Linux - Still chasing that elusive 1% market share

Linux - Still chasing that elusive 1% market share

Summary: While I was trawling through Net Applications operating system share trend data for the past 24 months, something struck me. June 08 market a big month for Linux because the OS saw the largest increase in market share for the whole 2 year period - a growth of 0.12%.


While I was trawling through Net Applications operating system share trend data for the past 24 months, something struck me. June 08 market a big month for Linux because the OS saw the largest increase in market share for the whole 2 year period - a growth of 0.12%.

Here's the data:

Linux market share

Linux market share

What we're seeing from the Net Applications data is that over the 24 month period Linux has seem a growth of its market share of 0.36%, but if you look at the past 12 months you see a growth of 0.37% which tells us that Linux growth for the first year of the 2-year period we're looking at here had flat-lined.

[poll id=317]

0.12% growth in a month is a is a lot for Linux, but when compared to the Vista, XP and Mac OS X it's nothing, not even a drop in the ocean. But Linux is still out there, still being updated and still chasing that magical 1% mark. When is Linux likely to hit that mark? Well, it could be in the next few months or it could be a year or so away, depending on how you draw the trendlines.

Given all the Linux hype that we've seen over the past few months (Dell selling Linux-powered systems, several Ubuntu releases, Eee PCs selling by the shipload) I'm more than a little surprised to find Linux still more than an arm's reach away from 1%.

When I look over at Linux from my position on the OS sidelines, I have to acknowledge that the development communities behind the Linux kernel, the desktops, applications, and the individual distros have done some good work over the past couple of years. But on the other hand, almost all of the issues that I raised back in November of 2006 ("The world just isn’t ready for Linux" and "Why Linux will never go mainstream on the desktop") still plague Linux when it comes to its adoption by mainstream consumers (Yes, yes, I know, there are going to be a lot of Linux die-hards who will be up in my grill for saying that, but I will point at the current market share - 0.8% - as evidence which suggests that I am right.). Linux is a great niche OS, but that doesn't lead to a commanding market share. Looking at Ubuntu's roadmap for 8.10 I think that it's becoming apparent (to Canonical at least) given how heavily the release will focus on a niche market - the subnotebooks.

Coincidentally, my Linux usage pretty much falls into the niche category. I'm happy to put Linux to work in duties such as NAS, file server and maybe loading it onto an old notebook, but the idea of replacing Windows on the desktop with a Linux distro - well I won't say that will never happen, but right now the day I do that is a looooooooong way off. And even for duties such as acting as an OS for a NAS box, I know that it would have been far less hassle to have either used Windows as the OS or bought a ready-made NAS system - for me Linux falls into that "science experiment" category and I've learned to identify anyone who tells me that Linux is "easy" as either deluded, has bought into the superstition, or is a liar. And don't try to fool me with that old "well, every new OS comes with a learning curve" nonsense - the Mac OS is proof that an OS can be powerful yet easy to use. Seriously folks, no one should have to waste time Googling just to figure out how to install an application.


Topics: Operating Systems, Linux, Open Source, Software

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  • .....

    Not buying less than 1%. 3% yes, 1% no. The problem is there is really no reliable way to count ALL the Linux machines out there, then determine which are server, super computer or desktop or embedded.

    Linux's strength in diversity creates a near impossible paradigm for tracking and counting. Many of the Microsoft systems and even some of the Mac systems are counted even though they have been wiped and replaced with Linux.

    So using market share which is subjective to the one doing the analysis and not based on a solid metric that is universal, is rather asinine. ]:)

    As for replacing Windows on the desktop with Linux... I did that several years ago and even managed to get it into my office. So it can and is being done.
    Linux User 147560
    • Desktop os measured from the web.

      So the extreme vulnerability of Linux to web-based attack may mean people are using their Windows computers for security reasons and protecting their Linux devices from threats.

      Thought you'd appreciate that, LU. ;-)
      Anton Philidor
      • More likely

        would be that people are changing their User Agents on their browsers to get past those nasty web sites which still insist upon having a Windows box.
        Michael Kelly
        • Name one, please

          I've been to websites that want IE, but I have yet to see a website that required Windows itself. Name one of them, please.
          • .....

            [url=]Here is one that I cannot access with Linux.[/url] but I can get into it with IE on XP. ]:)

            So yes, while getting rarer, they still do exist. And no, changing the user agent didn't work. I tried that.
            Linux User 147560
          • FYI, you are not quite right...

            The message I get when I try that site from a Linux box says something to the effect that IE 6 or greater is required. However - try the same thing using Firefox from windows. You get the same error message. IE from windows works. So the previous poster is correct. This site is not failing to work because its incompatible with linux but because its incompatible with browsers other than IE.
          • It's just the Active-X

            Which is not used in Firefox or Linux, so even if you install IE-6 on Linux (which I have done), it still won't work because it's looking to add spyware and controls to your Windows box and needs Windows Active-X to do it, the browser is just a go-between)
          • And...

            If you were still using one of the IE versions (that has since been discontinued, but that doesn't stop people) for Unix or Mac, you would be able to access it.

            In any case, I have Windows on the computer I'm on at this very moment, but neither Firefox nor Opera will open the page, so it's not a Windows incompatability. It's a browser incompatability.

            So. my point remains.
          • works here

            I am using Mandriva Linux and firefox 2, and I can get around the Augusta site without a problem. The exact URL of that link indicates it's the page you'd get dumped on if there was some incompatibility encountered elsewhere. There's no content on that page that is unavailable, it's just a redirect error message.
          • That site won't even allow

            IE 7 to access it. Requires IE 6 or greater, go figure.
          • I tried it with Konqeror and set it to present itself as . . .

            Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP.
            It WORKED !
            In other words it is pure nonsense from the site.
            Tried it in Opera with no joy, but Opera does not tell the site that I am on Windows when I am on Linux.
            So when the site lies to you, lie back, and it works.
            My opinion of the site management is best left for comments in private.
          • How many 'Adrians' M$ pays to write articles like this

            No hardware company would bother to install OS which have less than 1 % market share.

            Looking to popularity of Linux and customers' INSTISTANCE for pre-loaded Linux, they are forced to do so.

            Microsoft naturally spends lot of money to fabricate this kind of statistics and keeps many Adrians on payroll to help spreading word through 'technical' blogs that M$ have no danger from other OSs.
            Web Smart
          • 1% ONLY?

            I agree with you. 1% is unstatistically right. This is unbelievable...
          • Actually, he's right.

            It's been my experience that when a website requires IE, it's an intentional move to utilize Active-X. Firefox and Linux intentionally don't use Active-X. Therefore, you have to use a Window's box. Typically, if that's the case, you can bet they want to install some significant controls or spyware, so those sites should be completely avoided.

            If you're familiar with BearShare, it asks for IE-6. Free-BSD linux has IE-6 as an installation file - if you would want it. I installed the IE-6 on the Linux and installed the Bearshare. It installed fine, but had a dialog box asking for IE-6 even though it was already installed (but without Active-X).
          • One point

            [i]Free-BSD linux has IE-6 as an installation file[/i]

            Then it's NOT Windows specific. It's IE specific. That's not the same thing. The website he offered as an example accepts IE6. If you don't have it on Windows, but you have it on Linux, you can access the site. So, my point remains.

            Of course, IE is only being continued for Windows, so in the future that may be the case, assuming that all websites don't take Firefox/Opera/Safari by then. But until then, he's not right. Sorry.
          • Well, can name 2

            Try,, just to name 2. But there are many more, "page can only be displayed with IE6 or newer" "You must be running Windows 98 or higer to access this site". etc.
      • ha! Thanks for the laugh!

        Now THAT was funny! =)
      • .....

        Humor and satire are not your forte'. Nice try but you do have it backasswards my friend! It's Windows that uses Linux to protect it while on the web.

        As for the user agent tracking, Like Michael said, people change it so they can get around stupid sites that require IE only. I know I do, and when not then I have it set to give as little info as possible. ]:)
        Linux User 147560
    • not really...

      the numbers the article uses isn't true "Market Share" its just web usage share. It tries to find usage of something through web browsing... Windows users think thats a great idea... most Linux users know its not a reliable way to measure things.
      • One example of why web browsing stats are not accurate
        Michael Kelly