Facts and Fictions About GNU/Linux Desktops

For much of the last year FUD has been spread about the viability of GNU/Linux on the desktop. Either the FLOSS developers are amateurs, the ecosystem is too diverse, there’s no money to be made or it’s just broken… That’s all FUD. GNU/Linux desktops are going places. You can see that on Wikipedia and other webstats. Nowhere, not in any country Wikipedia lists is Linux below 1%. Their global average is 7.55%. Some of that is Android/Linux but they haven’t sorted that out properly. For example they show Apple’s share as iPhone 16.13% + iPad 9.05% + Mac 6.71% + iOS 0.66% and total share of Windows is 55.73%. Clearly, it’s Windows that is in decline. A year ago they were 73.38%. Nowhere is GNU/Linux share declining even as the world pumps out hundreds of millions of legacy PCs and smart mobile thingies annually. In fact it’s growing. All the major OEMs produce GNU/Linux desktops/notebooks. Some retailers even sell them. Imagine what the share of GNU/Linux would be if retailers put a fraction of their advertising money to the task. The present share is achieved with almost no advertising, just what’s on the web.

The key to growing the share of GNU/Linux desktops is not in radical change in the ecosystem but getting retailers to demand GNU/Linux. That’s happening this year as ChromeBooks made a dent. Even the big box stores in North America were selling them.

Some are even selling Android/Linux on notebooks. The retail world is ripe for innovation and retailers will sell GNU/Linux globally sooner or later. I think it will be sooner as they try to move product where “8” is floundering. No retailer wants to be paid to reserve retail shelves for a dead product. Retailers value turnover, recycling their capital multiple times with tiny margins to be competitive.

Proof that retailers can and do sell GNU/Linux can be seen in the Dell/Canonical relationship in India and China and Walmart selling tons of GNU/Linux legacy PCs in Brazil. Brazil has its own OEMs and global OEMs have to go to Brazil to play in that market.

The problems with wider usage of GNU/Linux lie not with anything in the GNU/Linux ecosystem but external forces: M$’s marketing strategies to exclude competition and retailers’ unwillingness to escape M$’s traps. In India and China most retailers and other businesses are not locked in as the market is young and growing rapidly. In Brazil government tariffs exclude most importations and the government promotes FLOSS so it happens. If governments everywhere enforced anti-competition laws, the problem would evaporate as retailers see higher margins with FLOSS.

The FUD is fuelled by web statistics that show an irrelevant ~1% share for GNU/Linux. Those are clearly wrong. One can see it in the share claimed by MacOS which is larger than what Apple claims… or the fact that in countries where GNU/Linux is flying off retail shelves there’s hardly a flicker in the statistics.

On the business side, the following link points out that businesses are not interested in M$’s marketing bling but want stuff that works and works more or less the way Lose ’95 worked. Businesses don’t want to change OS just because M$ wants more money. They are fed up with the Wintel treadmill and are ready to migrate to GNU/Linux just to avoid Wintel. A lot of mission-critical applications on servers have been migrated to FLOSS and there’s little reason to retain that other OS on clients. Businesses are using web applications, clouds and thin clients where M$ has no monopoly. That trend has been growing for years and there’s no end in sight.

For a thorough discussion of some of these issues, see Is the Linux desktop becoming extinct?

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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46 Responses to Facts and Fictions About GNU/Linux Desktops

  1. oiaohm says:

    bw the problem is due to company structures seeing if there are making profit or not is going to be hard.

    Before android what market share did Sony have.

    –There is always a lot of players at the start, followed by a big shake out, followed by one or two moving onward to product market maturity.–

    Ok then what went wrong in the OEM PC market. Or the Server market Or the old mobile phone market. Sorry what you talking about does not happen when all parties can get there mints on the OS.

    History of the mobile market it was mature before the smart phones enters is a interesting one before Android there was Symbian as the dominate shared OS.

    The big thing here is HTC, LG and Sony. Have not moved up to SE Linux based Android.

    History don’t agree with you with Mobile phones.

    The magic shake out is not going to happen. Samsung might be dominate yes. But HTC, LG, Sony and others will be able to eat out a living just like they did against Nokia. Samsung just becomes the new Nokia.

    Carriers what to show to customers variety when they got to buy a phone. There will always be a market for competitors to Samsung. Apple is moving into the spot blackberry is losing.

    bw did you pull the product life cycles of the Feature phones. Yes the pre Smart phones. If you had you would have found mobile device market is not normal.

    Its all the relationship between carriers and device makers and consumers. This is not a hardware maker selling to consumer driven item.

  2. bw predicted doom for “Sony, HTC, LG, and others” Android/Linux smartphone businesses…

    Those are heavy-hitters. They know how to play the game and they will figure out how to adjust. Sony, for instance, could immediately leap to productivity by shifting production to China or other southeast Asia countries. They have animosity with many of those but pragmatism may prevail. WWII is a faded memory for younger people. HTC, from Taiwan, is planning to work on the high end to raise margins. There is a wide spectrum of prices so that may well succeed. LG is LG and they can accomplish anything in consumer electronics.

  3. bw says:

    Oiaohm, you have the stupidest notions of anyone around here. Sony, HTC, LG, and others are not going to stay in the Android phone business, or any phone business for that matter, without making profits commensurate with their investments. Read about product life cycles and such on business sites. There is always a lot of players at the start, followed by a big shake out, followed by one or two moving onward to product market maturity. Each survivor dominates some profitable niche. Apple and Samsung are dueling for the smart phone business and one of them is going to dominate eventually. The others are losers and will be out of the business before long.

  4. oiaohm says:

    bw sony is a interesting one. Sony has lots of sub companies in China and other places.

    Sony is exactly like LG. Make profit in Japan pay very high tax rates. Make profit in China or Taiwan pay lower tax.

    Who is Sonys hardware maker bw? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualcomm

    bw Qualcomm pays Sony to move their phones. Yes so much from customer, so much for Qualcomm. Mobile phones are making Sony a profit. Qualcomm is also making a nice profit.

    Sony Ericsson does not exist and has not for a year.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Mobile_Communications

    Qualcomm does not pay Sony Mobile Communications. They pay Sony Mobile Electronics (Thailand) Co., Ltd. Reason guess who designs the look of Sony phones. Not Sony Mobile Communications that is really just a retail arm.

    bw Sony is like LG it too expensive to be taxed in Japan. So the companies outside Japan make a profit and the companies in Japan appear to make a loss.

    Is Sony really making a lose selling mobile phones no its not. Is it a case of profit shuffling to make loses appear where tax rates are high yes it is.

    To be correct “Sony loses money on everything” if you look at the Japanese firms. If you start looking out side Japan you find like the sub companies in Thailand making profits.

    bw sony is not going to pull the plug its profitable. Its wishful thinking on your part its not.

    Bw lot of the companies are hydras. Multi head beast if some heads look sick the other heads a propping them up.

    HTC arguement you might have something but is not negative Has HTC had hard times like this before yes. Big thing missing for the HTC line is something in the Samsung KNOX line.

  5. bw wrote, “Sony and HTC are losing money on phones. Period. So how long does that go on before they pull the plug?”

    That has nothing to do with FLOSS v non-free software or much else. Sony loses money on everything because Japan is now a high-wage state with a high-valued currency. HTC is struggling simply because of the rise of Chinese OEMs on the low end and Samsung in the middle. HTC is not actually losing money but their margins have fallen dramatically as their volumes have dropped.

  6. bw says:

    “Sony and HTC are not struggling if you look at there manufacturing arms. Its normal for there distribution arms to appear to be struggling”

    Sony and HTC are losing money on phones. Period. So how long does that go on before they pull the plug?

  7. oiaohm says:

    bw http://www.comscoredatamine.com/2013/02/an-average-monday-in-the-uk-pcs-for-lunch-tablets-for-dinner/

    Go get Comscore reports. Samsung in all markets is leading over Apple for devices in the field. If you combined Sony and HTC market share that is larger than Apple in used devices.

    bw maybe there is a very bad reason why Apple is making more profit. Apple is the only one to be using Glass screens. Everyone else is using a plastic based materials. So every non Apple device is less likely to break and require replacement.

    So apple could be a case of profit by being poor quality in hardware. This is really supported by the ground surveys. Because we know the volumes of apple devices sold compared to Android devices and they are disappearing out the market somewhere between retail and carriers. This normally suggests breakages.

    You want a phone or tablet that lasts don’t by Apple is what the numbers are saying.

    –A bunch of others are struggling to exist and are not likely to last much longer losing money.–

    Sony and HTC are not struggling if you look at there manufacturing arms. Its normal for there distribution arms to appear to be struggling.

  8. bw says:

    “see here…”

    It is all just terms, of course, but what you are illustrating is just a characteristic of phones, not the market for phones. The market is the smart phone market and people buy for a variety of reasons, classed as “selling points”. Android OS is not really a major point at all and hardly characterizes the market for phones.

    The market leader is Apple and the main competition is Samsung. A bunch of others are struggling to exist and are not likely to last much longer losing money. They are product lines in multi-product line companies that can be severed in a short time.

    Motorola already fobbed Motorola Mobile off on Google and the one losing the most, according to the article cited above. The rest are likely to soon follow as Samsung emerges more and more as the clear winner in the low price producer space.

  9. bw says:

    “Lot of the ones listed there are fine from a financial point of view.”

    The companies are making profits, but they are losing money on smart phones. Think of how you all disparage Microsoft’s fine quarters because you say that client division is falling down. Same thing only Sony can dump phones very easy compared with Microsoft dumping Windows as a product. Of course Windows is itself making a huge amount of profit, so it is really not the same thing.

    As the market matures, there is always a lot of shake out of weak sisters and those companies are essentially everyone but Samsung. Companies are not going to be loyal to Android and carry on while throwing their money away. They will cast off these products and seek other markets to enter.

    There are dozens of no-name tablet vendors, too, all of whom seem to be bent on destroying one another by lowering prices until no one can make any money. Apple doesn’t seem to have that disease and is making, it is said, 100% of the profits in that market, too.

    “Multi sub companies cause something equal to deferring income stunt except it happens in the same quarter and the profit disappears out of one company and appears in another ”

    Dream on. Would you take your own stupid advice? I bet not.

  10. bw wrote some nonsense, “I don’t believe that there is any sort of “Android device” market per se.”

    see here

  11. oiaohm says:

    From you own quote bw.
    –To clarify, profit share is not the same as market share. This is why Apple and Samsung can take 100 percent of the market even though other companies compete.–

    Lot of the ones listed there are fine from a financial point of view.

    This is another case of being tricked by accountancy slide of hand. Even when LG, Sony and HTC produced windows mobile phones it appears to be negative profit most of the time.

    Internal sales inside those companies. Goes like this Marketing, Hardware development, Software Development all takes so much. Then each of those sub departments give a percentage of profit back to the main core of those companies.

    bw I will show you LG
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LG_Corp nice right.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LG_Electronics

    The front company LG_Electronics makes a profitable revenue but once it pays its internal supply that has a habit of changing to a loss. Then being latter on bailed out by its internal supply.

    Sony and HTC are the same. So operating income from those is a very bad number to look at. As long as the revenue is ok and there supply companies are making a profit you can fairly much disregard the mobile operating income. It the other sub companies operating income that is more important.

    Motorola is about the only one with a profit issue since its production sub companies did not do that well recently.

    bw financial side of hand makes it very hard to work out exactly what is going on with some of these companies. Multi sub companies cause something equal to deferring income stunt except it happens in the same quarter and the profit disappears out of one company and appears in another company all owning to the one entity. Does have the tax advantage in lots of countries not having to pay income tax because you made a loss.

    Samsung does the slide of hand a little(own chips in own devices) no where near what Sony, LG and HTC do.

    Apple, Nokia and Blackberry don’t do the slide of hand at all.

  12. bw says:

    “That Microsoft Windows does not have a market.”

    In a sense, that is true, since Microsoft is the only supplier of Windows and it is the only product offering available although there are multiple versions that could be selected. Rather than a market per se, Windows is a business that is still doing quite well.

    “Even more strange is no single entity owns the Android Device Market”

    I guess you missed my cite:

    “From January through March, Apple took 57 percent of the profits generated in the smartphone industry, while Samsung’s take was 43 percent. LG was the only other provider that generated a positive “value share,” at 1 percent.

    Nokia, BlackBerry, Sony, and HTC contributed zero operating profit to the market, while Motorola’s accounted for a 1 percent loss.”

    http://appadvice.com/appnn/2013/05/in-terms-of-smartphone-profits-apple-and-samsung-continue-to-dominate

    That is pretty strong evidence that Samsung owns the Android Device Market, if you can say that it exists, which it does not. Rather it is the smart phone market and Samsung competes with Apple and a bunch of losers who are not making any profits and are likely to disappear soon.

  13. oiaohm says:

    bw
    “I don’t believe that there is any sort of “Android device” market per se. ”

    Time to eat your words. The problem is it exists bazaar style not citadel.

    Mobile World Congress is classic example. Each Android device producer buys floor space next to other Android device producers then they use all the space combined to make a unified market competitive sell there products to the carriers.

    Without carriers you don’t get shelf space.

    I could extend you arguement about Android not having a market. That Microsoft Windows does not have a market. Then break it down to OEM’s. In fact other that places Microsoft directly runs the OEM’s producing different devices never unity to directly complete on supply.

    The reality the Android Device Market is a physical entity that appears at places selling devices to carriers. The bazaar style of Linux and Open Source development is reflected in how Android is marketed.

    Even more strange is no single entity owns the Android Device Market. This is why the idea that Google is footing the advertising bill of Android is wrong. The device makers are footing large percentage of the advertising bill. The device makers are also footing a large percentage of the Android development bill.

    This is also why we going to see fragmentation. Lot of the device makers are not happy with Google control over Android.

    bw
    –It really does not matter what people use for phones or tablets or what they eat for breakfast as long as the bottom line at Redmond keeps pointing north.–
    The problem at the moment we are not sure that is the case. We need to wait for 4Q numbers to know.

  14. bw says:

    “You mean like giving software away?”

    Well, no. If you could read, you would notice that I was referring to selling smart phones at a loss.

    Free software may very well cause the size of the market that Microsoft addresses to be limited in some way, but the portion that exists in spite of free software availability is still extremely large and highly profitable. Free software is just one of many things that limit the market for Microsoft products.

    If people fail to spend money, that does not create a loss. Rather it limits the economic activity available. I personally do not think that very much money is avoided this way. Companies and individuals who have a need for the type of software that Microsoft sells seem generally willing and able to buy it and continue to do so. People who are making it their life’s work to avoid buying it are not likely to be able to afford it anyway, even if there were no homemade stuff to use instead.

  15. matchrocket says:

    “Flooding the world with things that lose money is not likely to last for a great long time.”

    You mean like giving software away? Who is losing money when software is given away? Microsoft. So you can say Microsoft is making money but you can’t tell us how much they have lost as the percentage of organizations that switch to FLOSS grows.

    You know they are losing money. Everyone knows that. The only question is how much?

  16. bw says:

    “Windows-fanboys are not so eager to talk about “phones”

    It is just like how the Linux cultists are continually trying to find some fault with continued Microsoft financial success, I guess. At least there are document, public, and historically consistent metrics to measure the progress of MSFT over the years. It really does not matter what people use for phones or tablets or what they eat for breakfast as long as the bottom line at Redmond keeps pointing north.

    Android does not generate any cash unto itself, so it is not at all comparable to Windows, even in the phone OS market. Phones are a big business but there are only two real winners:

    “From January through March, Apple took 57 percent of the profits generated in the smartphone industry, while Samsung’s take was 43 percent. LG was the only other provider that generated a positive “value share,” at 1 percent.

    Nokia, BlackBerry, Sony, and HTC contributed zero operating profit to the market, while Motorola’s accounted for a 1 percent loss.”

    http://appadvice.com/appnn/2013/05/in-terms-of-smartphone-profits-apple-and-samsung-continue-to-dominate

    “You can’t cheat me.”

    Enjoy it while you can. Flooding the world with things that lose money is not likely to last for a great long time.

    As to Microsoft and phones, they do get some revenue from both phones and tablets, but not much, and even that may be at an overall loss, I don’t know. They do apparently get the odd billion or so in royalty payments from Android device makers for use of Microsoft’s patents, so it is likely to be cash positive overall.

  17. Mats Hagglund says:

    “It is not meaningful to compare a phone sale …”

    Funny but after Windows got some 3-4% of global tablet and smartphone markets many Windows-fanboys are not so eager to talk about “phones” (smartphone) than last year. Evolution of thinking via better market share i guess so?

    Anyway – smartphone is as computer as pc. Those claims standing against the idea of smartphone as a computer are coming mostly by bitter Windows users and old farts. In most of the countries smartphone and smaller tablets are devices how people are doing network computing. You should understand it. Please leave that 1990’s and come to modern times. PC is not going to disappear. However mobiles are now the mainstream of network computing. If you can’t understand it, then clearly it’s just your problem, not mine.

    In 2016 there will surely be more than 1.5 billion portables and desktops. But there will be perhaps as many as 4 billion smartphones and tablets. If Microsoft can get bigger market share in tablets and smartphones you would probably appreciate mobiles much more than now. You can’t cheat me.

  18. bw says:

    “During that period Android has taken majority …”

    I don’t believe that there is any sort of “Android device” market per se. There is a smartphone market wherein Apple is the market leader and Samsung is second, followed by a bunch of “others”. There is a large tablet market, essentially owned by Apple’s iPad and a small tablet market with a lot of players including Apple, Amazon, and Google. The Kindle is big in that space, but it may not be first, I am not sure. Amazon leverages it for selling books, so they have a mixed view of that market segment.

    Most importantly for Microsoft, there is a market for PC operating system software and primary business infrastructure software that it dominates. That market is huge, more than a billion dollars a week depending on how you look at it, and it is still growing year after year.

    It is not meaningful to compare a phone sale to a PC OS license sale and think that Microsoft is declining because of the numerical differences. They are not in the same business and one does not have any significant effect on the other.

  19. Mats Hagglund says:

    Huge majority of smartphones and tablets are less than 2 years old. During that period Android has taken majority (over 60%) of smartphones and great deal of tablets (near 40%) too. Smartphone vs. tablet rate is about 6:1 or 5:1, that’s why it’s obvious that over 55% of mobiles with net connection are Android-devices. That share is increasing steadily and getting 67% market share near in future. Gartner and IDC are estimating sale of 920-1000 million smartphones and about 200 million tablets in 2013. Some 750-800 million of them are Android. During the same time hardly more than 250 million devices with Windows-license (mobiles and non-mobiles) will be sold. Total pc market is shrinking to 300 million units sale.

    For Apple figures might be something like this:

    -25 million Mac OSX non-mobiles
    -80 million iPads
    – 160-180 million iPhones.
    _______________________________

    total 265-285 million Apple devices

    Goldman Sachs was giving percentage for 2012: Android Linux 42%, Apple 24%, Windows 20%

    Year 2013 might look like this:

    Android Linux: 52-54%
    Apple OS: 19-20%
    Windows: 17-19%
    Others: 10-12% (including other Linux distributions+Chrome OS…)

  20. oiaohm says:

    –Try out an iPhone/iPad and a Surface and a Windows 8 Phone sometime.–
    Have tried them out. I do find Android better for what I need todo. There are tools you cannot get on iPhone/iPad or Surface or Windows 8 device that you can in Android or a converted Android.

    MS Dos was also a sad experence compared to the competition at the time.

    George Wilson
    –But only Android device makers seem perfectly unable to produce a fluid user experience with all those shiny CPU and GPU cores. Perhaps Android’s fault?–

    The answer is yes. Now smart ass list what the issues are George Wilson. There are a list of things Android OEM’s that consistent ruin performance.

    To start you off George Wilson Android unique graphical stack and drivers that Google decided to invent. All the better behaved android devices use stock DRI2/3 drivers not the Google monsters. There is 6 unique errors in the Google monster of a video output solution.

    The mainlining process of the Android kernel is seeing lot of these faults fixed.

  21. Matts Hagglund wrote, “Goldman Sachs was telling “shocking results” of market share of new device: 42% for Android Linux (2012).”

    Yes, having choice in the market matters. That’s why M$ and its “partners” like to eliminate choice.

  22. George Wilson says:

    Now just few months later Android seems to have about 52% of global markets (Q1 2013). It looks like both Apple and Microsoft are now below 20%…

    Who gives a damn? Oh, right, you do. Because according to you that’s proof that Linux has “won” or some such nonsense. Apple and Microsoft are laughing all the way to the bank.

    Try out an iPhone/iPad and a Surface and a Windows 8 Phone sometime. Afterwards you’ll piss on Android. Except for the premium devices which are not cheaper than what Apple has to offer, Android devices offer a miserable user experience befitting Linux.

    It’s funny how you always hear Pogson crow about the newest ARM achievements. But only Android device makers seem perfectly unable to produce a fluid user experience with all those shiny CPU and GPU cores. Perhaps Android’s fault?

  23. Mats Hagglund says:

    Goldman Sachs was telling “shocking results” of market share of new device: 42% for Android Linux (2012).

    Now just few months later Android seems to have about 52% of global markets (Q1 2013). It looks like both Apple and Microsoft are now below 20%…

  24. bw wrote of schools, “I think that any such organization will simply continue using XP in the same way as the day before until the machines ultimately turn to dust and are replaced with new ones.”

    Schools rely heavily on WWW and XP on WWW without support is a disaster waiting to happen. I’ve seen lots of that even with M$’s updates. Unsupported, XP will grind to a halt in many schools. GNU/Linux will come to the rescue just as I did many times. The last place I worked had 50% of the XP machines not running due to malware or refusal to boot. The principal had even seized all the keyboards and mice in the computer lab to decommission it until I came along. They went from 20 machines working with XP to 40 working with GNU/Linux. Then we added 40 more XP machines that were converted to GNU/Linux on arrival. While I was available to support those GNU/Linux machines, support was largely unnecessary. They just kept working.

  25. oiaohm says:

    bw sitting in a draw not used does not show up in Comscore USA numbers.

    Comscore is active in usage survey.

    –So it was counted somewhere as an Android device shipped, but it doesn’t show up on any web stats anywhere anymore.–

    http://gigaom.com/2013/03/06/comscore-android-still-top-us-smartphone-os-but-iphone-top-smartphone-and-ios-gaining/

    This is your problem comscore numbers are not sold numbers. They are actively on and in use devices.

    So in draw somewhere is no explanation why web numbers don’t match comscore.

    I am comparing active study to active study.

    “In android case only about 1/4 is turning up in the web stats compared to apple”

    This is comscore vs webstats.

    The difference between sales figures and comscore tells you how much is going into draw or recycle.

  26. bw says:

    “With the expiration of support for XP, there will be a huge market to migrate those machines to GNU/Linux.”

    Why? If some organization, even some hypothetical impoverished school system, has been using a bunch of XP computers for the last 10 years, I would think that they are pretty settled in on their operations methods. They haven’t used any “support” for ages and wouldn’t make any sort of dramatic change just because it was no longer available.

    I think that any such organization will simply continue using XP in the same way as the day before until the machines ultimately turn to dust and are replaced with new ones.

  27. bw says:

    “In android case only about 1/4 is turning up in the web stats compared to apple”

    So why is that the case? All the gibberish you posted here only goes to say that you do not know.

    I think there are multiple reasons but no one is likely to study the problem since the answer isn’t anything that someone can make a profit from. I myself bought one of the $89 Android tablets last year. It was a closeout sale from Computer Geeks and was for a 7″ Android ICS model claimed to have once sold for $199.

    It worked OK as far as I could tell, but it just sits in a drawer now since it doesn’t work as well as my Kindle or my wife’s iPad Mini. One problem it had was that it didn’t have any sort of manual attached. I could poke around on it and get it to connect to my email and it had a browser that I could use and a bunch of apps came pre-installed. I could download new ones from the Google store, too.

    But it was clumsy to use and the touch screen was erratic. You had to use a stylus to get any reliable functioning. I suppose that, if I were stranded somewhere and it was the only device I had, I could put up with all that, but I have too many alternatives. So it was counted somewhere as an Android device shipped, but it doesn’t show up on any web stats anywhere anymore.

  28. Mats Hagglund wrote, “The only way to put Linux as mainstream pc system is giving people pre-installed Linux-pc’s.”

    In schools there are many millions of XP machines with a few years of life left in the hardware. With the expiration of support for XP, there will be a huge market to migrate those machines to GNU/Linux. Schools are not interested in dumping working machines on the scrap heap.

    That’s just one example where migrations to GNU/Linux could give significant boost to GNU/Linux share. The potential size of that “market” is considerable and may be of similar size to production by OEMs for a few years. The supposed superiority of “7” over XP may dampen that flux after that but until XP dies it will remain a pool of good candidates for migration to GNU/Linux.

    When I was a teacher, it was a simple task to install one machine and when it was configured the way I wanted, to clone that image to many others either via CloneZilla, apt-get install from a list or just PXE booting and doing some dd-ing over SSH. You don’t need near as many computer geeks involved with such multiplying forces. For individuals, installing GNU/Linux will always be a ~1% thing. That’s likely what the web stats measure, not rollout in larger organizations.

    OEM production of PCs is ~85million per quarter. Out of 1500 million PCs in operation that is just a few percent shift in share possible in a quarter even with full OEM production. Migration of XP machines could yield 100 million in the next quarter. A guy like me can install GNU/Linux on more than 100 machines per day if they can boot PXE. There are many like me. A million? Probably. I trained a bunch myself.

  29. Mats Hagglund says:

    If we follow the success of Google and then Canonical being not so success in their Ubuntu projects there is one clear evidence. Any “community” project will never make Linux on pc a mainstream OS. They should be big player like Google pushing pre-installed Linux personal computers to folks. People would buy them if they are good enough and cheap enough.

    But i haven’t noticed any great demand for Ubuntu pc:s. Hardly more than 5% of users are ready to install their OS. People generally don’t care much about OS. Huge majority actually don’t care at all about operation system.

    Yes. The only way to put Linux as mainstream pc system is giving people pre-installed Linux-pc’s. They themselves will never want to install any OS. With Google it can happened. People know Google but Canonical and Ubuntu are unknown for huge majority of people.

  30. Mats Hagglund says:

    There are probably few reasons why Windows is still dominating pc:

    – MS Office (Word, Power Point, Excell) – especially education system locked to MS ecosystem

    – Adobe Photoshop, AutoCad…

    – Some devices still discriminating Linux (car navigator like TomTom, Garmin…)

    – lack of business software for Linux? (accounting, accounts receivable…CAD, CAM….Probably this is not true but there might be strong feeling that their ain’t business software for Linux.

    Schools, universities, trade schools, technical schools are the key point maintaining Windows dominance. I just wonder how long because almost 80% of new devices are mobiles – dominated by Linux (67%).

  31. ram says:

    I suggest the only web stats you can trust are those from your own servers, or servers you control. Next level down, is just to ask webmaster friends who administer alot of sites what are they seeing.

    Everybody I know know sees mostly Linux accessing their content.

  32. Mats Hagglund says:

    After mobile revolution and success of iOS and Android, one thing is clear: people don’t buy personal computers because Windows. People generally don’t buy any operation systems, they just buy computers. During the last 20 years they have been forced to buy Windows with that personal computer. It’s up to retailers do they or do they not do favors to some operation system.

    “Retailers didn’t do Windows 8 any favors”

    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9238887/Retailers_didn_t_do_Windows_8_any_favors

  33. Mats Hagglund says:

    I’ve checked the latest figures of IDC and Gartner and the current trend (Q1 2013) are showing these numbers (new devices):

    Smartphone: 216 million, 70% (151 million) for Android, 7 million of Windows (est).

    Tablet: 49.2 million, 56,5% (27,8 million) for Android, 1.8 million for Windows (IDC)

    PC: 75 million (Gartner 300 million/year), 60% (45 million) Windows pre-installed.

    Android: ~179 million/340 million = 52,5%
    Windows (pre-installed): 54 million/340 million= 16%

    Even if rest of non-Macs are installed with Windows the market share of Microsoft Windows is less than 22%.

    http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS24093213

  34. oiaohm says:

    bw “It seems to me that the only answer is that the Android devices are not used in the same way as the Apple devices. Whatever story is behind that is likely to be more interesting than just raw numbers.”

    I would love to know as well. Knowing how a product is used help you improve it. Since now you know why users want it. And what they are doing with it.

    bw the existing web stats are not really attempting to answer the question of why. The why are they seeing the numbers they are is very important.

    You also have to remember companies like samsung are also making huge profits. So its not only Apple profiting from the mobile game.

    bw we also know that Windows, OS X and linux are used different ways on desktop. With different Internet access levels.

    bw everyone admits Windows, OS X and Linux has different software. This means they have different usage. So without knowing the OS usage or having a head count you cannot know how much percent you are seeing on the Internet and how much you don’t see.

    bw its the simple problem no matter how you look at it we just don’t have the stats. We have things that pretend they are the stats. How correct they are is really suspect.

    bw by the way you cannot say that Android is like a unique error. You have to then prove for the other Operating are not use the same way. Hiding the numbers.

    bw what evidence do you have that Linux desktops don’t use the same Internet behaviour as Android devices. The answer is none.

    bw we have suspected a problem with the numbers due to insane wild swings at times.

    The data exists now that there is problem. The data to fix the problem does not exist. So the result is a huge number of stats sites are rendered useless.

    All the web stats are build on the presume that everyone will use there devices the same basic way. What is a bad presume.

    bw you would say that Linux people have a different culture to the average. As you admit that you also have to admit their Internet usage is going to be different.

    In android case only about 1/4 is turning up in the web stats compared to apple.

    This has been the problem bw. People on both sides of the Linux vs Windows arguement have been using numbers with no valid conformation that they are anywhere near correct.

  35. bw says:

    “Android/Linux is kicking iOS ass”

    Sure they are, if you consider Apple’s immense profits as an ass kicking, but why do your stats show iOS at about 25% total and all of Linux, including Android, at 7.5%?

    It seems to me that the only answer is that the Android devices are not used in the same way as the Apple devices. Whatever story is behind that is likely to be more interesting than just raw numbers.

  36. oiaohm says:

    bw one of the biggest problems Linux has. Is distributions are running basically a race against each other with no rules to know who is winning who is losing and who is running in the wrong direction.

    This is because we don’t have stats that work.

    I am willing to admit the stats are stuffed. Its going to be good to seen ubuntu phone and tizen phone and others. We will have solid stats to see what one is doing better or worse. So able to judge what the consumer wants better.

  37. oiaohm says:

    bw
    “How do you reconcile the low rate of Android and Linux aggregated against Apple’s iDevice OS? Do these devices not work and so cannot be used by their owners?”
    You have to remember commscore for the USA.

    http://gigaom.com/2013/03/06/comscore-android-still-top-us-smartphone-os-but-iphone-top-smartphone-and-ios-gaining/

    bw Android is the dominate in usage in the USA. Confirmed by carriers.

    “Are they not used in the same sort of way that causes them to be invisible to the statistics gathering process?”

    All we can take from the comscore numbers is this is true for all web stats collection points there is some cause that is making users invisible.

    All of them do in fact provide numbers limited to the USA. So you can compare against comscore ground survey.

    This error has been suspected by Linux people for along time but proving it has been very hard. The introduction of the iphone/ipad(that are counted in the same box by comscore) and android devices provide something to see it.

    bw the problem is the facts are here now. Attempt to keep on using web stats that can be directly proven as suspect to say you know the size of Linux is just being a idiot.

    We know the existing web stats are broken. We need new stats collection methods that avoid the bugs.

    The ship rates of new devices line up with the comscore numbers fairly closely.

    bw we really have no stats that tell us the uptake of Linux or the lack of uptake of Linux. Every stat a troll as been using simple to prove as dead. You just take the ground survey of comscore compare against it and opps it wrong.

    And not by small amounts. The error amount is that large that Linux could be bigger than OS X and current Windows 8.

    The best answer when you know the error is this big. Is we don’t know. We don’t know how big Linux market share is. We don’t know how big OS X market share is. We don’t know how big Windows desktop market share is.

    Steam stats on Windows 8 uptake. Don’t agree with web stats either.

    bw its a case of complete stats collection failure.

    A proper correct market overview would be highly useful to Linux. To know where the Linux desktop is doing well. Those markets could be targeted.

  38. bw, assuming facts not in evidence, wrote, “How do you reconcile the low rate of Android and Linux aggregated against Apple’s iDevice OS? Do these devices not work and so cannot be used by their owners?”

    Android/Linux is kicking iOS ass:

    Three times the rate of shipment in smartphones and growing

    Neck and neck for tablets

  39. bw says:

    You missed my sorry attempt at humor, I see. All I was suggesting was that pictures of things on shelves is not actually evidence of their “flying off” them.

    Deeper down, you have to consider the hopelessness of you thesis. You say the statistics are wrong because they cannot be right due to your belief that remote regions are using Linux to a much higher degree than the statistics show, but it doesn’t seem to matter where you get the statistics, they show the same thing, namely a very poor rate of uptake of Linux OS.

    How do you reconcile the low rate of Android and Linux aggregated against Apple’s iDevice OS? Do these devices not work and so cannot be used by their owners? Are they not used in the same sort of way that causes them to be invisible to the statistics gathering process?

  40. bw wrote, “All that shows is that the Windows models were all sold out and the only ones left on the shelves were the Linux models that no one wanted to buy.”

    What retailer would operate that way? They replenish their stock ASAP. Stock not on display does not sell. It’s all about selling.

  41. bw says:

    “one picture is worth 1K words”

    All that shows is that the Windows models were all sold out and the only ones left on the shelves were the Linux models that no one wanted to buy.

  42. bw wrote, “There are no sales figures that suggest that Linux is “flying off the shelves”. The shelves are indeed empty of Linux product”

    I would like sales figures but pictures will have to do. After all one picture is worth 1K words.

  43. lpbear wrote, “Following your logic there must be a very small percentage of Apple/Mac users.”

    Apple is helpful to clear that up by publishing unit shipments in its SEC filings.

    Their MacOS share which is sometimes reported ~10% is closer to 5% based on Apple’s numbers and IDC’s global units shipped. That 5% gap is filled by GNU/Linux most likely, because the share of that other OS is so high.

  44. lpbbear says:

    “I doubt that the use of Linux is even 1%, given the frequency that I run into anyone actually using it.”

    You may be correct given that is your experience as you wander the halls in Redmond.

    (snark, couldn’t resist 😉 )

    As I mentioned earlier I run into far more Linux users than Apple/Mac users in my area. Following your logic there must be a very small percentage of Apple/Mac users.

  45. bw says:

    ” or the fact that in countries where GNU/Linux is flying off retail shelves there’s hardly a flicker in the statistics.”

    There are no sales figures that suggest that Linux is “flying off the shelves”. The shelves are indeed empty of Linux product, but that does not mean that it ever was actually on those shelves. If these mythical units were in use, they would appear in the stats, but they do not.

    DigiTimes and other trade publications very rarely make any mention of Linux computer business issues and it is a fair assumption that there is little activity in that niche, else it would be a frequent topic for the reporters.

  46. bw says:

    “Some of that is Android/Linux ”

    It is likely that virtually all of that is Android. If you consider that iOS has such a large chunk, namely iPad and iPhone combined, and, according to your many posts on the subject, Android numerically outnumbers iPad and iPhone combined, the mobile Android figures, even if the entire Linux use was credited to Android, seem small by comparison.

    As I stated elsewhere, usage of Android devices by their owners appears to be less frequent than use of iOS devices by their owners, so some of that is expected. But the Linux hits must be almost all due to Android activity. I doubt that the use of Linux is even 1%, given the frequency that I run into anyone actually using it.

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