Reality Check: Success of GNU/Linux

Brian Proffitt: “by any reasonable measure, Linux on the desktop has yet to capture a significant market share of the desktop and portable PC platform.”
see Reality Check: Defining The True Success of Linux.

That’s nonsense. This is my comment to TFA:
This assumption, “by any reasonable measure, Linux on the desktop has yet to capture a significant market share of the desktop and portable PC platform.” is just wrong. Walmart.com.br sells more GNU/Linux desktops than that other OS. The web stats which mostly reflect consumer usage because of corporate firewalls/security are biased against GNU/Linux which is still not on retail shelves in some places. That has changed though. India, China and now the world have GNU/Linux on retail shelves with Canonical’s efforts and Google’s Chromebooks. So, the premise of the article is wrong. GNU/Linux is at least as relevant globally as MacOS and primed to expand much farther and faster. Even the web stats show GNU/Linux in USA at 2.56% on Statcounter: http://gs.statcounter.com/#os-US-daily-20130401-20130617 , with huge increases in the last two months. How is that not significant? Meanwhile, M$’s share has dropped to around 75% by the same counter. Remember, M$ used to be 95%+. So, the OS wars are not over and GNU/Linux is doing quite well. We now have OEMs, retailers and consumers finding GNU/Linux works for them and it costs less and comes on a wider variety of hardware. Where is the downside? Legacy apps? Very few are using them these days except in business and they are switching to web applications.

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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11 Responses to Reality Check: Success of GNU/Linux

  1. Good. Tomorrow starts “Open Source Days” in Munich. It’s mainly for local government administrations and open source business. Good stuff. This is a much healthier way to support an IT infrastructure instead of throwing money at M$ and depending on them to do the right thing. Money saved by not propping up M$ can be used to hire local talent, give custom to local businesses and to create a skilled workforce.

  2. Maou Sadao says:

    Out of kindness I present Mr. Pogson with a link that will warm his heart:

    http://sz.de/1.1699893

    In short: the City of Munich wants to distribute Ubuntu 12.04 CDs (initial batch: 2000) in their public libraries and at events to “help” those poor souls who still use Windows XP.

  3. Maou Sadao wrote, “Not interested in freedom, but only in seeing Microsoft destroyed.”

    The two are intimately related in that M$ has for decades perfected the art of taking away freedom. In fact, M$ paid companies peanuts to give up their right to freedom of speech:
    “‘ Microsoft is giving this relatively small site free exposure in print advertising

    ‘ Microsoft has offered $1000 of tree software

    ‘ Microsoft has guaranteed co-marketing activities for the next year

    ‘ An explicit term of the agreement is to remove any reference to Netscape from their site”

    There cannot be freedom in IT as long as M$ has huge share of the desktops. This is not ancient history. M$ has people on salary whose job it is to mess with competition. Governments and courts long ago had a chance to shoot M$ down but failed for a number of reasons. I don’t have to accept that and I continue to remind the world that those evil people are still running M$ and stealing the right of people to run the software on their computers, examine the code, modify the code and distribute the code. The world can and does make GNU/Linux Free Software which is the gold-standard for freedom in IT.

  4. Maou Sadao says:

    “I want people to be free of M$.”

    Finally! The big admission. It could’ve served as the big reveal in one of the Bond films, like, say, Goldeneye. Imagine Alec Trevelyan saying it to Bond before he wants to destroy electrical thingies with the Goldeneye device:

    “I want people to be free of M$.”

    Then Bond, confused:

    “Multiple Sclerosis? (beat) You are a supervillain, right?”

    Anyway, Mr. Pogson shows again how small his mind and his world is. A tragicomic figure in the vein of Don Quixote, only that Mr. Pogson is real. Not interested in freedom, but only in seeing Microsoft destroyed. His Linux advocacy is a most shallow affair, a mere vehicle for his out-of-control hate.

  5. William Tiberius Shatner, tediously, wrote, “I never got the fixation in market share anyway. And I never got why Linux advocacy seems to require so much misrepresentation.”

    I want people to be free of M$. Market share is a measure of freedom. I don’t misrepresent anything. I am human and occasionally misread something but it’s not deliberate. I don’t have a good enough memory to lie.

    All indicators are that FLOSS and GNU/Linux and Android/Linux are doing very well, despite what the trolls here claim. All attempts to undermine confidence in GNU/Linux over the last decade have failed miserably except for delaying the decline of monopoly. I have to live with that. Sooner or later everyone sees through the lies like GNU/Linux is a cancer, is no more secure, costs more, is hard/difficult, etc. We are at the point where everyone from hardware maker, OEM, retailer and consumer all get that */Linux is good for them. That’s tremendous upside growth potential for GNU/Linux. Now that more retail shelves bear */Linux the web stats are rising sharply. USA showed a doubling two months in a row. How much longer will the trolls deny that?

  6. William Tiberius Shatner wrote, “Your own link shows Linux at 1.81% and MacOSX at 12.62% for the US.”

    Nonsense. Do I have to show you how to read a graph?

    17 June 2013 2.56%

    It might help you to download the CSV spreadsheet or hover your mouse over the Linux line at 17 June.

  7. William Tiberius Shatner wrote, “There’s some pogson-style twisted reasoning here at work, too. You’re effectively saying that the market share is higher than indicated on the basis that the market share would be higher than indicated if it were sold in stores, but it isn’t, in fact suggesting that the figures aren’t all that inacurate.”

    Nope. That’s not my point at all. Since GNU/Linux is not available on many retail shelves, it’s mainly used institutionally where by policy or firewall or web-cache or unique IP address it is undercounted. StatCounter counts page-views. PCs used in schools are likely not to have many page-views of some of SC’s sites. Same for businesses or governments. Most of those will not be visiting e-commerce sites as much as educational, governmental or business-to-business sites. When I ran schools in the North, I routinely NATed IP addresses and used a web-cache and used whitelist/blacklists so page-views of unproductive sites were way down. Few consumers would do that, except perhaps for kid-filters. Since consumers have a similar number of PCs to businesses there is a huge bias.

  8. William Tiberius Shatner wrote, “” The web stats which mostly reflect consumer usage because of corporate firewalls/security are biased against GNU/Linux”

    Biased against Linux how, exactly? Do you really think there are no Windows workstations behind corporate firewalls?”

    The share of that other OS inside and outside of corporate firewalls are similar while GNU/Linux is almost nonexistant in the hands of consumers. So, the Statcounter data for that other OS is more or less correct while GNU/Linux is shown lower than it is. It’s a zero-sum game of course totalling 100% so that other OS is actually boosted in published share. Also most workers are not paid to browse the web so usage fluctuates by time of day and day of week according to the web stats whereas PCs are not destroyed by working hours. You can see that in numbers for XP. It drops ~10% on weekends because most consumers now have “7” or Vista or MacOS at home whereas GNU/Linux shows little or no weekend variation. “7” also shows very little weekend variation.

  9. William Tiberius Shatner says:

    ” The web stats which mostly reflect consumer usage because of corporate firewalls/security are biased against GNU/Linux”

    Biased against Linux how, exactly? Do you really think there are no Windows workstations behind corporate firewalls?

    ” The web stats which mostly reflect consumer usage because of corporate firewalls/security are biased against GNU/Linux which is still not on retail shelves in some places. ”

    Thiere isn’t enough demand to justify doing it in many places. There’s some pogson-style twisted reasoning here at work, too. You’re effectively saying that the market share is higher than indicated on the basis that the market share would be higher than indicated if it were sold in stores, but it isn’t, in fact suggesting that the figures aren’t all that inacurate.

    “That has changed though. India, China and now the world have GNU/Linux on retail shelves with Canonical’s efforts and Google’s Chromebooks. ”

    This one holds some merrit, possibly. We don’t actually know what’s behind the Great Firwall of China, it very well could be ens of millions of Linux systems. But there’s no numbers to speak of.

    There also could be hundreds of millions of Windows systems, but those hypothetical systems aren’t counted either.

    ” GNU/Linux is at least as relevant globally as MacOS and primed to expand much farther and faster. Even the web stats show GNU/Linux in USA at 2.56% on Statcounter:”

    Your own link shows Linux at 1.81% and MacOSX at 12.62% for the US.

    “M$’s share has dropped to around 75%”

    I see you’re adding up the values shown on the graph. You’ll notice that if you add all that is listed, you only only get about 91%. There’s 9% unaccounted for. I find it curious, don’t you?

    “Remember, M$ used to be 95%+. So, the OS wars are not over and GNU/Linux is doing quite well. ”

    Well in the US at least, it’s explained by an uncommonly large share of the market for Apple.

    Stat counter’s global numbers put Windows (xp/vista/7/8) at ~86%, MacOSX at 7.23%, iOS at 3.87% and Linux at 1.23%

    In both instances what the numbers indicate is that Apple has dented MS’ dominance somewhat, while Linux is well withing the margin of statistical error.

    Linux’s share has increased in both instances, so +1 on that count. But to insinuate that its responsible for the drop in the combined share for Windows is fantasy.

    “So, the OS wars are not over and GNU/Linux is doing quite well”

    I’ll have to agree here, it’s no longer lumped in with “other”, this is a step forward.

    “retailers and consumers finding GNU/Linux works for them and it costs less and comes on a wider variety of hardware.”

    Didn’t you in the same paragraph, opine that Linux isn’t sold in stores in many places? I’d say that a small minority or retailers and consumers find it works for them, which is a good thing, to be sure.

    “Where is the downside? Legacy apps? Very few are using them these days except in business and they are switching to web applications.”

    It depends on what you consider legacy, I suppose. There aren’t really any numbers for the business sector, as corporate workstations tend to be NAT’ed behind corporate firewalls.

    This applies to the consumer sector as well, albeit to a much lesser extent. Take my home as an example:

    2 Windows machines, a mac, two Solaris systems, a Linux system and two iPhones. Everything is behind a NAT. The *nix systems don’t get counted as they don’t access the web.

    There isn’t much to coroborate your claim that business is switching to webapps enb masse. Office and Outlook are huge in the corporate world.

    And it brings us again to what you consider to be “legacy”.

    I never got the fixation in market share anyway. And I never got why Linux advocacy seems to require so much misrepresentation.

    If it works for you in as many ways as you claim it does, you should be able to advocate it without the hyperbole, misrepresentation and wild tangent jumping.

  10. bw says:

    “That’s nonsense.”

    Of course it is. You have a much clearer view of the markets and the business than the product manager for Suse. You have been to the Indian schools in the Canadian territories and have checked the Wal-Mart site in Brazil. He has probably never been there or done that. And the matchrocket agrees with you. Case closed.

  11. matchrocket says:

    Judging by the way some analysts determine how much or how little Linux has taken some portion of the desktop market, it’s possible to have a situation where Linux has conquered nearly all of the desktop market but still shows little gain by their methods.

    “lol, Linux will never get more than 1% of the desktop market. In your dreams FOSS lover.” Trolls are so predictable. To them it will always be 1995.

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