Desktops starting with Dell have begun being sold with Linux pre-installed, almost all of the new UMPC Eee-like notebooks that are selling in extremely large numbers these days are coming with Linux pre-installed, Everex is pushing Linux desktops through Wal-Mart, and lots of new computers are getting SLED certified or some other form of Linux certification.

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switchpin's picture
Created by switchpin 11 years 28 weeks ago – Made popular 11 years 28 weeks ago
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einfeldt's picture


11 years 28 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago


GNU Linux is totally changing the desktop software market

The primary reason that we have not heard about the impact of GNU Linux is that is is distributed in non-traditional channels, and the business of monetizing GNU Linux is totally different from the business models for Apple and Microsoft software, for example. Linux and other types of Free Software commoditize software, and therefore shift the value to other layers of the computing solution.

The best and clearest example is Google. Google rents Linux 0.1 tenths of a second at a time. Google sells advertising to businesses. Red Hat sells services surrounding GNU Linux. Same for IBM. HP sells hardware with Linux. In many of these cases, there is no bar code event measuring the installbase.

For example, I volunteer to support a public middle school in San Francisco, where we have a total of 34 desktops used by students all day long, but not a single one of those desktops ever was registered as desktop "market share". Those boxes are invisible. But they matter. I use three GNU Linux boxes in my law practice, but none of them ever were registered as part of the Linux "installbase" or "market share". I have given out about 20 desktops to various simple end users, but none of them are counted as part of the installbase. I have many friends who have done the same. James Burgett, of the Alameda County Computer Resource Center has given out 16,000 Ubuntu boxes, but not a single one of them has ever been counted. Same for Free Geek.org.

Each of those boxes are returning value to their users and are therefore bringing productivity to society, but their value is not measured in a traditional way.

It might be that the only way to "measure" the Linux installbase is to notice that Microsoft's stock has basically been flat since 2003, and that Microsoft's sales have not risen as fast as the sales of desktop and notebook PCs.

My basic point is that we are legion. We are successful. We need to stop repeating incorrect figures suggesting that we are small.

aboutblank's picture


11 years 28 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago


One suggestion

One suggestion for you: The term "GNU Linux" implies there is a GNU variant of Linux. There is no GNU variant of Linux and so, such a term is misleading. Better terms to use include GNU/Linux, GNU+Linux, or GNU and Linux. I personally just use the term free operating system as a general term if I'm not specifically referring to GNU+Linux.

ilamont's picture


11 years 28 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago


Wait a minute ...

Linux is treated as a major market player now, and these figures are often repeated -- I just saw an article this morning that mentioned Linux' market share had increased .5% over the last survey period in IT shops.

Also, Wal-mart pulled its Linux PC about three weeks ago. As Wired put it, middle America is not ready for Linux.

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