Are the OS wars a three-horse race?

Are the OS wars a three-horse race?

Summary: A JupiterMedia study, reported on by ComputerWorld, shows the Mac OS X operating system taking some significant hunks of market share in mid-sized and large businesses.While the survey found 17-21% of desktops and 9-14% of server users had Macs, it doesn't mean that OS X has complete control of those shops, or that their market share is that high.

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A JupiterMedia study, reported on by ComputerWorld, shows the Mac OS X operating system taking some significant hunks of market share in mid-sized and large businesses.

While the survey found 17-21% of desktops and 9-14% of server users had Macs, it doesn't mean that OS X has complete control of those shops, or that their market share is that high.

Still, the numbers represent real improvement.

Mac booster Joe Wilcox authored the study, and noted on his blog recently that Macintosh obituaries are awfully common, but always wrong.

The question is, how should open source advocates react to these numbers?

Personally, I'm quite happy with them. OS X does have a version of Free BSD at its base. The Mac is taking share from Unix, from Windows, and even from Linux, Wilcox writes, and his report shows the installed base of Windows actually falling.

Honest competition is a good thing.

The lesson, I feel, is that if we can all concentrate on making our own stuff better rather than playing FUD games in a bid to prove the other guy's stuff isn't worth looking at, we'll all be better off.

Topic: Operating Systems

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  • Only better still cost effective will win.

    Business users are inherently smart. They will use whatever if it is better and cost effective. Period. Now it's time expensive Unix and Linux prove their worth.
  • As OS X = FreeBSD, it's now not so crowded:

    * FreeBSD
    * Winbloat
    * Linux

    And the least costly of the three will be adopted. Mus' be Linux; free to download and depending on the distro (don't use Novell, BTW) support costs are remarkably reasonable. Paying for Americans to support it would be for the best, though. Or at least change America's standard of living to be both viable AND the same cost as the underdeveloped world... good luck.
    • Least costly but most expensive to run.

      Linux may be least expensive but most expensive to run. It costed me several times more than Windows. In the long run, it's likely that WinTel vs MacTel. Not LinTel! To LinTel to be competitive, they got to come up with GUI interface that can match MacTel and WinTel. You cannot compete with stone-age GUI interfaces.
      • linux is least expensive to run

        Depends on your target audience, business users will like OSX until the VP brings his latest gadget into work and it only works in windows and integrates into MSoffice. Suddenly, a large delivery of new XP desktops for the whole company arrives and IT has to install exchange server.

        All the old PCs go to the warehouse to rot, and the engineering dept's usualy get the leftovers. Linux installs on anything so they use it works like a champ since all the back end database servers and firewall servers are *nix.

        I recall a time when we had a perl class on-site and it was up to me to supply 12 working desktops for the class on a day's notice - so away to the warehouse I go and get 10 desktops (half are dead HDD) and a couple of laptops... Knoppix to the rescue, I had to swap out a couple of CDroms but other than that a few hubs and a lot of cat5 crimps later everyone had a working PC for the class. it was also a great thin client, all the PCs were PII - 266 ~ 300Mhz variety but everyone was working with a GUI, even checking corporate email using rdesktop to get to their XP machines...
        Well it was that or do my resume!
      • I agree on the GUI

        I agree about the need for a better GUI. The current one pretty much sucks. It's not intiutive and it's difficult to learn for the average person. I've really wanted to leave Windows behind and move to Linux basically because I can't stand the arrogance of MicroSoft. I've tried various Linux distros over the course of time, and I always just shake my head and sigh simply because the interace is still so poor. I'm not the common user either. I've been in the IT industry for almost 20 years so I know PCs and OSes very well, and understand what the average user is going to be able to use.
        • re:GUI

          The Linux GUI has come a log way. KDE 3.4 just rocks! I'd say that it is a little harder to customize than Windows but one can really get deep and dirty. My desktop is sweet! With transparent panel, custom fonts,Icons,and lots of themes to choose from. Super karamba is nice too. I can work in 4 virtual desktops.

          Linux offers many different windows managers.

          But.. each to his own
    • I give you credit for being a dreamer.

      Don't let reality bother you.
      • Man, buy a clue ...

        Stick your head in any commercial data center - and you will see a major increase in Linux use compared to just two years ago ...

        ... or look at super computing. The TOP500 list contains JUST ONE Windows-based system. Over 2/3 are Linux-based, remainder are various UNIX flavors.

        Yes, MS owns the desktop (for now), but I wouldn't bet the farm on them retaining this lead forever.

        Reality and Facts Rule. FUD walks.
        Plain Logic
        • Um, you need a clue indeed.

          Most data centers were Unix centric. Unis is being replaced by Linux and Windows, Windows market is growing faster than Linux, it's just that simple.
          • That's a pretty bold statement....

            but can you back it up.
            While I see the pros and cons of having Windows, Linux and OSX servers and desktops, I still try to maintain an open mind.
            So when I hear, Windows is growing faster than Linux, I get a good chuckle. While Windows is still greater than Linux distributions (and I quote)
            "Not too far behind Windows is Linux, which is growing more than twice as fast as Windows"
            And that's in terms of sales, I'm pretty sure they weren't counting the free installs.
  • Currently it's a 2 horse race.

    With XP gradually nosing out 98se for a commanding lead going into the final turn.

    Somewhere on the course is Unix, a strong horse but uncompetitive because of having a number of jockeys.

    Way at the rear, within sight of the starting gate, are Linux and OSX, pushing each other back. Linux is wobbling as new jockeys rush onto the field and try to grab the reins, while OSX refuses to break from an elegant, aristocratic trot.

    The contention back in the field is expected to continue into the next race, while a fresh, strong horse calls Vista waits to outrun all competition in a startling burst from the gate.
    Anton Philidor
    • We are talking about horses here Anton ...

      not different parts of the same horse. But it does represent some amazing math on your part the way you easily multiply MS into different horses and combine all the Linux distros into a single horse. Perhaps you could explain how you define a 'horse' in this analogy. I think we are defining a 'horse' as an OS, not a specific version of an OS, while you seem to define it one way for MS and another way for everyone else. Does that reveal something about your bias?
      George Mitchell
      • Potential winning entrants in a horse race, yes.

        As you know, Microsoft's biggest, most difficult competitor is Microsoft. They've been trying to have XP replace 98se since the day of issuance, and progress has been much faster since security issues became prominent. Complaints about security help sales.

        That's a competition.

        As far as Linux is concerned, both the summary article on which we're commenting and the original article considered Linux, largely undifferentiated by distribution. That's accepting others' definition of a competitor, admittedly, but the market for any given distribution of desktop Linux is so comparatively small that I don't have any difficulty with that.

        If you wanted the race to include each of the more prominent distributions separately, I suppose I could describe them as kicking the walls haphazardly a few times, but not passing out of the starting gate.

        Representing desktop operating system sales, even usage, as a horse race, my description appears pretty accurate.
        Remember that the original article was clear that most replacement was Unix by Linux and OSX, with some fervent notice of small apparent losses for Windows. The recent Windows sales numbers earn the adjectives small and apparent for Windows losses.
        Anton Philidor
    • 98SE?

      Maybe for the home user with a 5yr+ old computer, but in business Win2000 is king with XP slowly nosing its way in.
      • You're right , W2k is another entrant.

        Very successful, too.
        I think of W2K as XP before interface, which lack makes some happy, but it should be considered separately.

        W2K is still far more popular than any competitor ever dreamt of becoming.
        Anton Philidor
  • Hopefully its at least a three horse race ...

    The OS monoculture is one of the biggest curses to be inflicted on our society. The near total absence of competition on the desktop in recent years has cost consumers dearly in terms of both cost-effectiveness and performance. If it were not for the threat of competition we would still have ubiquitous blue screens and we would be looking forward to a 'we don't have to care, we own the market' response to viruses and other malware. Apples recent resurgence only adds to the hope for a better tomorrow for all consumer users, even the ones who use Windows. Hat's off to Apple. I only hope they can pull off the transition to Intel as well as they were able to pull off the transition to Unix. Perhaps it might get even better and we will can see Solaris on the desktop as well? That would be a real home run!
    George Mitchell
    • It's likely two hoarse race!

      It's likely to become two hoarse race: WinTel vs MacTel. Linux will lose out since it does not have proper GUI interface system. I don't think amateur parttime programmers can develop quality GUI system, unless a major company does the same as Apple did. Ironically Apple might the one to do. All they need is to port current FreeBSD to Linux!
      • "...port current FreeBSD to Linux" ???

        Hugh Jass
      • Linux has several GUI interfaces

        Linux will lose out since it does not have proper GUI interface system.

        Take your pick.

        • They are all craps!

          They are all useless craps. They need MS Office and Adobe suite as well. Where can you run all these?