....

The significance level is usually represented by the Greek symbol, (alpha). Popular levels of significance are 5%, 1% and 0.1%. If a test of significance gives a p-value lower than the -level, the null hypothesis is rejected...."

The Author... (1)

ADRA (37398) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063313)

just has sour grapes because they couldn't figure Linux out on their first (or second, or third..) go around and now they're spewing why it doesn't count. That being said, 1% is a pretty pathetic number. Lets hope this new found high point only leads to better things in the future. Maybe they'll be the proverbial Mozilla of an IE / Netscape consumer market struggle. We all know how that played out now, don't we?

Re:The Author... (4, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063447)

I don't know, I don't think Linux has a huge marketshare on the desktop, it's probably a few percent in corporate desktops and less than one percent for home desktops. That being said Linux is probably has more total OS installs that WIndows, all the virtual hosts and ubiquitous embedded devices that have been moving over to Linux in droves add up to a ton of actual usage.

Re:The Author... (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064007)

I don't know that Linux ever can be the most prevalent desktop OS. There is a lot of diversity at some very core levels, which makes a broad adoption difficult. i think it's a great fit in a loot of scenarios, especially in business units where you want to limit a lot of functionality to approved apps & plugins. Web based apps in businesses make this an even better proposition.

Dude (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063325)

Operating systems aren't immortal beings, and by rights, there can't be (there shouldn't be) only one.

Love the highlander reference, but does this mean there will be no "Quickening" then? Damn, I thought Windows 7 was gonna work on that...

Is it really that little? (4, Insightful)

Casandro (751346) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063327)

I mean, how is that measured? I mean it certainly must be way more. Do they measure commercial sales of distributions? Well that's certainly misleading. For example I have a laptop which came with a Windows XP license, now it runs Ubuntu. Few Linux users actually buy their distribution and the amount of them has decreased over the years. That would also explain why the market share of Macs seems to be so large. There they simply could count the sold machines.

Measuring the user-agent strings of web-browsers also isn't verry precise as different sites tend to attract different kinds of users.

It's not the size that counts... (0, Offtopic)

modestmelody (1220424) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063453)

... it's how you use it.

Overall Marketshare? (3, Insightful)

Rycross (836649) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063471)

Overall marketshare? I'm highly doubtful that a 1% marketshare includes servers, much less all the Linux-powered devices (like my router) out there.

I don't think I've ever seen an OS marketshare report that wasn't flawed in some way.

My gut says about 5% (2, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063473)

For some intuitive, illogical reason, I feel as though 5% is probably a reasonable current number where desktop Linux is concerned.

Virtually the only major growth going forward is going to be with Ubuntu. There simply isn't any other distro out there which mimics Windows closely enough for the Lloyd Christmas [wikipedia.org] demographic to be happy with it. So in mainstream terms, we're going to have a Ubuntu monoculture; to the uneducated, Ubuntu and Linux will become synonyms.

I think however that it's too early to tell, at this point, what longer term effect Ubuntu's mainstream success will have on the broader Linux community. I've already seen some vague suggestions online that in some cases Ubuntu acts as a gateway drug for Linux; Ubuntu is used at first, and then as a user learns more, and develops more confidence, they sometimes move somewhere else, distro-wise. I don't think this happens a lot, though; something tells me that with most people, Ubuntu's long-term retention rate will be high, with most staying in GNOME and avoiding the CLI more or less completely.

The overwhelming mainstream demand of Linux is that it become as much a clone of Windows as possible. I believe that this will greatly damage Linux's technical integrity long term, which is why I've moved to FreeBSD, which I am hoping will remain relatively immune from the insistent screaming of Windows refugees for a monetarily free XP clone. I had one Ubuntu user inform me on IRC, only a few hours ago, that Linux's primary reason for existence was to apparently provide users like her with only a marginally more stable Windows clone; it is interesting just how arrogant and forceful Windows refugees are becoming with this demand.

Of course, what I still haven't figured out is why those people who consider it important for Linux to become mainstream, do feel such a desperate need for that to happen. The one thing I can promise you is that mainstream adoption will not ultimately do good things for Linux; it is a fundamental law in my mind that the quality of any given thing is inversely proportional to its' degree of popularity.

Apart from anything else, Windows refugees generally have absolutely no clue what they are doing where serious software development is concerned. As more ex-Windows users migrate to Linux, there is, I feel, sound cause for therefore believing that Linux's overall code quality will begin to drop. The only thing Windows users care about is that computer use is, "easy." They don't know or care about stability, security, or hardware efficiency, and they also don't understand that a severe tradeoff nearly always exists between robustness and usability at the best of times.

The facts that Slackware is a rock-solid server distro, but not used much on the desktop, while Ubuntu is a nightmare in technical terms, but is the primary desktop distro, are not coincidences. Robustness and extreme usability are virtually mutually exclusive. For one to be present, the other must go by definition.

Re:My gut says about 5% (1)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063589)

The primary problem with being as much like Windows as possible is that those who are demanding it will eventually realize that if they want something Windows-like, they could, ya know, run Windows.

Frequently, being significantly different is better than being mostly the same. Extensive similarity causes irritation because it isn't exactly the same. If it is apparent that it definitely is not the same, then people, those who are willing to venture forward, will tend to approach it on its terms.

Re:My gut says about 5% (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063649)

The primary problem with being as much like Windows as possible is that those who are demanding it will eventually realize that if they want something Windows-like, they could, ya know, run Windows.

Frequently, being significantly different is better than being mostly the same.

You don't need to tell me that. I'm on my way to becoming a bona fide CLI zealot at this point. Windows might be great from the standpoint of superficial usability, but it's engineering's answer to the Ebola virus.

I was talking about what I've seen other people want, but I'm 100% with you in wishing that they didn't want it, because as you say, I realise also that long term, it won't do them any good.

Re:My gut says about 5% (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063627)

I had one Ubuntu user inform me on IRC, only a few hours ago, that Linux's primary reason for existence was to apparently provide users like her with only a marginally more stable Windows clone; it is interesting just how arrogant and forceful Windows refugees are becoming with this demand.

Geez, I'm sure you can find a way to explain the differences between distros with an appropriate level of assholishness. You don't have to "retreat" to some other OS because a demanding user shows up. Next time, just tell them to switch to Debian if they want something more stable. Then laugh at them when they say they can't get their [ webcam | touchpad | graphics card ] to work in Debian.

You can draw a line between where free support ends and unreasonable expectations begin, without 'sperging out and becoming afraid of the horrible Windows users impurifying your operating system userbase.

Re:My gut says about 5% (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063699)

The overwhelming mainstream demand of Linux is that it become as much a clone of Windows as possible.

No no no!!! Please, if anyone gets anything from this let it be that Linux cannot be just a Windows clone, it has to be something better! Why would anyone go through the trouble of installing a completely different operating system that is exactly the same as the one they have? There HAS to be something extra, even for the average user.

Really, it shouldn't be too hard. Look at what Apple has been doing: they make little applications that draw people in, like photobooth. It is totally silly, and mostly useless, and really easy to make, but I've seen teenagers in the Apple store after school just taking pictures of themselves in photobooth. It's easy to get to and addictive.

Another example is time machine. It is simple, straightforward, and fun to use. It makes you WANT to go buy a second hard drive, just so you can look at the cool animation. Never mind that you've seen way cooler animations in made-for-TV movies, that animation is seductive.

The dock was the same way when it first came out, it bounced when you put your mouse by it. It was fun to play with. It drew you in. Linux needs to draw you in.

And it can. Linux has Compiz, which is graphically the most impressive of any desktop. KDE has some great artists. Now they just need the focus to make Linux sticky, make it draw you in, make you feel happy when you look at the screen. That's what Linux needs to do. Be better than Windows.

Re:My gut says about 5% (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064337)

The overwhelming mainstream demand of Linux is that it become as much a clone of Windows as possible.

No no no!!! Please, if anyone gets anything from this let it be that Linux cannot be just a Windows clone, it has to be something better! Why would anyone go through the trouble of installing a completely different operating system that is exactly the same as the one they have? There HAS to be something extra, even for the average user.

But there is indeed "something extra", that the average new Ubuntu convert recognizes and lauds. Actually more than one such feature:

  1. Freedom from forced upgrades. The new convert actually does understand the long term benefits of real ODF, and buys into the concept.
  2. I have yet to meet anyone new to Ubuntu who did not like the Update Manager, especially after being shown how to configure it for daily checks.
  3. The wealth of available software that can be installed with the click of a button, and if it fails to impress during trials, uninstalled just as easily.
  4. That menus and controls are where they expect to find them, and not moved onto some fancy "ribbon", etc, whose supposed benefits come up short when weighed against their desire to stay with hard-won habits that work for them

Mostly the people I work with are not very articulate when it comes to computers, and would not express Ubuntu's strengths the way I have just done.

On a somewhat related note: the machine I'm typing this on is a Dell that came with WinXP installed, and now has a dual boot with WinXP and Ubuntu. Since the WinXP partition is about a third of the hard disk with the Linux partition taking up the rest, should this machine be counted as 1/3 Windows and 2/3 Linux? Or would the temporal distribution be more appropriate, in which case it should be counted as 5% Windows and 95% Linux? These fancy statistics... I get so confused!

Re:My gut says about 5% (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28063723)

I don't know about you, but Slackware is pretty usable and I'm more a Windows power user. The most difficult task might be depedency resolution but it's not something a Windows user from the old days isn't familiar with. Anyway, I sense a lot of snobbery in your comment. Ditching an OS for another because the masses are starting to know about it? The users will not be the ones coding.

Re:My gut says about 5% (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063815)

Anyway, I sense a lot of snobbery in your comment. Ditching an OS for another because the masses are starting to know about it?

That hasn't been the only reason, no. I have really enjoyed using FreeBSD, as well.

Obligatory (1)

telso (924323) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063891)

I've already seen some vague suggestions online that in some cases Ubuntu acts as a gateway drug for Linux

Not that vague at all; pretty direct, in fact. [xkcd.com]

Re:My gut says about 5% (2, Interesting)

Omestes (471991) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064129)

Anything running a GUI could be said to be trying to be like Windows. They all have "windows", some form of "menus" and mouse interaction. This is already pretty much the universal default for ALL OSes. I can't remember the last time I installed Linux, but not a windows manager with it. Hell, I was using "windows" like apps before Windows became ubiquitous. Back in DOS I pretty much only used Xtree, even to execute files.

Yes, a minor fringe of people will still insist on CLI only, but they are completely irrelevant.

I personally don't care if all OSs converge on being "Windows like" (which itself is "Mac like". Its the stuff under the hood that matters more, as long as none of that changes, I don't care. Look at OS X, yes it has a slick GUI that puts non-intimidation and user-friendliness above pure geekish power, but one hot key away is a shell prompt and 90% of the power of BSD, more with extensions. The same will probably go for Linux. Unless they somehow scrap the kernel completely, and remove the ability to quickly open a terminal window, there is no problem.

Ubuntu, also, is a pretty solid distro, ignoring being somewhat, kinda, but not really, Windows like. I haven't really run into any lack of Linux features. Hell, if decide to boot into pure GUI-free linux, I doubt many people could really tell the difference.

Also, Linux will always be free for tinkerers. If you don't like Gnome or KDE's current look, go fork it and make it to your tastes. Hell, I don't even know how many alternative windows managers are out there these days, maybe one of them is not-Windows enough for your tastes.

Actually... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28063475)

Actually, there is no meaningful way to accurately measure how many people (or businesses) are using Linux, or Windows, or BSD. So "market share" is meaningless. Its just a statistic that marketing departments can twist to sound however they want it to sound.

 

Um, an awful lot of words (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28063485)

to basically say linux still sucks. Of course, there will be a bunch of people screaming about how linux is far superior to everything else out there. Thank god we now know it's only 1% of users worldwide. And of course, we all know that the 1% we are speaking of has had their shit pushed in by torvalds and cox at one point or another...

First, that "1%" figure was from only one source. (4, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063521)

Other sources estimated the number to be 5% or even 6%. Which just goes to show how statistics can easily be used in ways that are misleading or distorted.

But this also bears examining: 1% (or 5% or 6%) of what OS market? Linux is sure as hell a lot higher than that in the server market, and if you are talking about internet servers, higher still.

So, maybe it doesn't have wonderful desktop penetration yet. But I bet it's higher than those statistics say! My bet is that Linux is the secondary OS for an awful lot of people, often via dual-booting. Just as "one and one only" voting has been shown to be inferior to "instant runoff" and other voting methods, saying that people have only "this or that" OS does not present an accurate picture of the landscape.

Re:First, that "1%" figure was from only one sourc (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063789)

For example, I have had as many as 4 different OSes on my computer at a given time, each used for specific purposes (mainly because some programs were available for one OS but not another). They are installed in various combinations, sometimes in VMs, sometimes as multiple-boot, or a combination thereof.

When in school, my laptop was usually dual-boot, Windows and Linux, and on any given week it was a tossup which one I had set to auto-boot when I turned the machine on.

Re:First, that "1%" figure was from only one sourc (1)

Cathbard (954906) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063961)

95% of all statistics are just made up.

OS is OS is OS (0)

weicco (645927) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063557)

No one system can be everything to everyone, and no one system (however powerful, or stable) can do everything perfectly that just one person might require of it in the course of a day

I wasn't aware that operating system is what end-users use for his/her daily work. I've always thought that it's the applications what matters. Glad that I'm corrected now ;)

An OS by any other name... (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064421)

Actually in this context neither "operating system" nor "applications" is correct. We are really talking about different computer ecosystems or cultures and simply using the generic name of the OS as a convenient shorthand. Which is really quite appropriate, since it is generally recognized that geeks don't have culture (cue the toe fungus jokes), which would mean we'd have to talk about silicon ecosystems which, aside from being just silly, would also inevitably lead to conversing about habitats (cue Mom's basement jokes).

So there really isn't any other good choice if we want to have a serious conversation about the differences between the Zen of WinXYZ and the Tao of Linux distros. Remember that when comparing these kinds of religious differences: that was zen; this is tao.

Drivel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28063609)

This article doesn't make any sense... How do you go from 1% usage share to "OSes aren't immortal beings"? Or "doing everything perfectly for everyone"?

The writer was smoking something while writing this, and I'm not sure it's a legal substance.

Who cares? (5, Informative)

atomic-penguin (100835) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063713)

Seriously, computing is about more than just desktop users.

How do various hobbyists, and I.T. professionals use Linux? It would be easier to count the niches that Linux is not filling. According to Netcraft, Apache still had over 50% web server market share, while IIS only had 30% in April 2009. I am sure there are some people running Apache on Windows, but I would venture a guess that it is not the majority.

Even webserver market share does not represent the whole server market share. Approximately 40% of all hardware in the server room where I work run Linux in some form, only 25% of all the servers run Linux. There are more than a dozen third party network appliances in this room. Third party examples I can think of are load balancers, spam firewalls, content servers, and NAS filers. I cannot think of one third party Windows Server based appliance in our server room, aside from servers. I am sure there are Windows appliances out there, just not in our server room. If it is part of Microsoft's mission to lock customers in to commodity desktop and server hardware, that is not something that really scales for vendors designing and selling specialized appliances and hardware.

How much Internet infrastructure runs on Linux? I wonder what the percentage of postfix/sendmail servers on Linux versus Exchange servers on Windows is? What is the number of external BIND DNS servers on Linux, versus external Windows DNS servers. What is the market share of Linux iptables/tc routers, load balancers, VPN gateways, or 3rd party appliance running Linux) versus Windows RRAS routers used in small and midsize offices? How many companies are using Asterisk versus the number of companies using Microsoft Office Communicator Suite (Not sure OCS qualifies as a PBX, though)? How many companies are virtualizing their data centers with VMWare ESX, Xen, or KVM, all running on Linux versus Microsoft HyperV?

How many consumer electronics devices have popped up with Linux on them, versus Windows? I can probably name 20 devices with an ARM processor, and some version of Linux running on it. Here is a short list: Linksys Wireless routers, webcams, Tivo, Roku, Netgear ReadyNas, Sony flatscreen televisions, POS terminals, etc. Windows mobile has notably made its way onto mobile phones and Wasp barcode scanners.

How about high-performance computing? How many Rocks clusters, and render farms are built on Linux versus Windows HPC servers?

Seriously who cares if Linux isn't prevalent on the desktop. Linux has filled every other niche, besides the desktop computer, six ways to Sunday. While Microsoft and Apple are laughing at a 1% desktop share, Linux is taking over every other niche which it is able to quickly evolve and adapt. World domination fast, indeed.

Re:Who cares? (1)

GoatCheez (1226876) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064133)

Best reply ever. Could not agree more. I was looking for this reply before I was going to write almost the exact same thing. "OMG Linux has only a 1% desktop market share! That's nothing!" The desktop isn't what makes the world these days. Where I work, even our domain is run using SAMBA. Windows clients on Linux servers. All of our backend? Linux. Linux Linux Linux. It's a mix of gentoo and Fedora b/c that's what our staff knows. Could it be BSD if we wanted? probably. Yeah. Mac? Sure, but no one's going to pay those rediculous overheads. If any company is using mac servers they seriously need to stop and start buying x86 and putting linux on them. There's no difference. "Oh, but apple uses better class hardware". Even when you buy enterprise class drives the shit is way cheaper than going through apple. Real companies that use Exchange for their mail server do so b/c their IT is incompetent and doesn't know how to learn a different system or actually learn what the programs their using actually do. They learn to configure on a proprietary system. Instead of learning how to fix all cars and learning how they work, how a transmission works, a combustion engine's mechanics, they learn the parts that are needed to replace the failed parts. They don't learn why that part failed or how to fix it. Linux won't go anywhere. Desktop linux.... It's nice that you can do it. Until Desktop linux has a development suite like ms does though, desktop linux will still be a minority. Even though ballmer is definitely certifiably insane, he was right when he said "Developers, Developers, Developers!!!"... Windows desktop development is the easiest thing in the world.

well (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063867)

Whatever Linux's actual marketshare is, I think we can all agree that it is far lower than anyone expected 15 or 10 or even 5 years ago. By this point most people in the linux community expected a significant marketshare.

Why on the desktop? (1, Interesting)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063875)

I confess to a bit of confusion as to why we're so wrapped up with getting linux on the desktop. We have a perfectly valid desktop operating system; Windows ( although I have yet to administrate 7 in a corporate environment, so take what I say with a grain of salt ).

Yes yes, it's evil and horrible and all the other things we like to harp on it about. It's also entirely manageable and entrenched. And while, yes, I would like many of the manageability functions linux provides, there are a lot of things that linux simply does not do as well as windows ( irregardless of the applications ).

Seems to me our efforts would be best served towards back end work; getting decent file systems ported to linux, providing samba with even more features that windows does not natively have, ect...

Re:Why on the desktop? (1)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064231)

I'm not trying to troll, I'm just asking questions

I confess to a bit of confusion as to why we're so wrapped up with getting linux on the desktop. We have a perfectly valid desktop operating system; Windows ( although I have yet to administrate 7 in a corporate environment, so take what I say with a grain of salt ).

Yes yes, it's evil and horrible and all the other things we like to harp on it about. It's also entirely manageable and entrenched. And while, yes, I would like many of the manageability functions linux provides, there are a lot of things that linux simply does not do as well as windows ( irregardless of the applications ).

Such as?

Seems to me our efforts would be best served towards back end work; getting decent file systems ported to linux, providing samba with even more features that windows does not natively have, ect...

The only "decent" filesystem that I can think of that the linux kernel doesn't support is ZFS, is there something I'm missing? and what would be the point of putting features on samba that windows doesn't have, when the primary use of it is to communicate with windows machines?

what does marketshare mean (1)

CBravo (35450) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063907)

when I, on linux, make a saas/web application. Customers log on with IE or Firefox and do their thing.

They are using linux?

My idea of the future is: no more applications at the desktop (except for word,excel,browsers,...).

The desktop is irrelevant, it's the net.

1% is meaningful as a milestone (3, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063945)

You really have to cross 1% before you can achieve better proportions like 100%.

Market share implies usefulness, or that people use, want to use, or are forced into using it.

For Linux to have 1% market usage would mean that there is also a decent sized pool for community.

A 98% market share for Linux would be great; it would mean a massive pool of users to form community, to find issues, test new versions, etc.

Resulting in an even better product that more people will find beneficial and easy to use in an advantageous way.

What It Means Is Simple Enough (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063999)

[How] Linux is used in various business settings answers an actual question -- and the answer can be used to ask further questions, form opinions -- and maybe one day even explain to some degree what 1% of the market share really means

Net Applications is all about the mass consumer market.

Users with unrestricted access to the web. Shopping at Amazon. Playing games. Watching the videos on YouTube. The news on CNN.

This is where the Net Applications client spends its money. This is where the Net Applications client makes its money.

There is no mystery in these stats - no surprises:

When people shop or a PC for personal use, they almost always chose the Windows system or the Mac.

It's useful to remember that the MSDOS and Windows PC began as the outsider. It clawed it's way onto the office desktop because users wanted it there.

 

The trend is more useful than the absolute value (5, Insightful)

gdshaw (1015745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064013)

I agree completely that you cannot place much trust in the percentage, for all of the reasons that get mentioned whenever we talk about OS or browser market share.

The trend, however, is much more interesting because it cancels out much of the systematic bias that will be present in any given series of results.

In this particular case Linux shows a fairly steady increase from 0.43% to 1.02% over the last two years, a compound annual growth rate of about 50% (albeit from a low starting point). I think that's good news.

(In fact the actual figure may be even better than that, because there was a suspicious 25% decline in October 2008. It could be that they changed methodology in some way, perhaps by reclassifying one of the embedded Linux-based platforms, because that month's change stands out as being very unusual.)

of course it's meaningful (3, Insightful)

shish (588640) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064023)

It means "the overall share of the market". If you're using it to measure quality or reliability or developer's dick size then you're doing it wrong, and that's not the statistic's fault...

Linux has over 90% of the supercomputing market (4, Interesting)

stox (131684) | more than 5 years ago | (#28064283)

It would be interesting to come up with a metric that evaluated "real" work done under each platform. The numbers might be surprising.

Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28064427)

:) [stroi-cent.ru] ) [stroycement.ru]

1% meaningless w/o info how the data was obtained (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28064701)

Compare this (this article is based on this data):

http://marketshare.hitslink.com/os-market-share.aspx?qprid=9

which doesn't give any hint how the data has been obtained with this:

http://www.heise.de/open/Linux-knackt-auf-dem-Desktop-die-1-Prozent-Marke--/news/meldung/137137

(Win XP: 55.5%, Linux: 14.8%, Vista: 14,4%, Apple: 7,7%)

with this:

http://www.handy-mc.de/handy-bestenliste/toplist-bewertung.html

Toshiba Portege G910 (#1), a handy which doesn't exist yet, is much more popular than the iPhone (#200).

There is a lot of nonsense floating around. Do not trust this data.

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