Linux

The market has rejected Linux desktops. Get over it.

Linux has failed to win either mind share or market share on the desktop. Google's Chrome OS will do little to change that. Learn why.

Linux has failed to win either mind share or market share on the desktop. Google's Chrome OS will do little to change that. Learn why.

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I've been running Linux on PCs since 1998, when Red Hat still cared about the desktop and Mandrake was supposed to be the distribution that was going to bring Linux to the masses. That was also about the time that the mainstream media got infatuated with the story of the free operating system from the Finnish hacker that was going to bring down Microsoft Windows.

Spoiler alert: I'm going to give away the ending now. It never happened. In the decade since it was first proclaimed as the "Windows killer," Linux on the desktop has made virtually no progress in real adoption numbers. According to market share trackers (based on real PC activity and not just sales) such Net Applications, StatCounter, W3Counter, and others, the market share of Linux has been hovering around just 1-2% of total PC operating system installations for a decade.

Even in the past two years since the netbook phenomenon began with Linux as its primary OS, Linux market share has failed to make a major jump. The chart below, based on Internet visitors tracked by Net Applications, shows the trajectory of Linux desktop market share over the past 24 months.

Notice that Linux market share got a little bit of a bounce (mostly from netbook sales) in the first half of 2009 but has been dipping since then. Even so, the top line here is the 1% market share threshold, so the peaks and valleys are pretty insignificant when viewed from the perspective of the larger desktop OS market.

Despite this consistent evidence that Linux desktops were going nowhere, pundits, analysts and Linux enthusiasts have been repeatedly predicting that Linux was on the verge of a breakthrough on the desktop. At the end of nearly every year, some writer or publication has prognosticated that the following year would be "The year of the Linux desktop." Here's a quick selection of these Linux prophecies:

Desktop Linux: What happened?

Why hasn't Linux succeeded on the desktop? There are several simple reasons:

  1. It's still too much of a pain - While Ubuntu has made Linux much, much easier, it's still not quite as easy to hook up a new printer, connect a digital camera, or manage your work calendar, for example, as it is on Windows. Plus, on the other end of the spectrum, Mac is even easier than Windows for most tasks and it has the same Unix underpinnings as Linux. As a result, in the last few years a lot of the hard-core techies who are the primary candidates for Linux have instead jumped to Mac OS X as a Windows alternative.
  2. The divide and fail strategy - The energy behind the Linux desktop movement has been divided up between a lot of different players, from Red Hat to SUSE to Ubtuntu to Debian at the software level to hardware players such as IBM and Dell at the PC level. A decade ago, the thought was that the force of Linux attacks from multiple angles would ultimately outflank Microsoft Windows. Instead, it has diffused the force behind Linux and dulled its attack from a marketing perspective.
  3. Not enough innovation - The primary value proposition for Linux is that it's just as good as Windows - or at least "good enough" - and costs a lot less. Occasionally, you'll hear that Linux is more secure or more stable than Windows - which can be true, but that's mostly based on its Unix foundation. But, what innovative features has Linux brought to the world of desktop operating systems? The only one I can think of is the desktop manager / virtual desktop (which Mac OS X eventually adopted as its "Spaces" feature). The technology industry (and the consumers and businesses that support it) are still driven primarily by innovation, and the Linux development community has spent too much time trying to copy Windows and not enough time innovating on its own OS.
  4. Businesses want someone to blame - As my colleague Bill Detwiler says, IT professionals prefer to have someone to point the finger at when critical systems blow up and it leads to lost revenue or productivity. If you have Windows desktops (or even Mac), you've got a big target to point your finger at if you're having a PC software problems, and someone predictable to call to help figure it out. On the other hand, if your IT department went with Linux desktops then you'd be going out on a limb. If something goes wrong - like users losing productivity from incompatible software - the finger could get pointed back at the IT leader who made the decision to take a non-standard Linux approach, since there's no big software vendor to blame it on. In other words, Linux can expose IT leaders to more risk.

What about Google Chrome OS?

Now we've got Google Chrome OS being hailed as the latest savior of the Linux desktop. Google is taking a very different approach than Ubuntu or SUSE. The search giant is taking its Chrome Web browser and turning it into Web-only OS that will boot instantly, rely solely on Web apps, and drastically minimize local storage.

The Chrome OS will technically have Linux as its foundational software but it will not allow users to install Linux applications or even get to the Linux command line. It will be a non-standard, custom Linux kernel that serves only to boot the Google Chrome Web browser as quickly as possible.

Chrome OS is an intriguing concept and it will be one of the first big tests of the extent to which consumers and businesses are ready to accept the paradigm shift to cloud computing. However, it's a concept that's probably still several years ahead of its time and unlikely to make a major impact on the PC market in 2010. It's also a little spurious to call Chrome OS part of the Linux desktop movement since the only thing it really does for Linux is to strip it down and get it out of the way.

Bottom line

It's time to stop all of the misguided predictions about Linux becoming a force on the desktop. That ship has sailed. The masses don't want it. Businesses don't want it. Even Google can't change that.

Linux is still building major momentum in servers and mobile devices. In the data center, Linux is replacing lots of Unix servers and is more than holding its own head-to-head against Windows servers. In mobile, Linux quietly serves as the underpinning for both Google Android and Palm webOS, the two platforms that pose the biggest challenge to the incumbents in the smartphone market. However, on the desktop, it's time to just admit that the market has rejected Linux.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

402 comments
limws
limws

Try setting up wireless networking on Ubuntu 9.10 and you'll know why the market reject Linux.

clarkg
clarkg

"The masses don't want it", only because the "masses" don't know about it. Desktop Linux for home users would stop 99% of their current problems with viruses and spyware. Applications are no problem. "Businesses don't want it"? That's just false. Many businesses are using Linux for servers, virtualization, etc. They will use it more on the desktop when they learn to run their "Windows only" client-server apps on a terminal server. The cost of keeping corporate Windows desktops secure is way beyond acceptable.

AlexTech08
AlexTech08

Yeah, really getting tired of this whole idea from the Windows-based-IT community that we should all just give up on Linux. The battle is not yet over. Get over THAT.

TNT
TNT

Rather than touting the death of Linux on the desktop I think it might be more acurate to say the market continues to reject Linux on the desktop. That may not always be the case. I completely agree that in the past Linux usability was nowhere for the average consumer. My parents don't know what a "kernel" is, much less how to recompile one. But I was so impressed with the strides made by the most recent version of Ubuntu that I wrote in the forums that I'm finally coming around to Linux ( http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-7343-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=321390&messageID=3203563&alertspromo=100901&tag=nl.rCOMBINED ) I agree it is unlikely Linux will displace Windows on the desktop, but I am unwilling to say Linux on the desktop is dead. Maybe just "mostly dead". ;-) I also agree that Linux needs to innovate, however it was completely necessary for them to copy Windows in several regards so that users will have a better idea of how to us the desktop OS. I believe this latest release of Ubuntu does that. It is the most complete, most user-friendly edition of Linux I've ever used, and it deserves attention. Now that you can plug in many USB devices and they are recognized and installed as automatically as it is under Windows, it is time to begin innovating. Finally, I agree that most businesses will not turn to Linux largely do to the support model. However, Linux being used in irregular industries, such as restaurant terminals, may end up with a desktop Linux computer in the managers office keeping an eye on all those Linux based cash registers and waitress stations.

jlwallen
jlwallen

First and foremost, the term market share means: "The percentage or proportion of the total available market or market segment that is being serviced by a company." First: As Linux does not come from ONE COMPANY you would have to sum up all Linux distributions into one, such that the term Linux no longer applied (and shouldn't apply anyway) to a single distribution. Second: It is impossible to place a number or percentage to the amount of Linux desktops/servers out there. Why? Because there is no way to calculate. With Windows it's simple: Sales. With Linux there are no sales so you would have to do the following, in order to get a reasonable number: 1. Poll every PC user alive. 2. Find out if they use Linux for A) Desktop and/or B) Server 3. Find out just how many instances of Linux they currently have running. 4. Do the same for businesses large and small. 5. Total up the numbers. 6. Calculate how much of the "market share" Linux has. It won't happen because no one can do that. Oh sure pundits and Microsoft can toss off the fact that Microsoft "owns" the market share on the desktop. OF COURSE THEY CAN, because they don't have to worry about comparing their numbers to the amount of instances of Linux. Let's see...in my home alone I have roughly 7 instances of Linux. Are those counted in any Linux "market share" calculation? No. Why? Well, let's start off by saying I downloaded a single ISO and put that onto 4 PCs. I then downloaded another ISO and placed it on 3 PCs. That's 7 pcs when I only downloaded 2 ISOs. You see how impossible it would be to measure? Personally I think market share is used, with regards to operating systems, as a tactic no unlike good ol' FUD. I can only imagine people in conference rooms saying "Hey, they can't prove we're wrong, so let's just go for it!" Market share is a term for the past, back when Clouds and Virtualization weren't part of the equation and no one but geeks and nerds were using Linux. But now us nerds and geeks have been joined by the masses in using Linux and distributions are being virtualized left and right. That's my take.

jlwallen
jlwallen

I have only had problems with one laptop and Ubuntu - and that problem was because the card wasn't supported. So I installed Mandriva 2010 and have had Zero problems. As with everything in Linux - there is a way.

thoiness
thoiness

People would be protected until the market share leaned in the direction of Linux and virus writers went to town on their Operating System. Honestly, *if* I was a hacker, I'd much rather work on an open source operating system than a closed one. When everything is exposed publicly, it's a little less of a challenge...

thoiness
thoiness

A person who hasn't heard of Linux? All your examples are thin clients to host Microsoft platforms. That kind of nullifies using "Linux as a client" if they are still in reality using windows, don't you think?

jhoward
jhoward

When I throw my aunts and uncles in front of a Linux desktop they think it is a Mac and get all excited. When I tell them it is Linux they say "what program is that?" and suddenly become wary. I believe that the term "market share" is a joke in this case because as you eluded to there is no one advertising a Linux desktop except for other Linux users. Casual home users would probably be very happy with Linux Desktop right now however the usual killers for Linux (and Mac as well) still apply - PC games and ease of telecommuting from your home PC(or Mac)/Laptop. Sorry but terminal services is not the answer as the TCO on terminal services is ridiculous.

celerITas
celerITas

if the majority of desktop users (home and/or corporate) migrated to Linux and away from Windows, would the virus writers continue trying to breach Windows vulnerabilities? No, they would shift their attention to the most widely adopted desktop platform. This would mean that the development communities would have to respond a darn sight more quickly to patching Linux vulnerabilities than they currently are able to and I doubt they could do that and still maintain the 'free' status most Linux distros currently enjoy. That Linux attracts such a limited audience and therefore is largely ignored by malware writers is to its advantage. When dreaming of Linux displacing Windows as the desktop platform of choice, Linux fans should be careful of what they wish for.

steve
steve

I put Ubuntu on one of my PCs the other day. Didn't like it, so I took it off. I wonder how many other people are saying that? All you Linux fanatics can immediately say 'What didn't you like about it' and then bore me senseless on how it's just as good as Windows if not better, but I just tune you out. If I dont like it then it goes. The mass market wont go for Linux unless it comes pre-installed on their next new PC, and that just isn't going to happen. Even if a brave manufacturer put it on to give it a try just watch all those Linux boxes sitting unsold on the shelves. People will buy what they're used to, and that isn't Linux. Unless they can find a Killer App that only runs on Linux then the mass market will always ignore it. Linux? A bit like Anal Sex --tried it, didn't like it. ;-)

zerg1961
zerg1961

Get over it mate, the world is changing and more and more people are looking choice and quality, it's people like you who show just how limited their knowledge of other OS's, I went to a Doctor just Like last night, big smart arse Quack, and now reading you're comments shows you have a lot in common. Your comments prove just how much you don't know, not the opposite. By the way I now install Ubuntu on 80% of all personal machines I sell, or upgrade. Finally there are operating systems people can afford, and software, that's cause it's free. People don't care what OS they use, get over it,

Sparticus_123
Sparticus_123

Even Napoleon knew when to surrender. On but be of good cheer France still exists.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

But some of us are just as tired of hearing "-THIS- will be the year Linux explodes onto the desktop!" Every year Linux supporters make this assertion, and they wind up trying to break Microsoft's fists with their bills. Linux is a wonderfully adaptive OS, well suited for a variety of uses. It fits some of those uses better than others. I can use a spoon to cut meat, but there are better tools. The battle may not be over, but maybe it's time to silence the unsupported assertions until they can be supported.

techadmin.cc
techadmin.cc

Of course, you made the point already that Linux has to be familiar to the user. People have grown accustomed to things working in particular ways and even if innovative new ways of doing things are found people will reject them for being unfamiliar. But some things just make sense the way they are already done... Noone faulted the other car manufacturers for copying Ford did they? Automobiles have a familiar interface to one another don't they? How difficult would it be if each of the car manufacturers had to come up with a new and innovative interface. This is why software “look and feel” patents stifle competition and innovation. By forcing other developers to find new and innovative ways of doing things that are already working well in a familiar way holders of large patent portfolios like MS can maintain monopolies over markets by preventing interoperability and creating user lock in. Linux and other Open Source software would have a much larger market share if it weren't for MS near monopoly.

kingcomputing
kingcomputing

Here's my 2 cents worth... While working mainly as as a UNIX support analyst in 99, I loaded Corel Linux in a dual boot and said that if I can do everything I need to do with it on a daily basis, I would switch. WordPerfect was included so I had high hopes but alas, I couldn't find a Linux based dialer program that stored a directory of all my clients' dial-up modem numbers,passwords etc. so I had to continue to use Win98 / 2000. Today, 10 years later, I use OpenOffice, Firefox and Thunderbird regularly but on Windows Vista (soon to be Win7). Runs fast with a Quad core CPU and 4 GB ram. If it was just those apps required I could run on almost any Linux but this is not the case as I need BlackBerry Desktop Manager (most important - with Outlook by copying TBird address book into Outlook and syncing), Simply Accounting, QuickBooks, TeamViewer (MAC or windows)... I do use both VMWare and VirtualBox for playing with new OS's but find it a pain to use on a regular basis. Now if only the Nokia N900 (or any other smartphone) would run ThunderBird then I would have a simple backup / restore to update and may be able to make the move but there always seems to be something stopping me.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

retail sales, and since the majority of Linux users do not make retail purchases from sources used to compile such figures - well, enough said. Some market share stats are compiled by polling systems as to what OS they have, yet many Linux users turn such systems off or disable them, which is very hard to do in Windows. If you go by the total number of computerised systems world wide using Linux, then MS are dead in the water, as the vast majority of embedded systems in white goods, household goods, manufacturing equipment, etc use Linux now, and have done for many years -- how many cell phones run on Windows, last I heard, none. Also, the few times very accurate checks of servers have been done, the answers show people favour Linux and Unix for stability and longer up time. MS has a strong control of the Desktop market simply because they have the major makers of computers for the retail market (DELL, HP, Toshiba, etc.) in their hip pockets and coerce them to put Windows on their systems and not offer Linux for all their systems as an option. Even then, many of their systems with Linux on them have the cost of a Windows licence buried in the price - just so they can meet their contract requirements, with MS, of the correct percentage of sales of Windows licences sold - and they count to the Windows market sales too.

drowningnotwaving
drowningnotwaving

"Market Share" is one of the factors, as Jason said, for directing the revenues of companies to support it as a viable alternative or otherwise. It is naive to think that this is not a very important parameter in where clients and suppliers choose to invest their money. Your assertion that market share can only be measured by an accurate count of every single user is not only wrong, it's just very silly. Sorry. I'd guess there are 10,000 or more books and research articles you could read to improve your knowledge in this area if you want.

thoiness
thoiness

It comes from polling users on the internet across hundreds of thousands of sites and through ISPs. Much like polling throughout the world to get global statistics does not take into account EVERY HUMAN on planet earth, it does give a sample that gives us a good idea. It's not "market share" as in stock market, it is just an improper term being used to show percentage of users statistics while performing common tasks (most people access the internet on a daily basis).

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

to describe the distribution of operating systems across desktop / laptop computers? 'According to market share trackers (based on real PC activity and not just sales) such Net Applications, StatCounter, W3Counter, ..." Do your seven systems access the Internet? If they do, they're going to be counted as seven individual installations. I agree distribution downloads can't be compared with Windows / OS X sales; both assume the OS wasn't replaced with something else. I've downloaded distributions at least three times and purchased one. None of them are in use. Internet activity would seem to me to be the best measure available. Where are these masses that are using Linux on the desktop? Proprietary software developers apparently don't think they're a viable market.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

You knew I was going to say that. :-)

reggaethecat
reggaethecat

Replacing your OS with an entirely different one to get around a buggy driver isn't an acceptable solution though, is it? There should be ONE desktop Linux, all developers should pools their skills and resources and just fix all the bugs and omissions in Ubuntu. Do that for a year and it should be perfect. Then they can start innovating. Until then I will use my Mac which just works. I had to pay over the odds but I don't have to spend hours trying to get things to work correctly which should work out of the box.

techadmin.cc
techadmin.cc

Why don't you try it then. Should be easy. You don't have to write anything malicious how about just a proof of concept virus or exploit. Because, you know, I just bet not many people tried it. Of course, all of the MS viruses and exploits throughout history were written entirely for profit.

techadmin.cc
techadmin.cc

All the time. If you connect your Windows PC to the internet you are, in reality, using Linux don't you think?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Given the current times between bug report and distributed patch, they are stomping all over the proprietary distributions. So far, exploitable vulnerabilities amount to "proof of concept" for something that needs to be fixed right away and right away, it's fixed. The vendor doesn't dillydally for months while running a PR strategy to direct attention away from the product and/or platform. Chances are good that with more focus, more things will be found but the difference is not in how many vulns are found by bad people but how long those vulns remain affective by lack of provided patch. When Microsoft brings there patch times and transparency into the same league as FOSS, we'll have more of a basis for discussion.

ronan-the-barbarian
ronan-the-barbarian

--no big difference, except that it's a little bit harder to penetrate the market.;)

mustangj36
mustangj36

and you can't get more mass marketed than that. Sure, they sold a few thousand units, probably because they were cheaper than any Windows pc in the store, but not enough to justify reordering. After a few months they moved all remaining stock from the stores and made them web only sales and then they just disappeared. Never saw any return figures but I imagine there were some. The point is, the masses want computers that are easy to use and that they are familiar with and, 9 times out of 10, that's a Windows pc. Microsoft established Windows as the OS for the masses years ago. How they did it is unimportant. You MS haters can gnash your teeth and rend your garments all you want but it won't change anything. Even the Vista disaster won't sway a significant number of computer users away from Windows. Linux isn't going to go away so there's no need to take up weapons in it's defence but just please stop getting so po'd that you can't convince others to adopt it. Live and let live.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Linux? A bit like Anal Sex --tried it, didn't like it." Maybe you should try the other side of the transaction :D

TNT
TNT

If you didn't like it, then it makes sense to not use it. I give Linux a chance about once every year to prove its usefulness to me, and in the past it never hit the mark. But this year it did, at least for my netbook. It still isn't able to replace Windows on my desktop, but on my second device I've very happy with it. My point is, don't give up. Take another look at it next Fall and see what's improved. Like me, you may be very surprised.

TNT
TNT

I'm the same way. I'm too tied to Adobe applications to be able to switch to Linux on my primary PC. But on my netbook, its a great solution.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

one used by certain US lobby groups back in the 1920s to justify the introduction of the legislation totally prohibiting the manufacture, sale, and consumption of alcohol. They had all these stats to prove it was the right thing to do as the majority of the population were in favour; yet, after it was introduced the majority of the population immediately broke the laws. Despite the exact numbers of violators being unknown, the most reasonable estimates put the illegal users as being between 80 to 95% of the population. I'm not saying the Windows market share stats are out by that much, but that they have very major discrepancies in them, and some of the valid stats are due simply to MS using their money to manipulate the market in their favour via unfair means like coercing hardware manufacturers to build with Windows in mind and not industry standards.

Ole Man
Ole Man

There you have it. Another wild guess, exactly like Windows "market share".

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

to the number of systems set to show as something else. Many versions of Linux allow you to set your system to say it's Windows, and you can also set Firefox to say it's Internet Explorer - if you choose to do either of them. I found I had to use the Firefox capability a few times as I found some web sites that would only respond if they thought your system was using Microsoft Internet Explorer, and since that only works on a Windows system they think you have a Windows system.

techadmin.cc
techadmin.cc

Can they tell the difference between the linux systems behind my router? Are my Linux systems serialized with a unique identifier that can be counted individually and accurately?

kirovs
kirovs

Wonder how he came with that number and what you have to say about it? Oh and proprietary software developers do develop for Linux. And recently- more so.

mjc5
mjc5

Tools. While we all talk about "market share" as if it is some sort of awesome metric of worth, we get a little wrapped around the axle for no good reason. Computers are tools, no more and no less. I use my PC's for what they are good at, I use my Macs for what they do well, and for Linux, I mostly use it on a laptop to learn about Linux. Which I don't think is even the point of th earticle. Point is, Linux Fanbois have been preaching the year of the desktop for over a decade now. I use Linux, like it, and I doubt it will ever be widely adopted. Who cares?

jlwallen
jlwallen

how can any browser detection software work when there are tools like the User Agent switcher that masquerade a Linux browser as a Windows browser? many users take advantage of such tools just to get around lazy web devs coding for only one browser.

Slayer_
Slayer_

First one: Dang, you found the one device that doesn't have a driver :(. All my ancient 95 and 3.1 printers work just fine in XP with built in drivers AND when installing the Win95 drivers. Cannon BJC4300. So i just cannot relate to your problem. This same printer did not work correctly under Mandriva or Unbuntu or Mint. @ Deadly I already checked, my hardware will work fine in newer and older versions of Windows. I only buy from respected manufactures. Even my sound card, a sound blaster, has a Vista/W7 driver long before either OS was even released. The only hardware I have that doesn't work in XP/Vista/W7, also doesn't work under any nix distro (So I'm told by the gurus). So its a meaningless argument to me.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

designed the hardware to work off the industry standard command sets and then wrote a driver for the Windows operating system they're aiming for. But, no, they bow to the MS demand of making it out of the box compatible with the current version of Windows, so it won't be compatible with the other operating systems who use the Industry Standards.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

the accepted standards. Have fun when that same hardware doesn't work with your next version of Windows because MS has changed their command set again. And don't complain then either.

Ole Man
Ole Man

There is no driver for an HP Scanjet 4200C in XP and above. However, any version of Linux that I have used recognizes and uses it easily. See? One can find examples of nonexistant drivers for most any hardware in particular OSs. Anecdotal evidence proves nothing, other than occasionally proving that the user doesn't know what he/she is doing. So the answer to your question is yes. If you have Windows XP installed and want to use an Hp 4200C Scanjet, install a different version of Windows (namely, Windows 98). Edit: Since I received the "you have reached your maximum limit" message in this thread, I wanted to reply to SinisterSlay's retort below, "So its a meaningless argument to me." Well, you introduced the argument, so what you are saying is that your own argument is meaningless. I have to agree with you on that point. (of course I realize this means nothing to you, sinister boy, since EVERYTHING works for you in ALL your Windoze versions, and NOTHING works for you in ANY Linux distro. You are ONE unique individual.)

techadmin.cc
techadmin.cc

In Linux you can either install the driver from the other distribution (that works) or you can use the distribution that works with your hardware. Vista drivers don't work with XP... your only option is to install another OS. ISA cards and serial printers? Many of the modern distros have dropped support for older hardware... a move that was hotly debated. Its surprising that XP and W7 has support for them. Most of the XP and Vista era machines don't even have an ISA bus many systems now don't have a serial interface either. At any rate, I believe it is a bit much to call a modern OS pathetic because it does not support hardware out of the box, when modern PC's don't even support the hardware architecture. Ubuntu does not equal Linux. It is, in fact, one of the more resource intensive Linuxes I have used but it screams on hardware where Vista chokes and dies. As far as compared to XP, yes, it does require more RAM. And I have recently found some tweeks that, amazingly, developers don't seem to recognize are better suited for desktop use which makes the UI more snappy. I don't like Ubuntu's obesity, but I do use an Ubuntu derivative (Linux Mint) where I have at least 512MB RAM and a 2GHZ processor (but preferably 1GB RAM). With only 512MB RAM Linux Mint is slow and becomes quickly loaded compared to XP. But Linux Mint is really more comparable to Vista... actually Vista can't even touch it. I only wish I had the system specs Vista machines come standard with these days. I normally prefer a snappier interface than Linux Mint. But Linux Mint, with multiple workspace management that blows Mac OSX out of the water for usability; Compiz-Fusion which is not just eye candy but a real productivity booster with window management features for windows on multiple desktops and the screen magnifier (and other features for the visually impaired) which beats the $1,000.00 third party app I have installed and supported on clients Windows systems; and Gnome-do speed launcher, I find a second or two lag time and the occasional disk swapping it does on my 1GB system to be very tolerable. But RAM is relatively cheap and my meager six year old notebook already puts my sister's, last year's Vista Notebook to shame. Btw, way when my desktop began crash rebooting due to hardware failure I migrated my entire operating environment from the desktop to this laptop with absolutely no hardware driver or licensing/WPA issues. After copying the partition data to a USB backup drive and onto the notebook I setup the grub boot loader and all Linux Oses worked perfectly. (I'm running 6 of them, 5 for testing purposes) Windows XP, sadly, didn't survive the transfer. I had to install a new copy, losing years of installed and configured apps some of which, though I rarely use, I was hanging onto for when I might need them again. I recently took possession of an HP server with a dual core 64bit processor. The SATA drive from my previous system booted straight up in it all Linuxes running fine except I need 3D acceleration support for onboard video for Compiz-Fusion or else I may need a new AGP video as the ATI All-in-Wonder card from my old system is incompatible. I haven't tried my XP install yet as it is setup for the TV card and I will likely want to find another system to run it in so there's no point trying to boot it on this hardware.

Slayer_
Slayer_

And if there wasn't, should we install a different version of Windows? Funny how the double standard with linux works. The solution to every linux problem seems to be installing a different distro. I tried Ubuntu once, it couldn't detect my SB16 AWE64 ISA card, and it couldn't detect how to use a seriel printer Cannon BJC 4300. XP and W7 detected both and installed fine from the box.... pathetic. Also side note, XP was 1000 times faster than Ubuntu was. The difference was truely staggering

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It'd take a lot of work to get OpenGL up to the full cradle that DX provides.

techadmin.cc
techadmin.cc

more a matter of don't know any better don't want to learn any better or sometimes don't have any other choice. At least with Linux there are choices, Learn how to install the driver that works (since there obviously is one) or install a different distro. So what are your options if there isn't a Windows driver? Install another OS.

Slayer_
Slayer_

That's got to be right up there with ending world hunger :). But seriously though, that would help immensely. That and DirectX addiction.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Currently, Windows drivers are developed before the release date of the hardware. Developers have interface specs long ahead of launch date. They get to build and test the drivers so on launch day they can go "see, our new hardware and here's the driver disk." At this point, non-Windows platforms gain access to the hardware through retail shelves and can start developing drivers finally. If they are lucky, the developers will get interface specs or other information from the vendor but they'll be mostly left out in the cold. Imagine if hardware interface specs went out to the developer teams at the same time. Windows and non-Windows platforms can both support the hardware at launch time. No more gaining support for new hardware six months after the Windows drivers are available. I don't think that alone would make the difference. Equality in hardware support would be enough for me personally. Between application brand names and politics (user and business), there are other things to consider. But, on the hardware issue alone, how might platform benefits shift without an imposed lag for support on one?

Slayer_
Slayer_

It seems to be the common solution. That and they always try to use their trump card of how XP doesn't naturally support the drivers either. Always somehow forgetting that XP is a 9 year old operating system. I rather enjoy the insult that people would rather use a 9 year old security broken system, then use any distro of Linux.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I believe that particular movie was the first vilified use of "hacker" meaning inherent ill intent. From that point on, the media has used the movie word to scare readers into buying news papers. Between computer history and Hacker community focusing productively on hacking all areas of interest even when unrelated to computers or technology I think it's important to remember the term's original meaning and common usage among those who know hackerdom form the inside. (to hack; to understand in deep detail)

techadmin.cc
techadmin.cc

Most of what you are referring to are from script kiddies and the bottom feeders who only exploit known vulnerabilities AFTER they've been made public but before they are patched. There are also the elite who hack because it was said that it couldn't be done. in Open Source they are working for the community rather than against it. There is a reward in identifying a security vulnerability or bug and helping to fix it. Often hackers who have tried to report the problems found with Closed Source software found themselves facing charges rather than being given credit for helping identify or even solve a problem. Where's the motivation for helping resolve an issue with some giant corporation's code so that they can make greater profits and might likely prosecute you for hacking their software or system? (Large software corporations lobbied to have laws passed that make it illegal to hack their proprietary code, regardless of intent.) Gee, I wonder why MS gets hacked? There are hundreds of thousands of “hackers” working for the Open source community to make it better. They “hack” the code as much as Windows code gets “hacked”. The difference is that their efforts are recognized and are used to make the software better and are not seen as villainous. Actually, the “hackers” that reveal exploits on the Windows platform are performing the exact same service where MS gets the opportunity to improve their code once weakness and exploits are revealed only the “hackers” are vilified. Remember the incident you refered to about the Mac getting hacked so quickly? Obviously done through a known exploit (to the hacker at least). Considering the undeniable security vulnerabilities in MS products (just look at the descriptions on the various critical updates) you cannot imagine that MS products would be secure if the exploits weren't made known. It can be hacked in 15 seconds, as you say, from most of these exploits (even less). So isn't it strange that when exploits are found verified and then patched the same type of people, “hackers”, are treated much differently in the way they are viewed by the world depending on which platform they focus their efforts. And for those that write the malware exploiting weaknesses in MS systems they seem to find no end to new ones even as the old ones are found and fixed. And windowsg XP grew from less than 1GB base install to over 2GB from all of these patches and require faster machines to run now because of a bloated and patched OS and still the exploits keep coming. Go to sourceforge and look at how many “hackers” are working to improve Linux. (If you are wondering why I keep putting the word “hackers” in quotes it is because before the media took it and applied a negative connotation to the term, it belonged to coders and developers. It had no nefarious meaning.) You say no one would spend time trying to find and exploit weaknesses in an OS with only 1% market share? Maybe its because all the coders are instead working to improve it rather than exploit its weaknesses. Why would so many “hackers” work so hard to improve FOSS software that runs on only 1% of computers is the better question. I'm guessing there are a lot more “hackers' working for FOSS than there are against MS though I admit it would be hard to measure statistics on that. But those who posses a lick of common sense would be inclined to agree with such a statement.

thoiness
thoiness

So count yourself as superior to 99% of the world's population. How humble of you. And so "enlightened" as well :p

Ole Man
Ole Man

Yeah, don't go to sleep in the middle of the road and you won't get run over. Who wants to follow the herd over the cliff to enter the Gates of green pastures? Why, the majority of course!

thoiness
thoiness

To vandalize and for fun, the adventure of irritating the MAJORITY of OS users in the United States... Key in on that MAJORITY thing... There might be a simple explanation for why yours isn't constantly attacked.

techadmin.cc
techadmin.cc

were linspire, formally Lindows. Even Linux people didn't like those. The applications had to be purchased from the repository. Walmart basically sold PC's that were niether appealing to windows or linux users. It had none of the advantages of either OS. I think this example hardly counts as an attempt at mass marketing of Linux.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

- Microsoft's update stats for actually active and maintained Windows installs compared to license sales. - Apple's update stats for actually active and maintained osX isntalls compared to unit sales. - Each separate distribution's install count verified by ongoing use. The first, MS isn't going to release. They know it but it's not going to be publicly discussed unless it support MS marketing message. The second can expect a much higher sold to used ratio due to Apple's hardware product and tight control over osX; hackintosh counts would be interesting though. I combine these two because they are both retail channels which already have metrics that business will recognize and analysts who know the real statistics internally. That third one though... Personal privacy is valued in the community so you'll only get volunteer reports of usage. The libre delivery channels will still muck with figures; how many times is one downloaded burned to disks for install, how are VMs accounted for and so on. One can stick to the top five or ten distributions if they want and you'll still end up understating figures. If you limit it to retail figures then you've got Red Hat and a few others doing server rooms but not much more than Novell, Connonical and Mandriva without going to specialized distros like Engaurd Secure Linux. As you mentioned, web browsing stats are suspect at best though they have a higher potential for accuracy than vendor provided sales stats. What I'd love to see is a breakdown of usage. Sure, it'll be MS on top, Apple in the middle, various Linux based distros next and "other" at the end still. It would give true and usable information though. I want to see the different Windows versions, osX versions, top ten Linux based distros and the BSDs broken out by percentage of hardware category. Be sure the figures also account for multiple OS on the same hardware or VM. Those would be very interest figures to look at with the marketing spin and business politics cropped out of the analysis.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

percentages that I've seen the sources on have been so unreliable that a comparison as I did IS in order, although I'm sure the error rate is not as high as the prohibition ones were. In the past couple of years the people putting out the use of Windows stats have provide the following (in the few instances where I've seen them): 1. Now sources at all - the most common option. 2. Retail computer sales figures for systems with an OS loaded - a well duh case, since the vast majority of retail computer sales are by MS partners who load Windows on over 99% of their systems for sale. 3. Figures gathered from web sites catching information, via activities like Google Analytics, on visitors. This is the least often quoted, and the one most open to false data provision by the actual user. 4. They quote figures on total machines sold, compared to Windows licences sold. Considering the way MS pressure people into buying new licences when they don't need to, this has got to be the most corrupted method. In regards to this, I recently saw a second hand Dell for sale, it had four Windows licence stickers on it - a Win 2000 and three Win XP stickers. I checked up on it's history with the company selling it. The original owner, a medium business, bought it with Win 2000; a little later they swapped all their systems over to Win XP when they had to replace most of them and could only get XP, so the few ones not replaced got a new OS installed; then the lot were sold five years later and the new owner got told he had to buy new XP licences as the licences were not transferable (that's what the MS EULA says, but the law here says they can be transferred); and the shop selling it now had to put a new licence on because he believed the EULA too. MS claims this as four computers with Windows on them, when the reality is it's one computer with four licences. ..................... Until someone does a reliable survey of every current PC user, we won't get a true answer on this - and that survey is never going to happen either.

santeewelding
santeewelding

You have not been deadly. You go from an understanding -- one that jibes with my own of Prohibition statistics -- to commonplace tripe.

drowningnotwaving
drowningnotwaving

... when your argument is in such a black hole that you are unable to defend with fact and reference? I'll remember to use when I too am an Ole Man and can happily fall back on dotage and grumbling. If I remember, of course.

Ole Man
Ole Man

further over your head than the contrail of a C5A. And thankfully the judge of who is the fool will be of somewhat higher stature than yourself. Just a little something for me to know and you to find out.

drowningnotwaving
drowningnotwaving

... are you talking about??? 18,000 errors??? [i]"Not one of them a totally correct measurement?[/i] You read a statistically valid range of those papers and articles to make such a determination? And in the same thread you question other people's technique? See ya, fool.

Ole Man
Ole Man

And not one of them a totally correct measurement. 18,000 errors make not a correct result. As pointed out several times previously.

drowningnotwaving
drowningnotwaving

Google the following string: Measuring Intangible Market Share ... and you get around 700,000 hits. So let's be a bit nore specific and try this: "Measuring Market Share","Market Research" ...and there are 18,000 to begin with. The previous writer's assertion re the measurement of market share is simply incorrect. edit: to make the process a bit more thorough.

Ole Man
Ole Man

No one has an inkling how many Linux installations are in use (never mind "market share"). One can only make a wild guess. Marketing share is just FUD spewed by Microsoft and their disciples.

kirovs
kirovs

If you have one IP (I assume this is the case) it really depends on the data analysis. You are most probably counted as 1. My 2 linux boxes and 1 laptop+1 netbook are also counted as 1. It is interesting what happens when I use my only WinXP license running in a VM. Probably I am also part of the MS marketshare?!

kirovs
kirovs

MS posted 18% lower revenue, citing increased competition and less revenue on lower price of Win XP licenses. Translated- we give these licenses dirt cheap so we can muscle Linux out of the netbook market (not quite working). There are several paragraphs on Linux bringing revenue down and penetrating the market in their financial statements, you can find those yourself- just go to the annual filings. That is by the way very strong message directly from MS that the original post is plain wrong.

mendtodd
mendtodd

I've been reading this thread thinking the same thing. Operating Systems are like religion, what works for one person may not work for another. It's also disappointing to see IT professionals resorting to some of the immature flaming you would see in an AOL environment. It's my humble opinion that: Having some knowledge in Mac OS, Windows & Linux and understanding each O/S's strengths and weaknesses is an assest. In my experience I'm seeing more and more cross platform situations in a network.

Glenn from Iowa
Glenn from Iowa

Very well put. However, the statement in my subject line is only true until support vanishes for the platform. I doubt that is in the near future for Linux on the desktop, but one might have thought that of Novell NetWare on servers at one time. In the late 90s, some would have said the market has rejected the Mac. It hasn't (yet?) become the "Windows killer," but Apple found its niche, leveraged its innovation, and thrives today, despite having a minimal market share in the OS market. As long as servers and desktops continue to be more similar than dissimilar, and Linux continues to be supported on servers, Linux should have support on the desktop.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Well, maybe Chrome OS will be. What's a 'Linux broswer' or a 'Microsoft broswer'? Excluding IE, the other popular browsers are available for Windows, OS X, and *nix. Ignore the reporting of browser numbers; look at the OS numbers. Are you saying User Agent and the like are faking the OS along with the browser type?

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