2012's Top five Linux stories with one big conclusion

2012's Top five Linux stories with one big conclusion

Summary: 2012 was a very quiet, but very successful year for Linux. How successful? The most popular end-user operating system is now Linux.

It was a quiet, but very successful year for Linux.

2012 didn't see any single large Linux news story. Instead, we saw many small Linux stories that, when added together, led to Linux becoming the single most important operating system of all. Here's the count-down to the top of the operating system stack.

5) Raspberry Pi is as popular as apple pie

People love their polished hardware devices such as the Apple iPad, but some still love do-it-yourself *DIY) gear and nothing says DIY quite so much as the Raspberry Pi. This Linux-powered credit-card sized computer is as bare-bones as it comes, but it still had over 250,000 people on its buyers waiting list before its launch. Months later it's still insanely popular. 

4) Gaming moves to Linux

People always used to complain about Linux's lack of games. In the next few years they may start complaining about Windows' lack of games. Valve, maker of the popular Steam gaming platform, has announced that since "Windows 8 is a "catastrophe" for PCs, they're moving their games to Linux. Their long-term plan? Make a Linux-powered PC/game device to compete with Xbox 360 and the Sony PlayStation 3.

3) Google puts Chromebook and Google Docs up against Windows 8 and MS Office

We used to think that Microsoft would always own the desktop. Then, along came richer Web applications, cloud services, and the dysfunctional Windows 8. Google is taking advantage of all these factors with its partners' ever-cheaper line of Chromebooks and positioning Quickoffice and Google Docs against Microsoft Office. For many people, a Chromebook is all the laptop they need.

Google's goal is to give users a cheaper Linux-based solution to Windows and Office. Getting users off legacy Windows systems wont' be easy. On the other hand, Windows 8 requires users to learn a new way to do the same old things, and Google's offerings let them keep using the good old Windows, Icon, Menu, and Pointer (WIMP) interface.  I foresee users shifting away from desktop Windows to Chromebook and from Microsoft Office to Google Docs as they retire their Windows XP and 7 PCs.

2) Nexus 7: Linux finally gets a top tablet

Many good Linux/Android-powered tablets showed up in 2012, but the best of them all was the Asus/Google Nexus 7. How good was it? While Apple will never admit it, but the only reason we have iPad Minis today is because 7" Android tablets, led by the Nexus 7, forced Apple's to enter the small tablet market.

1) Most popular end-user systems of all: Linux

On top of all these other changes, add in the simple fact that the old PC is no longer the heart of computing and what you end up with is a world where the most popular end-user computing devices aren't running Windows, instead they're running Android.

Oh, and, this isn't a prediction. It's already happened. According to Goldman Sachs, the "consumer compute market (1.07bn devices) is led by Android at 42% share, followed by Apple at 24%, Microsoft at 20% and other vendors at 14%."

It's not just Goldman Sachs, according to Mary Meeker, one of the top analysts around, Apple iOS and Google Android already have 45% of the market to Windows' 35%.

So, without an earth-shattering kaboom, but quietly and in hundreds of millions of smartphones, tablets, and, increasingly PCs, Linux has become the top operating system of all.

Related Stories:

Topics: Linux, Enterprise Software, PCs, Tablets, Smartphones, Operating Systems, Open Source, Microsoft, Laptops, Hardware, Google, Windows 8

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  • 2012's Top five Linux stories with one big conclusion

    Goldman Sachs numbers are inconclusive. Does not break down by what is phones or computers and lumps everything together. What really got me was this line which you highlighted for us, "Today, by Meeker's numbers, Apple iOS and Google Android have 45% of the market to Windows' 35%." So we can gather that the only with the two combined do they rank higher than Microsoft Windows.

    You are now counting android as a linux operating system. Its hard to keep that straight since it flip flops so much between being linux and not being linux depending on what the numbers favor. My conclusion is that since Microsoft Windows 8 is a fresh new operating system it just means it can take that much more market share away from iOS and android.
    • Your "conclusion"?

      More like a desperate wish pulled out of your backside.

      No numbers, no reasoning, just the usual shill/fan boy nonsense.

      You'd do MS a favor by just staying away. With friends like you, MS does not need "enemies".
      • Numbers and reasoning are there

        You must have overlooked it so I will go ahead and post it here again.

        ""Today, by Meeker's numbers, Apple iOS and Google Android have 45% of the market to Windows' 35%." So we can gather that the only with the two combined do they rank higher than Microsoft Windows."
        • Reading, man. It's a good thing.

          You ignore the line above that:
          > According to Goldman Sachs, the "consumer compute market (1.07bn devices) is led by Android at 42% share, followed by Apple at 24%, Microsoft at 20% and other vendors at 14%."
        • 45% > 35%

          Android is Linux. Learn some math and get over it.
          • Wrong

            iOS + android = 45%. Windows = 35%.

            You were saying something about learning to do math?
          • Try reading the preceding paragraph.

            You are capable of reading statements that don't put MS first, aren't you?
            Actually, if you were incapable of reading such statements, it would explain a lot about your fantasy approach to logic.
    • I have to agree. This blog seems to border on senseless

      Just throwing descriptions and numbers around to get what you want.

      When malware stories come out in relation to Android, the blogger here says that Android isn't Linux. When it's time to count up usage then Android magically becomes Linux. He wants to have it both ways: if talking usage Linux rules, talking security, then we're idiots for lumping Android in with Linux because they two different things.

      He points to sales numbers of Office rising as reference to people being mindlessly entrenced in the old ways, then claims that people are dumping it all for Chromebooks, when sales of Chromebooks remain unimpressive.

      Then of course comes the old Windows on the PC is not the same as Windows on the phone; it is not the same as Windows CE; it is not the same as Windows on servers, and so on. But Linux is the very same Linux that runs routers to PCs.

      And I really had to laugh at the Android tablets comment, that the Nexus 7 forced Apple's to enter the small tablet market. Everyone else said it was the Kindle.

      I have to admit, I haven't read a more amusing piece then this one in a while. I'm going to say I have to agree with you: This is a lame attempt to distract people away from Windows 8 tablets and PC's; he's worried that its impacting Android (or should we say Linux) when he said it was going to help grow Linux.
      NoMore MicrosoftEver
      • Your logic fails you.

        Linux kernel is same thing as Linux Operating System. Android use Linux operating system and is counted as one Linux distribution like Debian or Arch Linux or Ubuntu.
        But malware what is for Android is not for Linux unless it specifically isnagaikst Linux in Android. And they are not.

        To make it clear:

        Operating system is like car engine. It makes car move and electricity from gas/diesel.
        Now if you found a problem in air bag system or cental locking mechanism, would you say the problem is in engine? If you find that brakes stop working in specific situation, would you say problem is in engine?

        I bet that any in those cases you would blame car engine being malfunctioning, same way as you blame Linux operating system from security flaws in totally different software than Linux operating system itself.

        Reason is that you dont know what operating system really is but you have faith that you do, without any technical(mathematical software engineering) basis for what you talk about.
        • Guess you glossed over the point he was making?

          I understood it, sorry you missed it.

          So I think you're saying that Android would run just peachy on a PC, unvirtualized? You know, since it's the same kernel. Unlike Windows kernal where there are 5 different kinds - one for servers, one for Pc's one for handheld devices, ect.

          Oh, and what does the kenel have to do with his statement that -

          "When malware stories come out in relation to Android, the blogger here says that Android isn't Linux. When it's time to count up usage then Android magically becomes Linux".

          Does the kenel change when malware infects an Android device?
          William Farrel
          • Does the kenel change when malware infects an Android device?

            No you dim person, the user installs apps that are malicious because Google isn't as meticulous in restricting apps that users are allowed to install. If the user wants to install bad apps then the OS will allow it - any OS will. That isn't poor security, that is the OS allowing the user to install apps.

            Android isn't like Windows which is a virus/worm magnet because the OS security flaws allow malicious apps to be automatically installed without the user even knowing or consenting.
          • Exactly

            Once again, the critics of Android forget to mention. That unlike MS Windows where you install an unknown app you are on your own while you entirely trust your system to the app. On Android all apps run under unique uid (in a sandbox). The permissions of an app are transparent and can be analyzed to make a decision to whether continue or refuse the installation (It easy to do, whatever the Windows any-key experts say) . And yes, unlike on Windows an app doesn't install on its own too.
          • nope

            Microsoft have had only three operating systems, not five (and they are not kernels because microsoft has never names their microkernels but keeps versionnumbering at them only like 5127, but with OS they name and versionnumber them. Like NT 6.1

            1. DOS series (was integrated to windows in windows 95)
            2. NT series what is now the only one (server, desktop and smartphone)
            3. CE series (embedded devices and smartphones)

            Now microsoft has only NT operating system left what to use since windows phone 8 where they replaces CE with a NT.
            Now microsoft is in same level as Apple and google what use one operating system everywhere (XNU and Linux) while when microsoft critizied those from havung multiplie, it was only one two have so (NT and CE)

            "Does the kenel change when malware infects an Android device?"

            No, you are making exactly same ignorant assumption as those journalists/bloggers.
            The mistake is that lost people dont know that Linux is just a operating system and nothing more but still they believe to know what Lunux is because they have seen GNOME or KDE (or similar) graphical (or textual like bash) user interface and were told (this is Linux) while they never have seen one ever.

            Malware written for Android isnt written for Linux unless it is a rootkit (or otherwise exploit Linux hole) and so on tarketing Linux operating system.
            Malware written to any other Linux distribution (others than Android) isnt for Linux unless it is a rootkit (etc) and so on targeting Linux operating system.

            99.9% of malware isnt for Linux operating system even when reported to be so by media. There are such but they dont work than on very specific versions and releases what typically are obsolete.

            Your point was to support Challenger R/T but you miss the point as well. The Linux malware what you are talking doesnt exist as you believe.
            Problem is that you are ignorant like bloggers and journalists who you are critizing.

            Android is Linux, but malware for Android isnt for Linux. It depends what kind malware it is and whats vulnerability it does use. Example all the malware news here has not touched Linux operating system in Android... they are for Android but not for Linux.

            So what you are againg usikg for arguing is that malware using a vulnerability in car stereo is vulnerability in car engine as you dont make separation what belongs to what and what vulnerability is what software.
          • Finally!

            I agree with all your points dude. Malware of Android is only for Android and not for any other Linux Distros.

            However, if Android allows malware then doesn't it a bad OS? Someone mentioned before that Windows is bad because the OS has security vulnerabilities. In this case, isn't Android the culprit? with security vulnerabilities?

            And SJVN was talking about "Linux operating system" as a whole. He was not speaking about just the Linux kernel used all over.

            In that case, Android cannot be taken as a Linux OS right?
          • if Android allows malware then doesn't it a bad OS?

            Android doesn't allow the malware, the user allows it when they instal it.
          • nope

            Android is a operating system as much as you are a heart.

            Linux is the operating system in Android. Anything else in Android than Linux doesnt belong to operating system. Meaning: If malware doesnt attack against Linux in Android, it isnt Linux malware but a Android malware.

            And if user does install malware, it is users own fault as long as malware doesnt get installed automatically.
            The operating system only function is to make a layer top of hardware to hide its complexity to all other software (system libraries, system programs, software platforms, graphical/textual user interfaces, applications, games etc etc) and operate all software and hardware to work together.
            A OS doesnt care what code it does run as long as it is allowed. And most malware are spyware, trojans, adware and so on what user itself install as they usually are trojans coming with legimet software downloaded somewhere and installed by user itself so OS needs to do its task and simply run malware as user "wants so".

            No OS can stop user being stupid if user isnt smart enough to enable whitelisting functions in OS what process and threads it us allowed to run and what files such are allowed to read and write. And that demands huge work as every file and process needs to be validated first. Welcome to Linux NSA security.

            But normal people dont want it or doesnt need such security as it is too "heavy" for their use.

            A operating system very rarely is targeted by malware. Tell me last five rootkits what you remember by name? Okay, how about last five worms or virus names?

            A worm is most dangerous malware and typical one. Why? Because it spreads by itself and install automatically without user actions. Virus needs a host file or media like CD or DVD and user actions to get installed (inserting CD with autorun enabled or opening email attachement).
            In all cases OS job is to run the malware... Thats right, it should run the malware as it is a "correctly" wanted be executed code. If you would have OS securities like what SELinux or AppArmor provides, then such is blocked unless user again authorize the run, meaning if user has rights to authenticate the code/file, meaning if system admin has given the user rights to add process/file to whitelist what OS use.

            With windows it wasnt until Vista that people were forced to have typical user account instead a admin rights. Since them many malware has stopped working but still many works because windows is a security risk as so many system libraries and programs are vulnerable.

            The mistake what many, like you, avarage computer user does is that they dont know that Linux kernel is the Linux operating system. And nothing else.
            Android is counted as Linux distribution. It isnt a common one with Xorg, Glibc and many other software distributed in it denying possibility to run software what has dependcies to those softwares. But it is still full Linux distribution with a same Linux operating system as any other Linux distribution. Difference is not in OS but what is on it.

            Android malware doesnt attack against Linux OS used at Android. They are trojans and made to fool user to install them with all kind permissions what they ask from user. And then they are run by Linux operating system as any other code it should as it is its job, and user is the blame. If the malware would get installed automatically and have possibilities to modify other process, then it is possible that is partial fault of Linux. But because Android use virtual machine, the Dalvik, what is responsible to allocate applications from each other to own sandboxes, it rarely would be Linux fault.

            Avarage user (like you) doesnt get to know how their computer works so they can have a www browser or video player by reading these news sites. Not even reading a geek blogs and forums. It demands your kind would start taking OS engineering classes in university and start reading lots of computer history about operating systems in 50-60s period of how Multics was developed and so on. Who would have time to spend few hundred hours reading schematics, algorithms, arhitecture designs, white papers and OS developers discussions just so they know how OS works if all what they want is to open a web page and comment news?

            Maybe 1 from million.
          • There was also Xenix

            But few people remember that any more.
            John L. Ries
          • Xenix...the gem

            is Bill Gates, the genious. The problem with that was that it was coded for the Intel 286 hardware, and he had to remove the tcp/ip from the kernel to keep it manageable. The decision was also based on that in those days, a full BSD 4.3 socket implementation was available on a separate card (ExceLAN). Intel had anounced that the 286 would be an intermediary processor, with most of the 386 and 16 bit address bus. The OS was lightening, tiny memory footprint, it was a gem to industry appliances. He managed the code for a while, and then contracted SCO - a transportation company that had a warehouse where the "packages" could be stored before delivery. SCO discoved that there was huge money to be made in software, and made their own full Unix Sytem V - for the 386 chipset. This has the full tcp, but the performance were miles aay from Xenix. Thanks, John for reminding us of the great work, completely irrelevant to Linux, but computer history nevertheless. Xenix could not use the "Unix" name, that was protected by AT&T. SCO Unix shipped the code for approval, and paid the licensing to AT&T that at the time was pestered by the discussions of version 4.3 to 4.3, and their own SVID compliancy regime. Xenix was hacked, every bit used by the master hacker - BG.
          • I'm surprised how insulting some people are

            calling someone dim over a post they look to haven't read themself.

            I was questioning your hero blogger's posts in how he tries to craft them like he's somehow getting lemonade from the lemons he talking about. One day Android is Linux, the next day it isn't. It's just as silly as saying Linux is great because companies can hire IT people to modify to suit their needs, then the next day saying Windows stinks because companies shouldn't be dealing in IT, that's not their core business.

            The one big conclusion I take from his blogs is that he sounds a wee desperate most of the time he's blogging, trying to make things sound rosier for Linux then it actually is. I have nothing against it, if you like it then use it. I just take offense to people like the blogger that feel he's somehow getting one over on us again and again.
            NoMore MicrosoftEver
          • SJVN has no integrity...

            that is the only point this article proves. You're right, he slants all the details to further his agenda then objectively reporting on it. Doesn't matter... we're all here reading and commenting... so a job well done SJVN! It's like pop music... they'll do whatever makes the most money regardless of how terrible their output is.