Linux Takes Off on Wikimedia

With some provisos about the inherent unreliability of User-Agent analysis and logging Wikimedia report the following usage changes from 2011-11 to 2011-12:

OS Nov (%) Dec (%)


















That is consistent with news that tablets sold like hotcakes in December.

Worse yet for the Wintel monopoly, the trend of migration from that other OS increases.

The Linux component is both GNU/Linux and Android/Linux:

OS Nov (%) Dec (%)






All of these operating systems grew in share except M$’s which declined precipitously. Combined with the information that tablet ownership doubled in December, it’s clear that Android/Linux filled Christmas stockings. By the time everyone owns a tablet, “8” will still not be released… 😉 When you consider all the free advertising these Christmas presents will give to Android/Linux it’s clear that “8” has nowhere to expand. A year ago, that other OS was at 82% share. By the time “8” will be released, it could be around 66%, making 2013 the year the monopoly will be gone. A significant portion of PCs will be replaced by ARMed devices and desktop and notebook devices using ARM and Linux will be widespread. Considering the narrow margins of retailers and OEMs, I expect in 2012 many will find a place in their hearts for ARM and Linux one way or another.

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.
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29 Responses to Linux Takes Off on Wikimedia

  1. oldman says:

    “Clarence conveniently forgets we’ve been through this issue with consumers not knowing they’re using Linux… Many, many, many times now. ”

    Who cares Mr. K.

  2. Kozmcrae says:

    “All I ever see is “Android”, Mr. Pogson. Never a mention of “Linux”.”

    Clarence conveniently forgets we’ve been through this issue with consumers not knowing they’re using Linux… Many, many, many times now.

    Clarence displays the willful ignorance common among the Cult of Microsoft.

  3. oiaohm says:

    Clarence Moon Netscape was destroyed from many sides.
    Read netscape product list.

    Browsers was not Netscape only source of funds. MS did not just damage one market of Netscape.

    People forget Netsite was a sub brand of Netscape was also badly hurt around the same time as Netscape.

    Mozilla was not the first free open source gui browser.

    That title goes to If Netscape and MS never had that stupid browser war. And Netscape was still alive today. We would still have a free and open source web browser today. The resources that Netscape got most likely would have ended up in Amaya.

    Sorry Clarence Moon your history is incomplete as normal. MS really has done nothing to help us have a free web browser. So that idea of us paying insane amounts for a web browser was ending by 1996 2 years before Netscape did the open source bit.

    That a free browser existed is party why Netscape released there code. There was a community that could take it.

    Amaya is quite a interesting program to use.

  4. Clarence Moon says:

    “That was illegal …”

    Not according to the courts and US law, Mr. Pogson. If you look at what happened from a different perspective, you might see that Microsoft actually broke the IBM lock on the emerging PC market by offering the clone system OEMs an opportunity to compete with IBM at varying quality and price levels with compatible products.

    The competition in system performance by the clone makers is legendary and really resulted in PCs that led IBM’s offerings. The only thing that led to the Microsoft trials was their destruction of the browser market as a source of funds for Netscape. Browsers are free today because of that. Absent Microsoft’s efforts, you would be paying as much for a browser as you do for an OS.

  5. Clarence Moon says:

    “See Android/Linux”

    All I ever see is “Android”, Mr. Pogson. Never a mention of “Linux”.

    “People buy the package”

    Exactly. And what is in the packaged PC that they see?

  6. Phenom says:

    Pogs, I can’t help you when you mistake the reflection in the pond with the stars in the sky. You can call it lies, you can call it a monopoly, you can call it even a zoo, it doesn’t matter. Reality is that people you computers to run apps to get their job done.

    A browser is an app. It is not a part of the OS, it can never be. When people mostly browse the web, any device would do. When people want to do some other work, they open the appropriate app. People do not dick with the OS, they work with applications. When people need to get some work done, and no app is good, they go where such an app exists. Just one example, musicians used to go to Amiga and Apple when PC was uncapable of producing decent sound.

    90% of penetration of Windows on desktop proves that, coupled with success of companies like ESRI, Adobe, AutoDesk, and many, many more, who do not sell OS, but applications.

  7. Phenom wrote, “The OS does not matter. The applications matter.”

    Repeating a lie does not make it true. That may be true for some people but just as some have no awareness what OS they run, I have met many people who have no idea what applications they are running. They think “the blue e” is The Internet and cannot tell the difference between and M$’s office suite. My wife, for instance, has all her applications autostart when she logs in and is not even aware they are applications. To her, they are just rectangular regions of the screen she can call up by clicking somewhere. She will have a dozen windows open and all she cares about is the content.

    I have introduced many who used to use XP to GNU/Linux and none found the applications mattered. There were a few documents that needed reformatting but that was no big deal.

  8. oiaohm says:

    Phenom Some of the MS Office traces back to illegal action.

    RTF format agreement between Office suites. The Office suites back then were stupid and left control of the format in MS hands. So when government mandated it. MS extended RTF without clearly telling others what they did so breaking compatibility so creating the MS Office dominance we have today.

  9. Phenom says:

    Pog, who granted MS the monopoly on Office Suits? Or on corporate mail / collaboration server software?

    The OS does not matter. The applications matter. OS/2 saw an office suit way too late, after IBM aquired Lotus, and Lotus apps for OS/2 were inferior to these for Windows, which were inferior to MS Office. Then, who would buy the hardware to run that memory hog OS/2, and then buy OS/2 to run some rather unfortunate package, when there was something clearly better for less total costs?

    I loved OS/2 as an OS but it was practically useless on the desktop.

  10. oldman wrote, “Microsoft products became the mainstream of desktop computing, that is not a distortion that is a reality.”

    The distortion began innocently enough when IBM granted M$ the monopoly on the OS. M$ then leveraged a weak monopoly into global lock-in by threatening OEMs with no systems to sell. That was illegal and their crime has paid off handsomely since about 1998 because the gutless US government failed to prosecute, the US courts screwed up, and people like oldman forgot what a free market looks like. Hint: It’s not a single supplier for 95% of PC OS.

  11. oldman says:

    “M$ has distorted your market but their power to do that is sinking fast.”

    Nope. Microsoft products became the mainstream of desktop computing, that is not a distortion that is a reality.

    I lived through the same time period as you Pog. The closest competitor that microsoft ever had and has remains Apple. Apple is the only other vendor with a real stable of commercial applications (all of my musical apps exist in version for OS X for instance).

    Beyond that NONE of the other possible contenders and that includes OS/2 which I used, was even close to being a competitor.

    “They profited by selling non-M$ stuff this year.”

    Not desktops Pog nor PC’s. If you wish to claim victory because the commercial OS named Android happened to be based on code from the Linux kernel, go right ahead. It doesnt a smart phone nor a tablet a PC no matter what you believe.

  12. oldman wrote, “nobody is going to sell it to them.”

    Let’s see: Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Acer all sell GNU/Linux desktops. If your retailers haven’t caught on yet, they soon will. M$ has distorted your market but their power to do that is sinking fast. Retailers in North America break even and profit in December. They profited by selling non-M$ stuff this year.

  13. My local Walmart has a raft of Android/Linux smart phones and a few tablets, more units on display than “PC”s. The PCs are not selling and not selling with them is that other OS.

  14. Clarence Moon wrote, “How are you gonna sell that when next to no one has heard of it?”

    See Android/Linux. Hundreds of millions of units sold and many square feet of shelving in my local retailers. I see ads daily selling the product with no mention of Linux at all. They don’t need to list the model of CPU or type of plastic either. People buy the package.

  15. Ivan says:

    “The consumer wants stuff that works as advertised.”

    Riiight, Bob, the consumer wants something that works as advertised. That means Microsoft, Apple, and whatever their phone or tablet comes pre-installed with.

    The average person has better things to do with their time than dicking around with their computer/phone/tablet. Eventually you’ll realize that consumers do not want something that works as advertised after 12-72 hours of searching forums and mailing-lists for an obtuse solution that only works around the problem. A problem that has existed for the last two releases because apparently the developer has better things to do than fix his software.

  16. Clarence Moon says:

    “The ads rarely mention …”

    More significantly, the ads rarely mention Linux, Mr. Pogson. How are you gonna sell that when next to no one has heard of it?

  17. Clarence Moon says:

    “We see OEMs shipping non-Wintel stuff more and more and now retailers have lots of shelf-space for non-Wintel stuff.”

    I guess you do not shop in the same stores where I shop, Mr. Pogson. I wander around the computer aisles while my wife looks for other things once or twice a week and I still see all Windows computers sitting there at roughly the same price as before. It is likely that the numbers on the signs relating to memory and storage increase somewhat over time, but the brands are still the same and the Windows logo is still on the case or keyboard for the laptops.

    Various people claim that you are starting to see Linux in China or Thailand or Singapore, but, alas, I never seem to get there myself. Meanwhile, the beat goes on, like the bunny beating its drum, and if it isn’t a Mac, it’s a PC.

    I think you will still be waiting in the station for your Linux train to arrive long after the tracks are taken up.

  18. oldman says:

    “The consumer wants stuff that works as advertised. ”

    Actually it looks like a large segment of the non computer using population will be doing content consumption from tablets from the likes of amazon and barnes and noble or apple.

    What they will not be buying is anything that sports the linux desktop that you hawk regularly. Mostly because nobody is going to sell it to them.

  19. oldman wrote, “what exactly does the consumer want?”

    The consumer wants stuff that works as advertised. The ads rarely mention 1000 new malwares per day on top of the millions existing. The ads rarely mention slowing down with usage. The ads rarely mention that the system will not function fully unless the user surrenders all freedom to M$. The ads certainly didn’t mention “phoning home” nor re-re-reboots.

  20. Clarence Moon wrote, “On the other hand, the millions of people whose jobs are linked to PC software sales in some way are not likely to be as happy over the idea.”

    The world does not owe them a living. They have to compete on price/performance like everyone else.

    The inertial mass of the Wintel ecosystem is cracking. We see OEMs shipping non-Wintel stuff more and more and now retailers have lots of shelf-space for non-Wintel stuff. It’s like a breeze after a hot day with high humidity.

    IT is becoming cheaper and more reliable all the time and there’s nothing M$ can do to stem the tide. They are operating in defensive mode now with “8” having to play catch-up. I was thinking M$ would release “8” for ARM early to fight back but rumours are it will be October. With */Linux on ARM expanding in to a vacuum at full throttle for 3 quarters, there’s no way M$ can catch up. Consumers are spending lots on ARM and won’t have much left for Wintel in the fall. Next Christmas could be a repeat of last. Installed base of that other OS could shrink for the first time in decades of growth.

  21. oldman says:

    “That’s the problem with you MS corporate software developers. They think of the profit margins, not what the consumer wants.”

    And what exactly does the consumer want?

  22. Mr Hill says:

    I didn’t just mean MS, I used them as an example; all corporate software companies are the same without doubt. Profits first, everything last. I admit I dislike Apple so much more than MS (I admit I do not have any opinions either way about MS).

  23. Ray says:

    That’s the problem with every corporations… -_-

  24. Mr Hill says:

    That’s the problem with you MS corporate software developers. They think of the profit margins, not what the consumer wants.

  25. Clarence Moon says:

    If you hate Microsoft, as half of the posters here do, the demise of the PC market and Windows revenues along with it is a long-awaited comeuppance for the evil corporation that has for so long dominated the PC OS software business. On the other hand, the millions of people whose jobs are linked to PC software sales in some way are not likely to be as happy over the idea.

    Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates may never see where their next billion bucks is going to come from if the product business for PCs dies, but they are not likely to miss a meal or have to put off their next vacation trip.

    If you add up the revenues of the biggest US companies alone who are key to the PC business, they total several hundred billion dollars. Worldwide, it must be some multiple of that. When you factor in the economic activity that results, you are looking at trillions of dollars, I would think.

    My view is that much inertia is not really likely to go away in any near time frame.

  26. Mr Hill says:

    It goes to show telling the average man about Free software and the code is open source isn’t enough to sway the average person to use FOSS software. Nook and Kindle as nt_jerkface mentions use proprietary apps on top of Linux, and have sold millions of devices each. The thing that will push any platform is good mainstream marketing and creating something with usability in mind.
    Android and ARM are going to be the main players for 2012 if the end of 2011 indicates. Wikimedia only reads browser user-agent data, whilst not 100% accurate; it is a good barometer of user statistics on the most popular browsers in the world. Mobile and tablets have finally arrived as a mainstream platform. By the time Windows 8 arrives, it will most likely be dead on arrival, as nine months is a long time in IT.

  27. Phenom says:

    Pogs, I suggest that you throw in also routers with Linux-based OS to prove that Linux is winning.

  28. nt_jerkface says:

    From your own stats is looks like Blackberry took off as well. Did Blackberry sell like hotcakes?

    Yes a lot of tablets sold in December but I don’t see how strong Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet sales are a win for Linux fans. They’re being used to deliver proprietary applications and media through proprietary codecs to people who don’t know and don’t care about what Linux is. Is that the GNU/Dream? I think you are getting way to excited about this. Oh well, I suppose you guys needed even a vicarious win after the netbook saga.

  29. Ray says:

    Seems to me that more people are using phones to access Wikipedia (me being one of them)

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