Although Linux may be shipping on a growing number of PCs sold in the emerging markets of Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, about 80% of PCs shipped with the open source operating system this year will eventually run pirated versions of Windows, Gartner estimated. The high price of Windows may be driving vendors in countries like China and Russia to ship Linux on as many as 40% of their PCs, but many of these systems will not ultimately run the free operating system, Gartner says. In fact, this high%age of Linux sales is being driven by the availability of cheap pirated copies of Windows rather than a desire to run Linux. The cost of Windows in the Asia-Pacific region, for example, has increased from 6% of the total price of a professional desktop PC in 1996 to 15% in 2004.
Linux will ship on 5% of the 185 mln PCs that are expected to be sold this year, but it will be particularly popular in the Asia/Pacific, Eastern Europe and Latin American regions, Gartner predicted. The open source operating system will be included with 9.8% of PCs shipped in Asia/Pacific, 11.2% in Eastern Europe, and 12.1% in Latin America. In the U.S., Linux will ship on 0.8% of PCs this year, the research firm predicted.