“There are dozens of reasons why people have underestimated how quickly Linux has been grabbing Windows’ market share. Windows starts out with a false boost and maintains its illusory market share even as it gets replaced by Linux. In 2004, don’t be surprised when Linux overtakes Windows to become the main focus for developers.” Read the editorial at LinuxWorld.
Debunking the Linux-Windows Market-Share Myth
Submitted by Nathan Kelley 2003-03-16 Rumors 43 Comments
that is pure crap.
It’s all statistics. You can fiddle the numbers any way you want. For instance: developers of what? I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more developers writing open source code for Linux than for Windows next year. And most embedded developers don’t program for either.
the conclusions drawn from the statistics presented look flawed.
*wonders whether he should be openly cynical about a survey which proves the pet theory of the person conducting the survey*
I’m a huge Linux fan, but these statistics are just laughable. Even in servers where linux is strongest, they won’t be in the majority until sometime in 2007-2009 assuming present trends hold… a big if, I doubt MSFT will go without a fight. And the desktop? Forget it, MSFT is king, and will be king for a very long time. So what are we talking about? Embedded? Please. This article is crap – and I say that as a linux fanatic.
Man, that guy is way off target.
I work as a business analyst for a fortune 500 company, and if I ever went to a meeting with that sort of presentation I would be laughed out of the room and asked to have my desk cleaned out by the end of the day.
It just does not add up…
As an analyst you have to be a realist. There is no room to be an optimist if you want to be acurate. As I can appreciate that he is so optimistic, but let’s get real.
Show me your work man…
How many of you actually read pass page one? And note, the author never said in 2004 Linux would be king of the desktop, he said it would be common among developers. In page two, he actually come up with very good points on why Linux market share is still low….
I doubt Microsoft would give Linux a hard time. As long they officially end their monopoly, get DOJ off their backs and still maintain a good growing profit, they are happy. On the other hand, if Linux starts to threaten the last (good growing profit) like they did for servers, they would react.
” I work as a business analyst for a fortune 500 company, and if I ever went to a meeting with that sort of presentation I would be laughed out of the room and asked to have my desk cleaned out by the end of the day. ”
I don’t know, they might just keep you around as the guy who “mixes things up” around the office, keeping people entertained with the best business-jokes around.
Piont taken…maybe a bit off topic, but it was used to support my main theme.:-)
When it comes to money and profit projections, they usually prefer you not “mix things up”. They do not want to be entertained, they wnat make more money. Greedy b*s*ards!!
He states that windwos market share is estimated by the number of copies of windows sold. He also buys into the “people can install Linux on more than one machine” thing. Well what about the _many_ pirated copies of windows installed on more than one machine? What about me, who has a stack of copies of Linux that are currently not even installed on any machine?
For me it all comes down to the Google Zeitgeist (http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.html) if that linux number ever hits 2% I will be impressed.
It has been stuck at 1% for as long as I can remember. For me this shows that only a very small fraction of users WORLDWIDE are using linux.
But what do I know….
Pirating Windows = Illegal.
Pirating Linux = In many cases, no such thing.
For many distributions, “casual piracy” is allowed, btw.
Oh please…. while Google is the most used search engine, it is hardly the best place to survey from. Not many people use Google excessively…
Whats interesting is that Win98 is still at 37%. That means that 37% of people out there are using an unstable OS, which means there is an opportunity for Mac, or whoever to grab some of that when these people eventually do by a new computer even if it is only when their PC dies.
<sarcasm>All<sarcasm> thats needed is a few OEM agreements and PC’s in best buy.
Also what is interesting is the other category. Has 4% been stable over the years or has that been growing?
Pirating Windows = Illegal.
Just because it is not legal does mean they were never installed. Let me get this right, piracy is immoral, paying money to someone to make an exact replica of someone else’s product is not immoral. I’m glad we’ve cleared this up.
And BTW, what do you think most people do with the Wal-Mart Microtel systems they buy?
Also, since just about all the Linux users I know use google, I think it’s a firly valid problem that Zeitgeist only shows linux as 1% of it’s page hit statistics.
The people who use Google more excessively IMHO are Windows users. For people I know personally, it is normally those who actually use Google for *real work* – research and stuff, as oppose to getting help or finding a lost URL.
wow, that was one of the most insane things I have read in a long time.
Ryan R, i looked at the second page for a moment, but i read less and less as i went down through. He’s nuts.
Andrew G, win98 is only bad for some people. For many it’s perfectly fine and acceptible. Things like crashes don’t bother everyone. Not everyone things something must never crash. Also they have older computers that won’t run a XP very well. It’s doubtfull they will get a mac. Most of these people will just go buy a new dell or gateway for a few hundred bucks when there computer dies for good and move on with winXP. Remember, most people don’t care much about there computer. The run whatever and don’t care unless it dies. And then a few hundred bucks and a call to dell gets them a new computer at there door a few days later. I would think much more people would be running win98. It’s not like OS9->OSX where the idea of not switching is scary. And as long as you have a computer that runs OSX you probably will switch. Win98 is fine for most. Apple knows this and MS knows this. Only time and hardware failure will really kill it.
*wonders whether he should be openly cynical about a survey which proves the pet theory of the person conducting the survey*
Are you sure he conducted the survey? I thought that Evans Data Corporation conducted the survey, and hired him to interpret results. Which he does, in the article.
I am not saying that those results are right, but your accusations are ridiculous and unfounded.
Did even half the people posting here read the whole article? He is not talking about linux being the most popular operating system in 2004. He is only talking about it beating windows for DEVELOPERS. To make sense of this data you have to realize a couple of things:
1) Most development is done for a small, specialized purpose. These programs are usually used by one or two clients, and nobody else ever sees or hears about them.
2) The majority of the programs written never see the light of day. They end up stuck in as a temporary fix and thrown out when something better comes along, or are forgotten and left behind to rot.
Now, if it is true that 50% of developers develop solely for Linux in 2004, it will still take YEARS for that to ripple through and showup in measured, wider adoption of Linux. Even if Microsoft were to stopping making and selling Windows this instant, people would still use it for years and years and years to come!!! Now, I don’t know about the numbers here. They may be right, or may be wrong. I do know that what this guy is saying isn’t as drastic as you make it out to be. If you consider that most of these developers are probably developing for servers and embedded linux, it doesn’t seem that far out to me. But what do I know?
The main point of the article was about Linux market share in general, with the market share of developers being some sort of indication. It’s a very flawed argument because, even if it’s true, it ignores some other possible explanations:
1. Windows machine require little or no developer time; they are general purpose machines used only with off the shelf apps.
2. Developing apps under Linux takes more development time.
3. Linux machines are more devleper-friendly, hence attract more developers but an insignificant share of the general population.
4. Linux developers are often duplicating each other’s efforts (e.g. KDE vs. GNOME), so a total headcount is not meaningful.
5. Linux development pays better, and the Windows market has become too full, so devlepers want to diversify.
And the list goes on. The rest of the article was pretty fuzzy, a very selective reading of statistics, which seemed to avoid the real issue of just how many linux boxes are out there. (The notion implied by the author, for example, that Linux boxes are doing more work than Windows boxes, and thus deserved to be counted more was ludicrous.)
Search results from google:
Pretty close don’t ya think? (I thought I had seen a better scouring of google, somewhere, for more keywords to refine the results above but this works for a ballpark comparison for me.
And if you want to use the fuzzy logic of the article’s author you can say that the windows result is inflated because windows can refer to window panes and the like.
so what if there is greater development on Linux than on windows, all that means is that the development on Linux platforms is growing faster than on windows, it has nothing to do with market share, especialy when you consider that the windows market is totaly saturated by 3-5 companies, of course you will se more ISVs develop on Linux.
This might be the statistics he uses as a basis for his theories
Where have been linux stand for these years?
Are they “Googling” using their servers?
Got the point?
This is in regard to the desktop use statistics:
How about dual-boot machines? Many Linux-users also dual-boot some form of Windows. And many Linux fans may have several different distros installed on a single computer.
It’s going to be very hard to ever quote a specific market share statistic because of these variables.
I have been reading around on their site and they do not seem biased in either direction. For example, while this particular survey shows linux becoming popular among developers, another survey shows that the largest plurality of developers prefer MSDN as a development program (http://www.evansdata.com/n2/pr/releases/2_18_2003.shtml). This is not the type of thing you would expect to find if this were a pro-linux site.
Interoperability is ensured. A Win95 app will run on *all* versions of Windows. I know that this isn’t a correct analogy, but for Linux to be as ubiqitous as Windows, (easy!) interoperability between distributions is paramount!
well, i am a linux user. i have installed in my machine red hat, suse, debian and mandrake but i also have a pratated winMe for gaming. so what does my pc counts, as 1 linux-pc, as 4 linux pcs and 1 win pc or as 1 win pc.
i think its stupid to try to count market shares because its imposible. more important is that linux became so importante that almost every hardware vendor makes drivers for linux and that except games (winx is still no good enought) theres a linux alternative for win software.
but in the moment that linux starts with games, windows will lose a lot of market shares, ’cause every teene will use linux and that has a big influence.
I know the article was talking about developers, but…
Linux will not be a problem to Windows. No other operating system in the last 15 years has been a threat to it, so why should Linux pose one now? Microsoft is the small company with a crappy desktop OS which defeated the gigantic IBM and their superior OS/2 in the late eighties/early nineties. DR-DOS and Novell were gone by the time Windows 95 came out.
If Windows is abolished it won’t be because of Linux.
A Win95 app will run on *all* versions of Windows.
Possibly. Some people swear by XP/2000 compatibility mode. I have had no luck with it at all.
No other operating system in the last 15 years has been a threat to it, so why should Linux pose one now?
This is pretty poor way of thinking the issue through. IBM was the king of the industry when MS took it’s crown, the same could happen again.
Why could linux pose a threat to MS (I am not saying it does, but MS treats it like it does)? I think there are several reasons:
1) Lower TCO – Yes, I have heard the arguments on both sides. I personally think linux has a lower tco, but that isn’t the point. The truth is it doesn’t matter which has a lower tco — it APPEARS that linux does. Free can be an easy sell.
2) Better use of limited resources – linux (or bsd) boxes seem to do more with less when it comes to resources. If you have fewer servers available due to budget cuts, you HAVE to adapt a way to do the same functionality with less money. OSS provides a way to do that.
3) Hype – Yes, that’s right. There is a hype building around open source software in general, linux in particular. Red Hat is finally making money off of linux, proving it can be done, while still adhering to the gpl. Magazine articles seem to be becoming more frequent. More people seem to recognize the name linux, although they may not know what it is. Hype is a machine that is hard to control. It can set you up high or crush you. If the linux hype keeps building, and if linux can live up to that hype, then chances are much better for being a threat.
I am not saying I expect (or even want) linux to become the #1 operating system. What I would really like is to see no OS have the majority of uses (all OS have less than 51% market share). That would be fantastic. Then it would be harder for developers to just pick an os and go for it. Printers would come with Windows, Linux, Mac, and BSD drivers (maybe even Zeta or another Be project that gets big). It would be a fantastic time to be a user because you would have 100% choice. You wouldn’t have to sacrifice hardware you want because manufacturers ignore your OS of choice.
Alas, it is a pipe dream… maybe.
I think that the title of the article is somewhat flawed.
The point dwilson made was correct; it’s about the explosion in development for Linux platforms. He’s also correct in that the flow-through effects will take years to surface in the consumer market.
The quandry that has confounded advocates is how to get users without big-name applications, and how to get big-name applications without users. What breaks the deadlock? Obviously, it starts with the developers. “If you build it, they will come…”
This is a sign that Linux distributions are moving up. Because once specialist applications are developed, you have people with experience developing for Linux distributions that can work with vendor X, Y or Z in bringing out a big-name application.
How many times have I heard someone say “I’d try a Mac, they have the apps I need, if only I could run it on my existing x86-based hardware.”. If those same someones would settle for a similar setup under a Linux distribution, you could be looking at a desktop market share for Linux distributions similar to that of Macintosh… or more.
Yes, it’s years in the future. But if the statistics are correct, this marks a small but crucial milestone in support of the Linux platform.
A well-formed ’95 app *will* run on XP no hassles. One of Windows’ greatest strengths is its backwards compatibility: five and a half versions later, a DOS program running on Windows (given it doesn’t need to do too much low-level stuff) will run pretty much the same.
I skimmed the article, so maybe I missed something, however one bit stood out….
“Evans Data Corporation hired me to help out with a research report focused on Linux developers.”
Checking the Evans site confirms that this survey was a survey of Linux developers, not of developers in general, so it’s not surprising that Linux scored pretty high!
However there may be something in the theory that a lot of development is done on a bespoke basis rather than for shrinkwrapped software, and Linux is likely to hold a far higher percentage of this market than the more general desktop market.
A quick check on an IT jobsite (UK based) gave about 7 times as many hits for “Windows” as for “Linux”. Which might suggest that the truth is that more development is going on in Linux than the usual marketshare figures suggest, but rather less than this article suggests.
“Lies, damn lies, and statistics”
Why should a Unix clone pose a threat to a superior OS
like WNT developed by Dave Cutler who by the way also
developed VMS two decades ago.
Back than VMS was ahead of the curve like it is WNT today.
All the Linux cloners should look for a differnt target but
to challange WNT.
>>For me it all comes down to the Google Zeitgeist (http://www.google.c om/press/zeitgeist.html) if that linux number ever hits 2% I will be impressed.
>>It has been stuck at 1% for as long as I can remember. For me this shows that only a very small fraction of users WORLDWIDE are using linux.
>>But what do I know….
Indeed, what do you know. This only shows that MS-Windows users submit more searches than Linux users. What does that prove? MS-Windows users are clueless and can’t use google efficiently? Have you seen the crap that most of these MS-Windows users search for?
I would say 75% of the searches I do on google are for helping people on forums, trying to find drivers for them and such like. Like most Linux users (I would imagine) I don’t google just to try and find something interesting to read, I go to a site a know and trust, such osnews.com, slashdot.org, linuxformat.co.uk, kde.org, theregister.co.uk etc.. Most MS-Windows users will us google as a crutch, shoving whatever random thoughts come into their head into google (take a look at what most of the searches where for).
All that zeitgeist tells us (IMHO) is that Linux users are more single minded and don’t carry out as many random searches (i.e. geekier, big news there then).
The most interesting thing about Zeitgeist, is that 4% of searches are perform on ‘other’ platforms.
>>A well-formed ’95 app *will* run on XP no hassles. One of Windows’ greatest strengths is its backwards compatibility: five and a half versions later, a DOS program running on Windows (given it doesn’t need to do too much low-level stuff) will run pretty much the same.<<
Well – doesn’t work with Outlook 97 – unless you log in as administrator, which quiet frankly sucks big time !!!
Everyone use to code for Windows… oh.. except me. I am pure Be, baby!! (never even seen Windows code, or Linux code.. BControls, BViews, and BMessageRunners for me baby!!) ;-))
Heh, forgot to mention this…
# of downloads?
Well, ain’t that stupid!! It took me at LEAST 20 tries to get an ISO of Gentoo, and I eventually gave up (40KB/s would have been fine, 0.4 KB/s… no).
PhOS had nearly 10,000 downloads or download attempts in a month or so. Well, that would say it had 10,000 users right??
Heh, well, I am the kinda guy who *REALLY* wants to know the truth. So guess what I did?? I added a check-in routine to every installation of PhOS. Yeppers, sure did. So, after you installed PhOS, and finally got netowkring going, it would go to a hidden page with a hidden counter with a backend (so I didn’t effect the results).
I requested that the primary servers be closed after I joined YT officially about two months later. I then took a count of machines that called in.
An astonishing 3823 machines. 😉 As time went on, the number grew up to about 5000, but that was not attributable to new users, simply reinstallations, or installations on other machiens of the same user.. and possibly even one or two new users.
I have since removed the tracking code from both PhOS and my site (yeah, I like control ;-)). Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find it with a fresh copy.. simply means it isn’t gonna be successful at finding the site (danotx.tripod.com).
Heh, now those that remember the site, and its massive one page of content finally know what that site was for. hehe..
— The loon
The guy in the editorial is a moron, speaking nicely.
— “Interoperability is ensured. A Win95 app will run on *all* versions of Windows. I know that this isn’t a correct analogy, but for Linux to be as ubiqitous as Windows, (easy!) interoperability between distributions is paramount!”
People don’t give a damn about interoperability! All they care about is that there is a sufficient alternative. The general public doesn’t care what programs they use, just what they can do with their tool.
Windows didn’t get where they are today by supporting Mac applications, and if they had tried, they would have got nowhere. They provided a cheaper alternative. Period. Now they arn’t the cheaper one anymore, so if Linux can step up and be a sufficient alternative for enough people…
I work in a company with ~200 Intel servers on NT, 2K, NetWare and we have 4 on SCO. We have a number of bigger systems on HPUX, a couple of AS/400s, a DG system and a Tandem Himalaya. We have yet to see our first production Linux system (other than a network appliance that scans incoming e-mail).
We buy the O/S based on what the application we want runs on. Almost no software vendors are not giving us Linux as an option.
To say more developers are working on Linux products is one thing. To actually have applications showing up at the door is another. It’s just not happening here, yet.
We’ve evaluated Linux as an option for our ~6500 desktops to be used with a Citrix client but have not found the TCO savings to make it compelling enough.
We hope for a viable alternative to MSFT products though. Competition is a good thing. Better products, faster development at lower prices will benefit everyone. Look at what competition between Intel and AMD did for the CPU market. MSFT needs someone to keep their prices and attitude in line and keep them focused on the customer.
As a side-note, H-P was in here doing a dog & pony show a few weeks ago and said that Linux had replaced NetWare as the 2nd most installed server O/S on the Intel platform. I don’t know what the source was for this statement or what the figures actually are.
>> We buy the O/S based on what the application we want runs on. Almost no software vendors are not giving us Linux as an option.
Enlighten me, what applications (or should that be services) are you running your ~200 Intel servers?
>> To say more developers are working on Linux products is one thing. To actually have applications showing up at the door is another. It’s just not happening here, yet.
AFAIK the majority of developers do not work for ISVs, most are employed by consultancies, in-house within an organization or are independant consultants. These developers, who generally have to support their customers (rather than fob them off onto the support department, like developers for large ISVs can) are the ones who are switching to Linux (IMO). These are developers who can (all but) decide on the operating system which is deployed. It is also these developers whose margins will bare the costs of expensive development tools, supporting unreliable and over priced OSs.
No,No,No – a win95 app will not run on other versions – it just appears to
What happens is that either within the exe or openly, various versions of the programs are distributed.