Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

Summary: Who is Microsoft fooling? Other than on the desktop, Linux is eating its lunch, and it's only going to get worse for Microsoft.

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My compadre Ed Bott does a fine job of digging under the surface of Microsoft's annual report to find that Microsoft no longer considers Linux a serious threat. Who does Microsoft think they're kidding?

Sure, on the desktop, it's a Windows world, but guess what Sherlock; the desktop is declining in importance. The mobile, server, Web and cloud worlds are where the twenty-teens' billionaires will come from, not the desktop. And, guess, who's already in all those spaces large and in charge? Yes, that's right, Linux.

Let's start from the top on where Linux beats Microsoft.

Mobile

The mobile computing world is a dog-fight between Apple iOS and Google's Linux-based Android. Windows Phone 7 is much of a non-player on smartphone as Linux is on the conventional PC desktop. While Apple owns the high-end of smartphones, Android is cleaning up everywhere else.

Until recently, you could argue that nobody, but nobody, really sold tablets except for Apple. That argument doesn't hold water any more. Android now has 20% of the tablet market. I wonder, I really do, if that's why Apple launched its legal attack on the Samsung Galaxy Tab's design in Europe, Is Apple that insecure? Maybe.

Until the last few days, you might also have been concerned about how Google could fight off the endless legal challenges to Android. You need worry no more about that. Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility has given Google all the ammo it needs to win in the mobile patent wars.

Of course, it's always possible that another mobile operating system will win out. Like say HP's webOS, which is, ah, Linux based. Or, there's Intel MeeGo, which is, wow, what do you know, Linux based. You get the picture. One way or the other, tomorrow's mobile operating systems are likely to be Linux operating systems.

Servers and the Web

There are a lot of Windows Servers instances humming away in offices. It's hard to say exactly how many Linux servers are out there since you don't need to buy a Linux server, you can download one, or a hundred and one, for free. Sure, Red Hat, which primarily makes its money from its server offering, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), is well on its way to being the first billion dollar open-source company, but there are probably far more CentOS, openSUSE, Debian, etc, Linux servers quietly and invisibly running. We just don't know. What we can count though are Web servers.

According to Netcraft, Microsoft has only 15.86% of the Web server market in August 2011. Apache leads the pack with 65.18%. In third place, you'll find ngnix with 6.54% and Google takes last place with 4.38%. And what operating system are you most likely to find Apache, ngnix, and Google running on? Yes, you're right in one, it's Linux.

It's not just Web servers though. Supercomputers, the fastest of the fast, run Linux almost exclusively. Cutting edge computing platforms like IBM's Jeopardy champ Watson? Linux again. It's not just computing engineers that turn to Linux though. The world's major stock exchanges also run Linux. Once you're away from the desktop, you're living in a Linux world.

The Cloud

I was privileged to speak recently at a small cloud conference in my hometown of Asheville, NC. Two things surprised me there. First, how many new businesses were already actively using the cloud's scalability to create new business models and, second, how everyone was using Linux on their cloud businesses.

I shouldn't have been surprised. Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), the most popular of the public clouds, doesn't report on what operating system images people use on it, but The Cloud Market, does scan Amazon EC2 for operating system and other information. According to The Cloud Market's numbers, as of August 15th 2011, Ubuntu Linux had 38.4% of all images; that was followed by generic Linux with 31.5% and then Windows with 13.5%. After Windows, there were numerous other Linux variants. Adding it all up and we're left pretty much with Linux was being used by 86.1% of all cloud users.

So, victory over Linux Microsoft? I think not.

Indeed, even on the desktop, as we turn more and more to using Web browsers for everything, I see Linux winning out in the long run. You've had a great run Microsoft, and you'll still be a power for the rest of this decade, but victory? No, you're just sliding into a long decline and, at the end of it, Linux will still be behind the scenes running everyone's back-room services, their tablets, their phones, and, yes, even their Web browser-based PCs ala Google Chrome OS with Linux-powered clouds keeping it all going.

Related Stories:

Microsoft declares victory over Linux, names Apple and Google main rivals

Windows' Endgame. Desktop Linux's Failure

The one big move Microsoft could still make in mobile

Google and Motorola Mobility: It's all about the patents

Google's Chrome operating system gets a much needed update

Topics: Servers, Google, Linux, Microsoft, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software

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  • RE: Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

    Fanboy much?
    timotim
    • RE: Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

      @timotim <br>Every word of the article was true. It's a weak argument to attack the messenger.
      businessandpolitics
      • RE: Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

        @businessandpolitics,

        So let's see if I have this right: the current threat is that desktop computers are going to be replaced with locked-down tablets with no keyboard and no freedom to load whatever software you want... and Linux enthusiasts are cheering the downfall of Windows?

        I think we have a forest/trees problem here, because unless I'm missing something, Windows is a freaking *blessing* compared to iOS.
        wanorris
      • RE: Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

        @businessandpolitics: "Every word of the article was true."
        Not really. The only actually factual information was the web-server market share percentage - but which is just plainly wrong. NetCraft doesn't count servers but domain names (and what kind of servers are behind of them), which is in no way actually usable to calculate web server market shares. It's like calculating car maker market shares by counting the passengers transferred, or comparing the total weight of them.

        Also, an Apache web server is not an indication of a Linux box running behind it, as Apache runs on Windows too. Obviously our boy genius author ignored that basic fact.

        Actually, all the actual and real information we have on Linux and Windows server sales show that there are still more servers sold with Windows than with Linux. (And no, people don't put Linux on a server bought with Windows - but might do the opposite, so the numbers might be even skewed in favor of Linux, which in this case might be doing even worser in the server market than the numbers let you believe.) See IDC report at: http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS22467210 (summary: Windows account for 46.5%, Linux only for 30.1% of all server sales worldwide).

        Btw. I already knew who the author of this article was even before I actually opened it, just by reading the title. That tells a lot about both the author and his creditibility.
        ff2
      • RE: Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

        @ff2
        Genius re-read article. Steve did write; And what operating system are you most likely to find Apache, ngnix, and Google running on? Yes, you?re right in one, it?s Linux.

        How many web admins would run Apache on a Windows server and not run IIS.

        The netcraft stats still stand, no one can disprove what is written.

        You and your follow bloggers listing IDC as source have very different numbers.

        Great article Steve.
        Hooah!
        daikon
      • RE: Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

        @daikon

        Reading *comprehension* skills are critical when making an internet arguement. Case in point the line you quoted from the article:

        First: "Genius re-read article. Steve did write; And what operating system are you most likely to find Apache, ngnix, and Google running on? Yes, youre right in one, its Linux."

        The key words in this are "most likely", not "will". "Most likely" means "there's wiggle room".

        Next: "How many web admins would run Apache on a Windows server and not run IIS. "

        This is conjecture on your part. YOU failed to provide proof that no web admins will run Apache on Windows servers. When you provide that proof, with incontrovertable substantiation from credible sources, then maybe I'll believe you, but I WILL check your facts before confirming what you say.
        PollyProteus
      • RE: Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

        @wanorris
        "So let's see if I have this right: the current threat is that desktop computers are going to be replaced with locked-down tablets with no keyboard and no freedom to load whatever software you want..." - Well, first off, Android tablets are available WITH keyboards (see the ASUS Transformer for one) and Android is not locked-down, as you can install software from any source as long as it is written for the Android OS. So basically, outside of Apple's iOS, your whole argument is bunk... Way to go!
        NetAdmin1178
      • RE: Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

        @ff2 - "Actually, all the actual and real information we have on Linux and Windows server sales show that there are still more servers sold with Windows than with Linux. (And no, people don't put Linux on a server bought with Windows - but might do the opposite, so the numbers might be even skewed in favor of Linux, which in this case might be doing even worser in the server market than the numbers let you believe.)"

        How much does M$ pay you to post? You couldn't be more wrong with the statement "And no, people don't put Linux on a server bought with Windows - but might do the opposite, so the numbers might be even skewed in favor of Linux". We replace Windows with Linux all the time, and I'm not talking about 10's and 20's of systems, but rather 100's. Almost all lower end systems come with Windows pre-installed just because of MS's anti-competitive practices and the ease of efficient manufacturing.
        DAvenger
      • RE: Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

        @ff2
        "And no, people don't put Linux on a server bought with Windows" - Sorry, but actually, they do. We are a mostly Windows shop, but we run Linux for our web servers. Those machines were purchased with Windows licenses as the hardware was not offered without a Windows OS already installed. Once they were received, the drives were formatted and Red Hat was installed.
        NetAdmin1178
      • RE: Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

        @businessandpolitics

        It was a weak article, period. I can't imagine that anyone thought that was worth the 4 minutes it took to write and one minute it took to conceive.
        danmartini
      • RE: Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

        @businessandpolitics
        des@...
      • RE: Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

        @businessandpolitics Every word was true? "Of course, it?s always possible that another mobile operating system will win out. Like say HP?s webOS, which is, ah, Linux based." Since HP is ditching webOS entirely, I don't see it.
        waterhzrd
      • RE: Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

        @businessandpolitics Every word of that article is BS, written by someone who is clueless. Windows dominates Linux in overall servers, despite the desperate shots of a Linux fanboy.

        http://microsoft-news.com/idc-windows-server-dominates-server-revenue-for-q4-2010/

        http://blogs.computerworld.com/15675/idc_windows_dominates_linux_in_servers_not_just_the_desktop

        Read it and weep! SJVN can keep deleting my posts all he wants. I'll keep reposting, to set the record straight. He needs to stop spouting lies and do more research.
        jhammackHTH
      • RE: Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

        @businessandpolitics Once again. Every word of that article is BS, written by someone who is clueless. Windows dominates Linux in overall servers, despite the desperate shots of a Linux fanboy.

        http://microsoft-news.com/idc-windows-server-dominates-server-revenue-for-q4-2010/

        http://blogs.computerworld.com/15675/idc_windows_dominates_linux_in_servers_not_just_the_desktop

        Read it and weep! Check IDC and Gartner in overall server market share. They will confirm these articles as well. SJVN can keep deleting my posts all he wants. I'll keep reposting, to set the record straight. He needs to stop spouting lies and do more research.
        jhammackHTH
    • RE: Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

      @timotim <br><br>It's a dead parrot.

      Oh and Paul Murphy wants his column back or you could join him in his *nix museum ;-)
      tonymcs@...
      • Paul Murphy is gone?

        @tonymcs@...

        Good for ZDnet.

        Why doesn't SJVN just hand his column over to Dietrich T. Schmitz?
        Lester Young
      • RE: Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

        @tonymcs@... Where. museum.http://www.ommrudraksha.com/products/126-ganesh-rudraksha-bead.aspx
        rudraksha1
    • RE: Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

      @timotim sjvn is definitely an overzealous fanboy, but he brings up some very good points.

      This new mobile landscape boils down to *nix versus Microsoft. There are a lot of companies investing in Linux-based mobile platforms (Google/Motorola, HTC, IBM, LG, etc) versus a single guy (Microsoft) with a big wallet. Though, turns out Apple's wallet has been bulging lately. Once the dust settles, the winner is likely going to be some form of unix-based system, whether it's running iOS, Android, etc.

      One thing that will be interesting is once Windows 8 comes out and attempts to grasp the tablet market. All those desktop companies/developers already locked into .NET (VB.NET/C#) will be able to jump directly into the mobile apps without having to learn Objective-C or Java. Could get ugly. Yes, I know Android/iOS can hackishly run C# in the Mono runtime, but Microsoft can easily make it preferable to use .NET proper on Windows 8 tablets).
      bretkuhns
      • RE: Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

        @bretkuhns
        Yes and No.

        Currently MS is doing poor job with stating which dev tools will be available on Win8. (Gee, its almost as bad as with WinV and OpenGL, and now they hurting their own tools).

        Also Win8 will have to start from zero on tablets (due to different architecture), You know touch interface! Squizing Windows anti-touch programs on tablets do not win market (see Win7).
        przemoli
      • RE: Linux snickers at Microsoft's victory declaration

        @bretkuhns

        Don't count on dot net on Win tablets. The current push with Microsoft is to go towards HTML5 and JavaScript. Microsoft is correct on that.

        But, Microsoft won't have any real chance until Win8 comes out. We don't yet know if that will be a new Win 98, or Win7 or if it will be another Windows Millennium or Vista.

        Until then, it will just be an iOS and Linux world there. Android, WebOS, Honeycomb, or whatnot, it's still just iOS and Linux, if you want to look at more than a 0.01% market share.

        Mobile devices will be cheap because they will not run most of the applications. they are and will continue to be "Cloud Machines". whether the server is on a shelf in your living room, or in a massive cluster in North Carolina is unimportant. Expensive devices in that space will fail. Why spend $800 for a tablet when one that does everything you want and need can be gotten for $150?

        That is why Windows won on the desktop, and it will ultimately be the reason someone wins on the Tablet front. In five years, Apple will be down to around 10% of smartphone users, and the same for tablets.

        If Windows wants a place in this space, then they had better get back to Bill Gates basics, and offer the cheapest thing that meets most of the criteria.

        Welcome to the future. The 'Desktop' is already obsolete, you just don't realize it yet.

        And no, Linux on the Desktop isn't dead, it's just not as big as Microsoft's current 80 to 85% is. Also, at least half of Linux 10% share of that runs both Windows and Linux on the same computer, so there is overlap, and Microsoft knows it. that's why Linux isn't a target for them any more.

        Attacking your own customers is a losing proposition. Microsoft learned that watching the RIAA fiascoes of the last 10 years.
        YetAnotherBob