Counter-FUD

Yet another “GNU/Linux Desktop is DEAD” FUD-piece. Basically the authour writes that it won’t happen because it won’t happen, a circular argument. He even claims Dell, HP, ASUS and others selling PCs with GNU/Linux is not happening. I agree Dell is rather weak in its effort but HP intends to put Linux on most of its PCs and ASUS already does (ExpressGate“In response to great user feedback, our plan is to proliferate Express Gate across our entire motherboard product portfolio, starting with over one million motherboards per month,” says Joe Hsieh, General Manager, ASUS Motherboard Business Unit. “Consumers want to turn their PCs on and off like any other appliance, and Express Gate has made that possible.”).

He goes on to claim that those defecting from M$ are going to Apple which is partly true but he has the wrong numbers for shares to show that. GNU/Linux is on about 10% of PCs and MacOS is on about 4%. M$ is losing, certainly, but Apple scarcely sells any desktops outside USA/Europe.


Check out AAPL at the SEC. Sales: Americas=$9billion, Europe=$6billion, Asia-Pacific=$4.7billion and Japan=$1.3billion. Mac unit sales in the most recent quarter were 3.76million units when the world shipped about 90million PCs. Can we say “4%”, boys and girls?


The 1% figure touted for GNU/Linux is clearly not representing reality. We know that other OS ships on about 76% of PCs. If 4% are shipped with MacOS, there are an awful lot shipping with GNU/Linux or No OS.

For a laugh, see Is Linux on the desktop dead?
In DepthShallowly: People are quitting Windows, but not for open source

By Gary Marshall

Google finds 100K hits for -Gary Marshall Linux- but over 1000K for -Gary Marshall Windows-. Apparently he does not know at all how GNU/Linux is doing on the desktop. One of his quotations tempts the reader to believe GNU/Linux has no useful office suite:
“Organisations are looking for solutions that provide value and solve their problems, and desktop Linux does not really do that when you have Windows and Office – real Microsoft Office – to run.”
UHHH, according to Trefis, M$ has 93% of the desktop “productivity” app-space. That leaves 7% able to use OpenOffice.org or LibreOffice and of course, many consumers never use a word-processor or spreadsheet. So, even Marshall’s own arguments cannot support the “1%” number, yet he doesn’t question it…
Trefis states that only 347 million PCs have “productivity software” out of 1500 million PCs so M$’s word-processor does little to keep GNU/Linux off desktops.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
This entry was posted in technology. Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to Counter-FUD

  1. oldman says:

    “Comparing Google with M$ is like comparing Santa Claus with the Devil.”

    Bushwah. Google is a bu$ine$$ first and foremost. They are no ones friend but their own.

    You idealogical blinders are showing Pog.

    “M$, in its quest to wring “value” (its term for money paid to M$) from IT has damaged IT greatly, making it more complex and vulnerable. ”

    Microsoft has produced tools that people want. Computer users like my self get the value from what they sell.

    Not everyone wants to live in the simple (=antique IMHO) computing world that you pine for Robert Pogson. The windows based desktop tools and applications that I and others like me use run rings around the desktop tools and applications that I have and have had available under Linux.

    You have stated on many occasions that you want nothing to do with windows. That is fair enough. But that being the case you should also recognize that those of use are not going switch to tools that we consider would having us going backwards in function and productivity.

  2. The huge difference between Google and M$ is that M$ has the stated purpose to put one licensing fee or more on every PC on Earth. Google is content with taxing the data. Over the years, M$, in its quest to wring “value” (its term for money paid to M$) from IT has damaged IT greatly, making it more complex and vulnerable. Google on the other hand has improved IT greatly by providing excellent search and e-mail service and numerous free tools for desktop and web. Comparing Google with M$ is like comparing Santa Claus with the Devil.

  3. oldman says:

    “If nothing else, FOSS and Linux provide a spur to the efforts of commercial software companies such as Microsoft to keep improving their products to maintain a level of benefit beyond that of the FOSS product. I think that is more than enough of a reason to cheer them on.”

    An interesting notion Mr. Contrarian, and one that on consideration I find myself agreeing with.

    As for your main point, perhaps I was a little over the top. The point I should have made was that Google is not necessarily any better for FOSS and the community than Microsoft. In fact would suggest that the relation of the community with google and indeed with any “linux/FOSS friendly” business should obey the dictum

    “He who would sup with the Devil best bring a long spoon”

  4. Contrarian says:

    “true believers like you are being taken to the cleaners by the Googles of the world, who take what they need from the community and turn it into a commercial success, and the GPL is nowhere in sight.”

    I would disagree with that based on the notion that the FOSS users are not really involved to the level that anyone could take advantage. A number of companies, I believe, do contribute to the common weal of open source in order to further their own business. Red Hat is the classic example of that. They offer improvements to Linux as needed to keep their own customers happy.

    Google uses Linux, it seems, mostly as a platform for its proprietary search operations. I am not aware of any earth-shaking contributions that they may have made to Linux itself that others could even use or that the Linux developers themselves might cheer about. But Google has provided an opportunity for the Linux users to cheer about some success story to validate their beliefs.

    They are also behind the Android development and I continue to wonder just where that is supposed to lead.

    Most of the rest of the Linux “community” are just enthsiasts to one degree or another. They do not “contribute back” anything beyond simply making the developers feel worthwhile. That is not a worthless occupation, though, since it does encourage the FOSS developers to keep on plugging due to someone appreciating their efforts. However, they cannot be “taken to the cleaners” by anyone because they have nothing invested.

    If nothing else, FOSS and Linux provide a spur to the efforts of commercial software companies such as Microsoft to keep improving their products to maintain a level of benefit beyond that of the FOSS product. I think that is more than enough of a reason to cheer them on.

  5. Contrarian says:

    “I suspect that the majority of us come here because if nothing else Pog provides a lively read and fodder for good argument. Thats a good chunk of why I’m still here.”

    I agree and would add that Pogson offers a consistent and enthusiastic point of view that goes a long way to explain his favoritism for Linux and open source from a practitioner’s point of view.

  6. Linux Apostate says:

    Yes, I’d be interested to know about this free but professional-quality music production software. Maybe I don’t know enough musicians, but they all seem to have favourite non-free applications where the (often quite high) cost is considered worthwhile. And having paid for virtual studio software, they pay again for plugins!

    I assume it’s because as producers of pure information they are aware that information itself has value – that if some piece of music took 1000 hours of their effort to produce, then it doesn’t matter if it can be copied for nothing – it is still worth 1000 hours.

    If the idea of paying £7.50 to download a CD worth of music makes sense, then paying £X for an application worth £X to you also makes sense.

    And many of those applications are not made by corporations, but individuals, who may later incorporate. Sibelius, for instance, was made by two brothers working from home. They borrowed money to pay for this and they made it back through sales. Without the possibility of those future sales, the program would never have been written.

    The first rule of capitalism – the value of something is what someone else will pay for it. Capitalism is barter, but formalised and civilised with an agreed standard for measuring value.

  7. oldman says:

    “FLOSS has excellent music production applications.”

    Really Mr. CHapman.

    Please name me a FOSS sample library on the same level of quality of the Garritan libraries. Please show me a music engraving program of the same quality as finale and sibelius.

    Give some examples.

  8. Exactly. We know a whole OS such as GNU/Linux or that other OS literally costs $billions to develop but it only costs a few dollars to distribute copies. The rest that people are paying for that other OS is waste and profit. FLOSS is much more efficient. Once the code exists, the additioinal costs are minimal: installation and maintenance. Even the maintenance is mostly done by the distros so the work of 1000 (say, Debian GNU/Linux ) gets used by millions for very little cost. M$ charges far more and makes a much worse product by any measure: uptime, re-re-reboots, malware, speed, …

    An example of the efficiency of FLOSS is Google. We know they do much more to make the web run than M$ yet M$ makes many times the revenue/cost. Another is LibreOffice. They produce a first-rate product which I use daily and M$ charges $hundreds for a similar benefit. It just does not make sense to pay $20 for a loaf of bread that has a market value of $2. That’s what the sheep locked-in to M$ do decade after decade. Good that’s coming to an end.

  9. It will exist sooner or later but you keep moving the goal-posts…

  10. Some components of Android are GPLed.

  11. Nonsense. The natural way of trade is barter. Money is a convenient intermediary but it does not always have to be there. Sharing is the intermediary for FLOSS. The world needs software and can make its own without paying corporations for it. e.g. Linux, LibreOffice, VLC, GCompris… Corporations may have started some of those projects but wisely stepped aside because sharing is a better way.

    My first jobs in IT were working for professional researchers at university. No corporation was involved except to manage the accounts and payroll. All the decisions about code and data were made for unselfish reasons, to find out how Nature works. Even corporations, when they want some innovation, often pick ambitious people, give them a bare objective and turn them loose with resources: Xerox, IBM, 3M, etc.

  12. For as long as Google is run by the folks who started it from scratch and persisted past all the derision, I expect it’s character will not change. All bets are off if they are bought off or sell out. Imagine Google being taken over by Oracle or M$…. (shudder).

    I am disappointed that they keep development of Android as close as they do. We see so many dynamic projects run more openly. It’s their business, though. They can run it as they see fit. I like their price/performance. Compare that to M$. You pay $100+ (some budget many hundreds per PC just for lock-in to M$) and get the privilege of being a slave to re-re-reboots and malware and phoning home. I don’t feel locked-in with Google and I use a lot of their services. I can get my data any time I want and I believe they do not use my data for evil purposes. It’s a good deal.

  13. Richard Chapman says:

    Glad to hear I’m not a threat to you “oldman”. If it’s true that you work in both worlds and are equally comfortable in both, you don’t come off that way.

    As for Google, I don’t recall fawning all over them in any comment. Google is wiping Microsoft’s face in the mobile phone mud right now. I get a big kick out of that. Brings a big smile to my face just thinking about it. But you proprietary guys piss me off when start telling me what I’m all about. “oldman”, you don’t know squat about me and what I happen to think about Google. So first up, if you reply to this comment, you can apologize to me for making assumptions about my allegiances.

    Like I said, I love what Google is doing to Microsoft. But Google is a publicly traded company, just like Microsoft. In both companies the shareholder comes first before anyone. Before the customer. Before the top and middle management. Before the employees. Right now Google is using FLOSS to its advantage. Why? Because it works (Could you imagine their server farm running any variant of Windows?). No other reason. Most of the people involved in FLOSS know this. There will come a time when Google will pull a proprietary fast one. You can put money on it. But right now, Ballmer isn’t burying Google, Google is kicking his butt. Do I trust Google? I trust Google to be Google.

  14. Richard Chapman says:

    LA, did the dog eat your homework? FLOSS has excellent music production applications. I should know, I’m a musician and I’ve made more money in my career than some of the names you’d be more familiar with. If you’re going to shoot your mouth off, LA, at least make sure it’s loaded.

    As far as the rest of FLOSS is concerned, there’s plenty of good to excellent applications to go around for most of what people need. Your proclamations of FLOSS fails are just one Troll getting the FUD out. Haven’t you noticed, it’s not working for you. FLOSS just keeps on rolling.

  15. Linux Apostate says:

    Richard Chapman.

    “Just look back to battles past. There’s only one left, the desktop. You’ve been drawing lines in the sand for too long.”

    Not really; if this is a battle between closed source and FLOSS, then closed source wins on mobile devices as well. Some iPhone or Android apps are FLOSS, most are not. In fact Apple’s products perfectly illustrate that users don’t mind paying a fee to use a program.

    And why would they? It is a completely natural and rational thing to pay someone else for a product. It makes no difference at all if that product is composed purely of information.

    Closed source is also king of the games console business. And it is king of the server business too – the world’s largest online applications (Google, Facebook, Youtube) are all closed source.

    FLOSS is just not suitable for all types of applications. Those music applications are a great example of something that FLOSS doesn’t do very well. We cannot blame the lack of good FLOSS music production programs on some “M$” conspiracy or FUD campaign… rather, they don’t exist for purely practical reasons. Anyone who needs such software finds it much easier and cheaper to buy a program rather than write one and that is why FLOSS fails.

  16. oldman says:

    “It’s only natural for proprietary interests to get angry when they encounter a discussion in FLOSS. If we didn’t represent a threat they wouldn’t even bother to interact with us. But they do.”

    I suspect that the majority of us come here because if nothing else Pog provides a lively read and fodder for good argument. Thats a good chunk of why I’m still here.

    Mr. Chapman, YOU are certainly no threat to me. I work in a large shop where I regularly have to work with Enterprise Line of business applications that are implemented on both Linux and windows servers. I the need arises I have no trouble functioning in Linux, and I am perfectly capable of doing it all via cli if necessary using vi as my text editor.

    The difference between us is that I know that FOSS is not enough in certain cases, and you choose to believe that it is for what I can only think are ideological reasons.

    “Let me tell you FUDsters, you are losing this war. ”

    I work in both worlds so in the end I lose nothing. IF by some miracle the community produces tools with the sophistication of what I use commercially, I will be using it.

    On the other hand Mr. Chapman, true believers like you are being taken to the cleaners by the Googles of the world, who take what they need from the community and turn it into a commercial success, and the GPL is nowhere in sight.

  17. oldman says:

    “Sound like denial of reality. Many millions of people use FLOSS daily and enjoy it.”

    Can I make music with FLOSS the way I can with commercial software? Show me the equivalent of Finale + the Garritan Sample libraries in FOSS let alone FLOSS.

    It doesn’t exist, Pog. THAT is reality!

  18. Richard Chapman says:

    Paying money for something does not guarantee anything about the product. Paying a lot of money for something does not change anything in about what you get in a product either. There are many exceptions but when it comes to software you should be paying next to nothing. Just because you may have paid large sums of money in the past and have been very pleased with the results doesn’t mean you paid too much for the product. FLOSS is just realistic about how software is produced and distributed.

    It’s only natural for proprietary interests to get angry when they encounter a discussion in FLOSS. If we didn’t represent a threat they wouldn’t even bother to interact with us. But they do. The tools in their discussion are denial, obfuscation, insult and lies. Every day it’s the same. They want the last word. Let me tell you FUDsters, you are losing this war. Just look back to battles past. There’s only one left, the desktop. You’ve been drawing lines in the sand for too long. I’ll tell you your biggest mistake. You constantly belittle your opponent. Nothing hurts more than getting stomped by something you had no respect for. Hey, I’m just saying.

  19. Sound like denial of reality. Many millions of people use FLOSS daily and enjoy it.

  20. oldman says:

    “Why does oldman hate competition, the lifeblood of the economy?”

    Where is the competition in applications whose only competition is the fact that they have no license costs and they are “good enough”. Pog? Mediocrity is not necessarily a competitive advantage.

    What you really seem to want Pog, is to force those of us who use commercial tools to consider tools that we may consider to be inferior whether we want them or not in the name of competition.

    The fact of the matter is that there is quite enough competition in the world Pog, and quite enough choice. For example, In the area of music composition software, There are no less than three vendors (Makemusic, Sibelius, Notionmusic) who compete with each other for sales.

    What does not exist however is the kind of free ride that you wish to see FOSS given. Fortunately, that kind of competition is not likely to happen so long as commerce is involved.

    In short, oldman, does not hate competition, but dont expect me to even consider the software that you would champion as competitive, because it isnt.

  21. Google and M$ are competitors. Whatever share they take from M$ or exclude from M$ is a win. By being first into the mobile space they are excluding M$. The installed base of Android is huge. In the coming year it could grow by 100million. If that is not enough, we will see Android intrude into x86 space as well. M$ and Intel are inviting that, M$ by making “8” resemble Android (hard not to with touch) and Intel is hedging its bets by promoting x86 in tablets and smart phones. That will leak into desktops and notebooks. There are no barriers. GNU/Linux will take some more share too.

    If Google does nothing with its Android project it will be to show the world that other software is OK. That is a huge threat to M$ and promises a bright future for Google. Once Google is seen as a platform, it can fill the world with Google apps all bringing in some income.

    I just found an item that is relevant. Last year, Google told the public that it made $1billion annually from mobile ads. The market has exploded since then… 😉

  22. oiaohm wrote, “All we can say is that the detected numbers of Linux are low”.

    No. We cannot say that. We can say that detected numbers are low on commercial sites that pay click-counters in English-speaking countries. That is a big difference. Those same countries very rarely have any GNU/Linux boxes on the shelves. Get stats from Brazil for instance and you find much higher percentages. The English-speaking countries are tiny compared to BRIC countries where GNU/Linux is very popular. In the BRIC countries, GNU/Linux is promoted by government in their own offices and schools. That is a powerful marketing tool absent in USA, Canada, UK, etc.

    If you look at one of the commercial web counters that does reveal breakdown by country we see USA at 27.62% and China nowhere in the top 10 countries for hits, when China has more users of the Internet than USA. That is a huge bias against China’s usage of GNU/Linux which is actively promoted in government and you can buy GNU/Linux boxes on retail shelves. Even then, W3Counter shows 1.5% Linux hits and Android at 0.97%.

    Sourceforge has a new beta interface for download stats that should be helpful. Unfortunately it is not working at the moment. The existing/old interface shows Pidgin gets 0.4 to 1.2 million downloads per month. There will be a breakdown by country and OS in the new interface…

    Pidgin is used on GNU/Linux and that other OS so it may finally give the answer from a different viewpoint.

    Someday, this link will work.

    A Google-cache of it is this.

    The map shows that Pidgin is downloaded in most countries of the world and we can zero in on .exe or .rpm for any country. Won’t that be grand? Of course .rpm doesn’t work for many distros but we can find what share of the downloads are .exe and deduce the GNU/Linux share.

  23. Contrarian says:

    “The way Android works for Google? Every personal computing device produced without a default or invitation to Bing is an invitation to search using Google. Voila! Revenue!”

    I would be kind to call that idea “overly optomistic”. For a start, the web presence of Android is even worse than that for Linux in general and hardly begins to pay back the billions of R&D needed. For another, from Google’s point of view, losses to Bing search are hardly a cause for concern. Google has the lion’s share of search, some 70% overall, if memory serves, and only a fraction of what they do lose is lost to Bing. Windows users do not select Bing as their default search provider, so why should Google care about what WP7 or iPhone users select?

    Smart phones make for lousy browsing and are mostly used for running apps that connect to web services that are designed for the app in use and do not ever show up on the web stats since the services do not pay for that kind of reporting. It makes no sense for them to do so. As far as I know, the web stats do not even reflect Google.com website usage and Google does not pay anyone for web statistics recording. They have their own statistics for sale.

    Microsoft and Apple spend billions of dollars on R&D for their OS platforms overall. Google will have to do likewise to stay in the hunt. They don’t sell the OS and they don’t make a product for sale that uses the OS. How can they really make any money to payback their investments? Advertising is not going to make it happen.

  24. oldman wrote, “Yes billions are being made, but not on the software itself, And certainly not in the consumer area. With the exception of who are selling binary plugins to open sourced frameworks of their own fabrication, nobody makes money on selling licenses for the software, but on support.”

    There are more than 100 million desktops running GNU/Linux. People were paid to supply, install and maintain the software. Selling licences is not the only way to make money from software. Selling licences is the only way for a monopoly to make money probably. Why does oldman hate competition, the lifeblood of the economy?

    Last year, I was paid $70K to teach. As part of that job, I maintained and grew the whole IT system of a school. While you cannot find IT in my contract, it was “other duties as assigned”. Some teachers coach basketball. I do IT. There are school systems where some teacher is paid or given time off work in lieu of pay for IT. From those regimes, I would estimate I was paid of the order of $10K for doing IT for what became 90 PCs. That’s about $100 per PC per annum, a bargain for the school, and I enjoyed it. When I started there were 40 PCs for classrooms with XP and only 20 were running. My pay would have been $500 per PC at that rate. GNU/Linux is commercial software for which real people earn real money. The people who create Free Software are largely paid by employers who need/want the software for their businesses. My school needed IT that worked. I tried to keep XP going but was not able to do so despite many years or experience working with XP. It was easier for me to use GNU/Linux and it was better for my employer. They got 90 PCs all working well instead of only 20 XP machines running slowly. It was a few minutes work for me each day checking that things were alive and well on the LAN using GNU/Linux instead of an hour or more each day re-imaging XP. No kidding, I was doing several each week and fighting malware constantly. With GNU/Linux what was running kept running. GNU/Linux was very profitable for me and my employer and staff and students.

  25. Contrarian wrote, “Google has created the Android initiative and spent billions so far with no return in terms of increased revenue and it is pretty important to understand if and how they can profit.”

    Google is making tons of money and has good growth. see Trefis

    The way Android works for Google? Every personal computing device produced without a default or invitation to Bing is an invitation to search using Google. Voila! Revenue! Lots of Revenue. According to Trefis, Google has 70% search share so they have room to grow and Android will help them. One problem for Google is that China is big on Baidu but smart phones are a gateway to China because they are small cheap computers. If the political barriers ever fall, Google should be able to take up lots of slack there thanks to Android.

  26. Contrarian says:

    @oiaohm

    I don’t think that you understand what I said. The issue is not whether or not a company can use Linux effectively or what selection they might make in terms of optimal cost vs benefits in selecting a technology. It was about whether or not web usage metrics have any meaning in determining whether or not to be in a software product business. Red Hat is now profitable and says yes, of course. Novell has gone out of business itself. Canonical is still in business but is not a public company so it is not possible to tell how well they are doing. Google has created the Android initiative and spent billions so far with no return in terms of increased revenue and it is pretty important to understand if and how they can profit. Without profits or a plan to obtain them, they cannot operate as a public company.

    Also, I was talking about Microsoft’s profits from Windows, not their sales. The $1B profit figure would be reduced from the $12B today but it would cover whatever costs of R&D, general management, and sales promotions were needed to obtain it.

  27. oldman says:

    “Some of us see conceit in your words. You are not giving us any respect whatsoever. $Billions are being made in FLOSS globally. It is commercial software.”

    Pog, You keep claiming victory for Linux because of the creation of a commercial OS on top of the open source Linux Kernel. We both know that Google went out of their way to insure that vendors of closed source could develop and sell closed source binaries by placing all of the upper layers of Android under the Apache license.

    We also know that Google is currently withholding the source for the important 3.x version of android. Perhaps they will release it later on, but you will forgive those of use who have been around a while for being skeptical.

    Yes billions are being made, but not on the software itself, And certainly not in the consumer area. With the exception of who are selling binary plugins to open sourced frameworks of their own fabrication, nobody makes money on selling licenses for the software, but on support.

    “Your demand is ludicrous. You would not expect to run M$’s office suite on an Android or GNU/Linux system unmodified. That’s crap.”

    To begin with I can and have run Microsoft Office on Linux – I’ve loaded the copy in a windows 7 vm on linux under VMWare workstation 7 for Linux, but technically, Office is running under Linux! The vmware workstation Unity feature even makes office look like its executing directly on the linux desktop as well! If you can insist in calling it Android/Linux and making it sound that somehow Desktop Linux (what you call GNU/Linux) is included in the party, then I can insist that it execute linux binaries.

    “IBM does produce stuff for Android. see http://www.baselinemag.com/c/a/Application-Development/IBM-Launches-Lotus-Notes-Traveler-Beta-for-Android/”

    Let me get this straight Pog, You who refuses to accept delivery on what had been demoed of windows 8, including a proof of concept version of Office running on ARM expect me to accept a beta of a product because it happens to be written for Android.

    “RedHat does support desktops: http://www.redhat.com/rhel/desktop/”

    Perhaps I should have been more clear. What RedHat has is an enterprise desktop for those businesses who want it. They do NOT have a consumer offering, and they are on record as not wanting to make one.

  28. oiaohm says:

    Contrarian “What matters is whether or not a company can profit from supplying products into a market at the level that exists. The level that exists for a product is very easy to measure at the end of day, just count what is in the till.”

    Linux and Open Source is not that simple we have too many tills. Cern own internal till is cost of software. Its cheaper for them to pay coders and release the code open source. Than pay vendors.

    So with open source the middle man of a company supplying the software might be completely cut out.

    Redhat does profit from supplying support services. IBM profits from selling hardware that is compatible to big customers like Cern.

    So the Linux metric is different. These are the Linux questions.

    1) Can a company profit more by using Linux and paying for own developers/support than paying a vendor. Yes/No.

    2) Can company profit more by paying a Linux vendor than other options Yes/No.

    Now that is the problem with trying measure Linux you have two major tills. And only 1 is displayed openly. Linux and Open Source don’t fit the other metrics well at all.

    “If the profits from Windows decline from $12B per year today to $1B per year in 2020, Microsoft will still produce Windows and collect the $1B. A billion bucks is a lot of bucks when you have it in your pocket.”

    Until you wake up to the fact that 1 Billion dollars is in fact nothing when you are talking about software development. If one company had to pay for 1000+ full time Linux kernel programmers at a low wage of a 100 000 a year. You are talking 100 Million spend at min and that is just taking care of the core. Yes .5 billion would be more real once you take in account what good coders get paid.

    Yes to maintain a OS plus all its add-ons you are talking over 1 billion dollars a year. A drop of income to 2 billion would be ok. Under that maintaining an OS problematic.

    Yes there is another big problem. Users are measured on their browser user-agent string to access some sites Linux people are forced to swap that string to Windows or OS X. They may forget to turn it back.

    No Windows or OS X user normally required todo this. Android numbers are most likely correct because most Android browsers are not able to change useragent string.

    All we can say is that the detected numbers of Linux are low. Question is how much. There has been no study into how often Linux people run the wrong useragent. Numbers people. The numbers we need to work out what the correct numbers are. Don’t basically exist.

  29. Linux Apostate says:

    That’s a good explanation but surely you’d expect to see a catch-all “Linux – Other” category within the breakdown tables. The absence of this category is worrying.

  30. The numbers don’t add up if some user-agent strings identify as Mac or Linux but not the particular variety. The string is produced by the browser, not the operating system, so it may be variable. For instance, where I worked last year, a web-stat counter was showing all my Chrome browsers as Safari on Linux… The counters are crude and scan for the presence or absence of a string. It is not exact.

  31. Linux Apostate says:

    “Wikipedia counts Android as Linux in their stats. They break Linux and MacOS down into versions.”

    Indeed, but I can’t figure out how they reach the total (2.75%) from the per-platform or per-version breakdown.

    As a simple illustration using the numbers for May, the total for Mac is 323583, but the numbers for Intel and PPC Mac are 307032 and 16137 respectively. These sum to 323169, which is 414 less than the total. Why are 414 accesses for Mac being counted in the total, but not in the platform breakdown?

    The equivalent discrepancy for Linux is much larger. 34470 accesses are counted in the total but not in the platform breakdown, and this is greater than all of the non-Android Linux numbers put together! You can see that the statistics are a bit doubtful – the numbers don’t add up. I wonder if the actual percentages might be 1.2% Android and 0.7% desktop Linux, since this is what the breakdown suggests. Not so impressive against iPhone (2.94%) or iPad (0.99%).

  32. Some of us see conceit in your words. You are not giving us any respect whatsoever. $Billions are being made in FLOSS globally. It is commercial software.

    Your demand is ludicrous. You would not expect to run M$’s office suite on an Android or GNU/Linux system unmodified. That’s crap.

    IBM does produce stuff for Android. see http://www.baselinemag.com/c/a/Application-Development/IBM-Launches-Lotus-Notes-Traveler-Beta-for-Android/

    RedHat does support desktops:

    http://www.redhat.com/rhel/desktop/
    http://www.redhat.com/rhel/desktop/compare/

    There is a reader… for .odt.

  33. oldman says:

    ““Commercial” means what. You think IBM and RedHat don’t make money from Linux?”

    Without a doubt.

    RedHat sells support based on their work in creating what is perceived by many as an enterprise grade Linux distributions.

    IBM supports what business want, which is a cheap Unix replacement. they also sell lots of proprietary software and the professional services that will support you while you implement linux, all while they work to upsell you into Aix on power.

    And NEITHER of them sell software into the Android space, nor do they target any offerings to personal non business desktops.

    “The source code is available for Android.”

    Only 2.x which is of limited utility outside of the smart phone space, and which will become obsolete as 3.x takes over the market.

    “Wikipedia counts Android as Linux in their stats. They break Linux and MacOS down into versions.”

    So what, Pog. When you can execute openoffice binary unmodified on an unmodified android based smart phone or tablet, then I and others of like mind to me will except the definition. Until then, IMHO this is just a conceit by linux zealots to declare victory where none is warranted.

  34. Ray says:

    Pogson, you have any other statisics that might help see the world?

  35. “Commercial” means what. You think IBM and RedHat don’t make money from Linux?

    The source code is available for Android.

    Wikipedia counts Android as Linux in their stats. They break Linux and MacOS down into versions.

  36. oldman says:

    “Android counts as Linux”

    Why? because you want it to?

    Android is a commercial operating system whose kernel was built using the source from the Linux OS kernel. Its entire reason for being is to enable commercial development, as is evidenced by the fact that google went out of its way to insulate commercial vendors for the GPL’d Linux kernel, so that they would develop commercial closed source applications for the platform.

    Linux, or GNU/Linux as you insist on calling it, is a non commercial community developed OS that has so far has minimal commercial success on the desktop. And is still showing up in the minimal numbers that it always has been.

  37. Android counts as Linux. The Android accesses may be counted more efficiently than GNU/Linux PCs because one may well have a thin client of a GNU/Linux terminal server count as one machine, PCs off-line are not counted at all while almost all smart phones will be on-line. I believe students use Wikipedia more than the general population and students are much more likely to be in a Linux lab using LTSP.

    Wikipedia is also biased to USA because of language. No one is arguing that use of GNU/Linux is huge in USA because of the retail bias. en.wikipedia.org gets most of the hits.

  38. Contrarian says:

    ““8″ will be more Vista-like from the developers’ point of view. ”

    As a long time developer, my view is that developers generally do not take an OS-centric point of view at all. Rather it is an interface level point of view. Developers care about .NET 2.0, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, WPF, WCF, Silverlight, etc., and those are asynchronous with actal OS releases. They are generally updatable in supported OS releases, too.

    My recollection of Vista as a problem area was that the users were unhappy with the nags and slowdowns brought about by an ill-considered approach to system security. MS seems to have found a happy medium with Windows 7 and “no blood, no foul” is the current attitude on the part of Windows users.

    I will admit to not particularly liking Vista due to the sluggishness that it exhibited and I just used a copy of Win2k8 server on my personal workstation at that time. I used XP Pro at home, which was what came with my own Dell. I did switch to Win7 Enterprise (Ultimate with a site license) when I was updated and I find that it is just fine and I have no complaints. I put Ultimate on my home machine, too.

  39. Linux Apostate says:

    “1% is way off. That’s a measure from a biased subset. 20% of PCs are shipping without that other OS or MacOS. Wikipedia and w3schools stats are multiples of 1%.”

    The wikipedia stats were pretty interesting, but I couldn’t figure out how the overall number of Wiki accesses from Linux had been calculated. If I added up the table where Linux had been split by distribution, I got a significantly different total.

    I wanted to find the proportion of the “Linux” accesses that are, in fact, from Android devices. That is, technically “Linux”, but not PCs, and only FLOSS in the sense of having a FLOSS kernel, which you may not be able to replace (i.e. not all of Stallman’s Four Freedoms are provided).

    The answer seems to be that Android devices massively outnumber the Linux PCs, but because the statistics seem to have been calculated in some strange way that I cannot understand, it’s very hard to get the proportion right. I suspect, though, that desktop Linux is probably still around 1% and the rest of the 2.75% said to be “Linux” is actually Android. The drop in Windows marketshare is users going to iPhones, iPads and Android, rather than Linux PCs.

  40. It is a cost to developers and their employers, however.

    It will also mean that even if “8” comes to market in the next year or so, the apps will start over. It’s not like “7” when developers had years on Vista which meant some compatibility. “8” will be more Vista-like from the developers’ point of view. When Vista was released both drivers and apps were not up to speed.

    It’s all good. This makes the future of Linux in all its forms brighter and closer.

  41. Contrarian says:

    “Google is making a lot of money putting an open platform out there bringing them clicks and ad-revenue”

    Google is losing their collective shirt at the moment with Android. They have no way to monetize the effort and recoup development costs. Will they stay the course as necessary to compete with Windows 8 and Lion? Something has got to give.

    “They show 76%.”

    Which is not documented or justified in their discussions other than to say that it is due to piracy in third world markets. Trefis is also bullish on MSFT, saying that the price target is a lot higher than current market prices. With solid sales volume increasing, it is hard to conclude that MS is in a state of decline.

  42. Contrarian says:

    “.NET developers are worried that the shift to HTML5 and JavaScript could marginalize their huge investment in .NET.”

    It isn’t .NET per se, it is the underpinnings. .NET supports “conventional” Winforms and Webforms using tradtional C# and other languages. Then along comes WPF with XAML and a whole new way of doing the same thing. It was designed, I think, to make life easier for web site designers, but it was a step input to developers who had come from the Win32API world. Throw in expression blend and Silverlight to make things glow and gyrate and you have a real tussle on your hands.

    Fortunately it is just the presentation layer in a lather and the underpinnings of network connections, database accesses, and similar framework are still the same comfortable structures and classes that the more sedate developers hold dear.

    The amount of make-work present in the concept of changing the face of applications to the touch-tile world of Windows 8 and OS X Lion is a boon to developers the world over.

  43. I am getting tired of posting the same link…

    see https://www.trefis.com/company?hm=MSFT.trefis#/MSFT/n-0581/0614?c=top&from=rhs

    They decompose the share price into possible changes in the market place including share of units shipped. They show 76%. Combine that with 4% for MacOS and you get 80%. That leaves 20% with other OS possibilities like NoOS and GNU/Linux and Android/Linux and MeeGo…

    Come on, oldman, do the maths. That other OS is in decline in spite of “7” getting good reviews like almost all previous versions of that other OS which were later found to be trashy.

  44. Hardware makers are making a lot of money selling products running Android. Developers are making a lot of money making apps for Android. Google is making a lot of money putting an open platform out there bringing them clicks and ad-revenue.

    Units shipped do matter and it does not matter that the price of the licensing fee is $0. The world needs IT and can make its own without M$’s involvement. M$ is becoming irrelevant at least as a monopoly. They may persist as just another software provider. That’s OK as long as they don’t get to corrupt all of IT forever.

  45. oldman says:

    “20% of PCs are shipping without that other OS or MacOS. ”

    Proof please Pog.

  46. 1% is way off. That’s a measure from a biased subset. 20% of PCs are shipping without that other OS or MacOS. Wikipedia and w3schools stats are multiples of 1%.

  47. The Other Dave says:

    Linux is dead on the desktop:

    http://royal.pingdom.com/2010/08/10/failure-of-linux-to-grab-1-percent-of-desktop-os-market/

    Actually it was never alive to begin with.

    Fail.

  48. Contrarian says:

    “Basically there is no valid metric to measure how big Linux or Windows really is. Even measuring how much OS X is out their is hard.”

    How big does not really matter much. What matters is whether or not a company can profit from supplying products into a market at the level that exists. The level that exists for a product is very easy to measure at the end of day, just count what is in the till.

    Think of it as bottled water. A lot of people think that bottled water is healthier or better tasting or something better than water out of the tap. There is a convenience element as well. But the value of the bottled water market really does not depend on how many people are happy or unhappy with tap water, it depends on how many people have actually come to prefer bottled water. People will not switch back to tap water based on some increase in those who prefer it or accept it as more economical.

    Ditto Mac users. They don’t care how many people like or use Windows, they use Mac OS.

    If the profits from Windows decline from $12B per year today to $1B per year in 2020, Microsoft will still produce Windows and collect the $1B. A billion bucks is a lot of bucks when you have it in your pocket.

  49. I was just reading that software compatibility could be a huge issue for “8”. .NET developers are worried that the shift to HTML5 and JavaScript could marginalize their huge investment in .NET.

    see Windows 8: Microsoft’s high-stakes .NET tablet gamble
    No room in the HTML/Javascript lifeboat

    M$ is asking many thousands of developers to wait, please wait until a conference in September, as if developers should continue developing for a platform that may or may not be supported next year… Ouch! It’s all about developers, eh? A company run by salesmen uses developers and then discards them when convenient.

    The issue is that M$ wants its software and applications to be highly portable. .NET is not portable so they are changing horses, again. Remember VB6? Developers do. VB6 was the developer platform before .NET. The last release was 1998. End of support was 2008. “8” is coming out next year, perhaps, and .NET may be suddenly no longer mainstream… You know how it works. No one will want to produce an app for that other OS that will not run or will be cripple-ware past date x.

  50. oiaohm says:

    Also you have the other side of coin. People like me who have aquired hardware with Windows on and formatted them to Linux.

    Why because of the fact due to the scam-ware included the price of having Windows in the machine was in the negative range. Yes all that free trials and so on dell and others include with Windows means its price is negative. Buying an computer OS free from dell costs more than with crap that gets formatted out of existence and never run.

    If I am going to format that machine I am going to buy the machine at the cheapest price even if that means it has a copy of windows I throw away.

    Ships on does not mean it stays their either. I have found illegal copies on machines with legal licenses for windows as well. One of the classic illegals is OS X not windows.

    The claims about emerging markets and piracy it depends on the country. I don’t mean to be mean. Some countries Windows is simply not functional. Reason not enough applications translated into their language.

    So some places the best selection for them is Linux purely based on Language support.

    Correct numbers are down right hard to come by.

    Follow the money normally does not work with Linux.

    Since follow the money is a lot harder. Companies may employee their own coders to work on there own internal programs including there own stacks. Classic example go and look at the break down of Linux kernel contributors. Of course the next bit really stuffs people.

    Yes resources in Linux world are distributed. Redhat provides a service that only some have to use. So Redhat income is only a small percentage of what is going on. http://lwn.net/Articles/409256/ These are not odd ball numbers. Notice the lines of code added. IBM beats redhat. IBM is one of the major forces behind Linux Servers. IBM in one way is a Linux vendor.

    Now you have a problem. Vendors and hardware makers are not split in the Linux world cleanly. Tilera just under redhat is another hardware maker that does their own thing. Custom processor and all.

    Less than 20 percent of what is going on in the Linux world can be traced to what most people would try to call vendors. Redhat is technically a company that sells support.

    One of the big invisible linux supplies is scientific Linux used by Cern and others. Total income zip. It cheaper for Cern and the related groups to pay for their own coders than pay for Redhat or Microsoft. So yes Cern has Linux desktops on secure networks. That most likely have never been counted.

    Basically there is no valid metric to measure how big Linux or Windows really is. Even measuring how much OS X is out their is hard.

    Now simpler figures to measure is amounts of OS X, Linux and windows compatible hardware is out there.

    Surprise express gates and others are increasing the amount of hardware Linux can run on without issues.

    Longterm Linux cannot win without hardware compatibility. Growing hardware support is a sign of problems to come for Microsoft.

  51. Ray says:

    They could, but more likely than not, there running illegal version of OSes.

  52. They could be running copies of GNU/Linux, quite legally.

  53. Contrarian says:

    I’m not saying that, my own belief is that more than 76% of the computers shipped have Windows and Trefis is out to lunch. But I noticed that Trefis says that “We estimate Microsoft lost market share in the PC operating system market over the past few years, as the market transitioned towards emerging markets where Microsoft has a lower share due to higher piracy”. IIRC, Ballmer said much the same thing in some presentation or other that some people have used to say that Linux is considered as big as Apple.

    If many of the machines shipping in China and other “emerging markets” have pirated OS, it is still Windows, is it not?

  54. No need to follow the money with GNU/Linux. It costs so little.

    Are you saying that No OS accounts for 19%? Unlikely. Many OEMs ship No OS but it’s just a tiny number of machines.

  55. Contrarian says:

    “We know that other OS ships on about 76% of PCs.”

    You might have noticed that Trefis attributes most of the shortage of Windows share to piracy, not to competition. So their desktop guess might look like: Windows 76%, Apple 4%, Warez 19%, Linux 1%

    In any case, you can just follow the money. How much money goes to Microsoft, how much money goes to Linux vendors (Red Hat, Novell, Canonical, ?) You can do what you want with Apple’s numbers since they are consumming what they produce mostly internally. In my mind, none of these companies actually compete with Microsoft on the desktop. Apple really competes with Microsoft partners in terms of hardware more than the software involved. Red hat and Novell really only affect server sales. I still believe that almost all desktop Linux users simply replace the Windows OS that comes with a new computer with Linux of their choice.

    Microsoft’s biggest problem is in getting Windows customers to buy a new copy of Windows, either to use on an existing computer or by getting a new computer.

Leave a Reply