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Linux Pre-Installs In the UK Hit 2.8% 289

Posted by kdawson
from the small-but-encouraging dept.
schliz alerts us to a story out of the UK PC distribution channel. It seems that the percentage of systems pre-installed with Linux has gone up 28 times since Vista shipped, from 0.1% in January 2007 to 2.8% last June. Still not huge numbers, but Apple did OK for years with similar market share figures. Linux's headway comes in the face of the marketing money that manufacturers pass out to distributors, money that has historically been important to their profits: "In the late 1990s competition was so keen that distributors were said to sell at or below cost and take their profit direct from the marketing funds they received from vendors. Vendors nowadays keep watch to see their marketing funds are actually spent on marketing, but distribution runs on single figure profits and vendor marketing funds are a crucial aid."
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Linux Pre-Installs In the UK Hit 2.8%

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  • EeePC, anybody? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by meringuoid (568297) on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:26PM (#24474333)
    I bet 99%+ of these are Eees. I've never seen any Linux preinstalled other than those.

    On which note, Amazon, get a bloody move on sending me my Linux 901. It was supposed to be out last month, now you say August 11th?

    • Re:EeePC, anybody? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dice (109560) on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:38PM (#24474459)

      I own a Dell 1420n which came with Ubuntu pre-installed. There are a number of systems [dell.com] that Dell sells like this.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by binarylarry (1338699)
        I'm also a Dell 1420n owner. It's a fantastic machine, I couldn't be happier with mine.
        • Re:EeePC, anybody? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Dice (109560) on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:50PM (#24474565)

          Yeah, I was surprised by the quality of the system. I had expected that Dell would do something brain-dead thus requiring me to re-install Ubuntu, but it was effectively a vanilla install with a couple extra restricted drivers for the video and wifi. I've had mine for almost a year now, going from 7.10 to 8.04 via the update utility and everything is still running great.

          • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Monday August 04, 2008 @08:50PM (#24475047) Homepage Journal

            Yeah, I was surprised by the quality of the system. I had expected that Dell would do something brain-dead thus requiring me to re-install Ubuntu, but it was effectively a vanilla install with a couple extra restricted drivers for the video and wifi.

            You mean wifi on Linux is ready for Aunt Tillie? Oh, no. It can't be. Then all the trolls will have nothing to complain about!

            • by Kjella (173770)

              You mean wifi on Linux is ready for Aunt Tillie? Oh, no. It can't be. Then all the trolls will have nothing to complain about!

              Welcome to the Internet. I see you have a lot to learn about online discussions.

            • by Zackbass (457384) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @01:35AM (#24476673)

              Don't worry, we've always got ALSA to fall back on!

            • by jimicus (737525)

              You mean wifi on Linux is ready for Aunt Tillie?

              Oh, no. It can't be. Then all the trolls will have nothing to complain about!

              No, but only because Tillie isn't a very common name in the UK.

              It may, however, be ready for Aunt Doris.

    • by Foofoobar (318279)
      Dell is selling preinstalled Ubuntu desktops. HP I believe just started selling Ubuntu as well on the desktop.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by spisska (796395)

      On which note, Amazon, get a bloody move on sending me my Linux 901. It was supposed to be out last month, now you say August 11th?

      For what it's worth (if you're in the US), I started looking around for a 901 two weeks ago. From what I could tell from the user forum [eeeuser.com] the Linux 901s were held up at customs in San Francisco until early last week.

      You should be getting yours soon. I'll be ordering mine as soon as I can convince my company to pay for it.

      • by eddy (18759)

        If by customs you mean "Microsoft payola to Asus to give the XP version a head start" then sure... held up in customs. What's the excuse for the UK again, I forget?

    • Right now, an EEE is just about the only thing you can buy at like Best Buy and have it have Linux. But Dell has a lot, but honestly, EEEs aren't that popular, so far I'm the only one I know in real life that has one, though a friend of mine broke her laptop so she is getting one.
  • For How Long? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xanadu-xtroot.com (450073) <xanadu@nosPAM.inorbit.com> on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:26PM (#24474337) Homepage Journal
    I'm a big Linux user, I have been since the mid-ish / later-ish '90s sometime. I do have to ask, though:

    How long do these machines stay running Linux?

    If someone wanted a new and cheap PC, get a Linux one and format c:
    • Re:For How Long? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by meringuoid (568297) on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:29PM (#24474371)
      How long do these machines stay running Linux?

      If, as I speculated above, these machines are Eee PCs, then they probably stay running Linux for all their operational life. The target market for such machines wouldn't know how to reinstall an OS. Wiping a disk and installing Windows, then locating drivers for all the hardware, then setting up firewalls and antivirus... well, that's fine for the hobbyist, but the average user is just going to stick with what's on the system as it arrived. Windows needs to become a lot easier for the end user to configure and install if it's going to become a viable competitor on the mainstream ultraportable.

      • Re:For How Long? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Nursie (632944) on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:36PM (#24474431)

        Actually, with the eee 901s it's probably better than that.

        I know of a fair few folks here that couldn't get the linux 901 (distribution problems apparently) and so eventually caved, bought an XP model and linux'd it.

      • Re:For How Long? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by petermgreen (876956) <plugwash@@@p10link...net> on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:42PM (#24474503) Homepage

        From what I heared at least initially asus supplied instructions for installing windows and a CD full of windows drivers with the linux based EEE.

        I dunno if this has changed since they started selling them with windows.

      • Re:For How Long? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Monday August 04, 2008 @08:43PM (#24475021) Homepage

        If, as I speculated above, these machines are Eee PCs, then they probably stay running Linux for all their operational life. The target market for such machines wouldn't know how to reinstall an OS.

        The manual for the Linux EEE includes very detailed instructions on how to wipe Linux and install XP. (The manual for the Windows EEE does not contain instructions on wiping XP an installing Linux).

        • That is partially because A) EEEs come with Linux by default and B) XP is a whole lot harder to install then Ubuntu. First, the average person who spent extra $$$ for XP usually needs XP for something, someone who bought an EEE with Linux could have just bought it for the price, and are shocked that there is an OS other than Windows.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by julesh (229690)

          The manual for the Linux EEE includes very detailed instructions on how to wipe Linux and install XP. (The manual for the Windows EEE does not contain instructions on wiping XP an installing Linux).

          Presumably because only an idiot would pay £30 extra to get the Windows version then put Linux on it, and they don't want idiots bricking their laptops so that they have to go back to the shop for a reinstall...?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      This is a very valid point, but that doesn't mean everything goes down the tube. It's great marketing. Even if the users never boot into Linux the word still got to them. And I suspect that many who do format and install Windows will at least boot into Linux once or twice and give it a shot. A few may even stick with it when they see it does everything they wanted the cheap PC for anyway.

    • by magunning (1177371) on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:31PM (#24474383)

      How long do these machines stay running Linux? If someone wanted a new and cheap PC, get a Linux one and format c:

      If they try "format c:" then they'll stay running linux for a long time

      • by kesuki (321456)

        but the first joker who replies 'oh you need to "sudo rm -rf" then enter your password...' when they complain that format c: didn't work, will probably wind up with the machine in the trash, if they can't afford to send it to a computer shop, which will charge them $400 to put windows on it, cuz it didn't ship with windows, and thus the user can only reinstall linux, which they probably don't know how to find software for (with sourceforge, or a package manager like adept or synaptics.)

        newbies even say linu

        • by kesuki (321456)

          whoops. forgot the obligatory " /" at the end of the command... it would still do damage in the home directory, but without the " /" it won't render linux completely useless

    • Re:For How Long? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by g0dsp33d (849253) on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:43PM (#24474509)
      Makes up for all the "Vista" machines that are running Linux now. This laptop for example :).

      I would also guess that most of the people who know how to switch operating systems tend to head in the opposite direction of what you suggest.
    • Re:For How Long? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by samtihen (798412) * on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:43PM (#24474511) Homepage

      Nah.

      If you haven't noticed, most computers with Linux installed by default aren't easy to come by. The vast majority of the time you have to go out of your way to get one, and they are rarely any cheaper. In fact, Dell XPS m1330's are routinely more expensive with Ubuntu installed. The exceptions here are the netbooks, of course.

      I'd wager that WAY more XP/Vista boxes get reinstalled with Linux than the other way around.

    • by adona1 (1078711)
      Well, that wouldn't be as cheap as it seemed...an off the shelf copy of Windows runs for more than an OEM copy, IIRC
      • And a pirated version costs nothing ;) And neither does the disk that you got with your old computer that the motherboard fried.
    • by Foofoobar (318279)
      Honestly, I have a couple that had OLD Windows installs on them that I have since installed Linux on. I even bought an Ubuntu installed Dell for my mom and she hasn't been happier.
    • The percentage of these machines that stay running Linux is probably greater than the percentage of machines that stay running Windows.
    • by multisync (218450) *

      If someone wanted a new and cheap PC, get a Linux one and format c:

      Don't you mean mkfs?

      That's actually kind of funny, it's traditionally been the other way around - buy a cheap windows machine and extend it with Linux.

      What are you going to put on that machine? Is the money you save buying it with Linux on it enough to pay for a retail version of Windows?

      • Is the money you save buying it with Linux on it enough to pay for a retail version of Windows?

        No. It is thought that the unregistered shareware installed on a typical national-brand Windows PC subsidizes the price of a Windows OEM license, at least Home Basic if not Home Premium. I can dig up evidence if you want: start by searching for sony fresh start.

    • Re:For How Long? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by burnin1965 (535071) on Monday August 04, 2008 @08:28PM (#24474905) Homepage

      How long do these machines stay running Linux?

      If the customers are anything like the Windows customers they'll be running linux until the box is dead.

      If they are an out of the ordinary customer who does their own OS installs then it wouldn't make much sense to buy a box with linux pre-installed when you can buy boxes with no OS, or to save even more purchase the parts themselves and build the box.

      I'm sure some of them will end up running Windows but its more likely that it will be due to a want or need to go back to Windows apps rather than going through the trouble to get a cheaper box.

      From what I've seen of vendors that sell Windows and linux boxes there isn't much of a cost benefit to buy the linux box over a Windows box, in fact its not uncommon for the Windows box to often times cost less than a similarly equipped linux box. Its never been fully explained why by the vendors selling the boxes, but its been speculated that they are subsidized by the proprietary software vendors.

      If it does turn out they are being purchased on the cheap and a pirated copy of Windows is installed, oh well, I guess its pay back for me and everyone else who has purchased multiple laptops over the years and being forced to pay a Microsoft tax even though the laptops would be used to run linux.

    • by spisska (796395) on Monday August 04, 2008 @08:32PM (#24474931)

      If someone wanted a new and cheap PC, get a Linux one and format c:

      What's a 'c:'?

    • Sure, for the people who can actually install an OS that would be great, but for the rest of the population who don't even know how to install Ubuntu, let alone XP, I think that they would pay $50 something to have it installed.

      My guess is most stay Linux, however, I bet a lot of the ones pre-installed with Windows change to Linux.
    • Erm.. If its a linux box, you can't format c:.. There is no c:, perhaps you mean /dev/sda1?
  • by sleeponthemic (1253494) on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:29PM (#24474365) Homepage

    1. Find Marketing research company willing to give arbritrary statistic that surprises and enchants.

    2. Write article citing (blaming) the marketing firm several times without really covering credentials.

    3. PPPPPPPPPPPPPPP*cough*rofit

  • by BitterOldGUy (1330491) on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:31PM (#24474391)
    them before they existed? If something is pre-installed as apposed to installed, does that mean it was installed before the installation?

    If I have to report a pre-existing condition to the insurance company, I wouldn't have to report anything because all I have is existing conditions, if any.

    But, if I do have any pre-existing conditions, that means I had them before they existed, which means I had them before I was born, and therefore...I've gone cross eyed.

  • by bjorniac (836863) on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:33PM (#24474403)

    Looking at the data, they just picked the lowest and highest points to get the factor. This is not indicative of an overall trend - I could pick March to March and say it had gone from 0.3% to 0.6% a factor of 2, not 28 - indeed from March to June of 07, things went DOWN by a factor of three...

    Anyone not trying to fool themselves should really do some kind of best fit line and see that it's going at about 0.1% per month (number guessed). Yes, we're linux is making progress, and it's good, but let's be honest at least with ourselves about how much progress is actually being made.

    • by Kjella (173770) on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:43PM (#24474517) Homepage

      No no no. Linux market share is booming! If your product isn't Linux-capable, you're going to get ditched on the sidelines. If your hardware doesn't work on Linux you're going broke any day now. Everybody, it's time to invest in Linux companies, this is the new dotcom era. Buy buy buy!

      (Hey, while many made and lost a lot of money on the dotcom thing it sure got everything and everybody online. I'd be happy to see the same happening to Linux...)

    • by s4ltyd0g (452701)

      I haven't looked at the data but you can now buy from a number of different vendors, laptops and PCs with GNU/Linux pre-installed on them. Compare this situation with the one 3 years ago. Even if what you say is true and we are making little progress, it is nonetheless highly visible.

      Microsoft's error in not predicting the potential market size for small, low cost systems running a full featured OS, is to everyone else's advantage and we will all progress because of it.

      regards
      p.

      • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday August 04, 2008 @08:21PM (#24474847) Homepage
        Microsoft's error in not predicting the potential market size for small, low cost systems running a full featured OS, is to everyone else's advantage and we will all progress because of it.

        MS is terrible at predicting computing trends; hell, they failed to predict the INTERNET. However, they usually manage to come up from behind and eventually dominate the market. Look at how Windows CE eventually beat Palm.
        • by ColdWetDog (752185) * on Monday August 04, 2008 @11:36PM (#24476045) Homepage

          MS is terrible at predicting computing trends; hell, they failed to predict the INTERNET. However, they usually manage to come up from behind and eventually dominate the market. Look at how Windows CE eventually beat Palm

          Bah, CE didn't kill Palm - Palm killed themselves. Don't ascribe to malice what can be attributed to incompetence. Unfortunately, as a general concept your correct (even if you meant Windows Mobile or whatever else they're calling it this week).

          But Palm has no one to blame but themselves ... (cuddles the T|X so it doesn't get too upset).

        • by jimicus (737525)

          Look at how Windows CE eventually beat Palm.

          Then use Windows CE and wonder how it ever beat anything.

    • They picked the launch date of Vista to the public, January 2007, and the most recent month they have numbers for. Does seem like they carefully chose numbers from anywhere, that's exactly the way I'd expect this study to be done, and their claim is exactly true to the word.

      Of course the way you chose those number is obviously suspect, namely that is raises the question "Why isn't he including the data back to Vista's launch data?"

      • Does seem like they carefully chose numbers from anywhere, that's exactly the way I'd expect this study to be done

        Damn, meant to be doesn't

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:33PM (#24474413)

    It's probably more like 18% everywhere else in Europe. England is the most conservative and Windows-fixated backarse of Europe.

    FFS, this is the same country that made Bill a Knight. Same goes for Firefox market share

  • Linux will grow (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kipman725 (1248126) on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:38PM (#24474465)
    Once people see you running linux they get curious, my crappy laptop running debian gets more looks than all the shiny apples. Slowly converting those around me aswell, also I increasingly find that lots of software is linux only or works better in linux. Also programing is much easier in linux at least for my hobbyist C programs.
    • Re:Linux will grow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by meringuoid (568297) on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:50PM (#24474573)
      I increasingly find that lots of software is linux only or works better in linux.

      I think it's a cultural thing.

      Whenever I have something reasonably complex in mind to do in Windows (let us say... some kind of manipulation of PDF files), and I think 'Somebody must surely have programmed this already - I'll check online!' - I find pages upon pages of applications promising to do just as I wish, but they're all crippleware, non-functional unless I pay somebody money for them. Or they're riddled with advertising, or worse. Because every Windows programmer who has faced this problem has found a solution and immediately had fantasies of making a million selling software on the internet.

      Whereas when the same notion strikes in Linux, the results are all free software, and far more functional than the Windows shareware shite, because some hacker in the past has faced the same problem as me, and has published his solution to the community.

      Windows programmers hoard their creations and try to make money from them, and no one programmer can really benefit much from the work of any other. Linux hackers release their creations freely, and every hacker can improve and build upon the work of any other. Small wonder then that in order to get any decent software on Windows, one must either pay a licence fee to a corporation and sell one's soul to an EULA, or hope to hell that some software from the Unix world has been ported across.

      • Whereas when the same notion strikes in Linux, the results are all free software, and far more functional than the Windows shareware shite, because some hacker in the past has faced the same problem as me, and has published his solution to the community.
        .

        He has also ported his solution to Windows - assuming it did not begin as a native Windows app.

      • Commercial software distributors are more like Hollywood producers or studio heads, producing (they hope) popular stuff for profit. F/OSS software authors (who act as their own distributors) are more like academicians publishing scholarly findings, new and elegant math proofs, and the like.

        Whose stuff do you want to depend on, the producer's? Or the professor's? Who is more likely to produce quality, intelligent work and a benefit for humanity?

      • Despite what others have written in reply, I completely agree with you.

        Sure, people need to make money. That's fine. I found my niche, and I make a good living.

        That being said, I also contribute to a few open source projects and am in the process of preparing my projects (including my money-maker) for release under the GNU GPL. Essentially it's a web CMS platform... I run some private servers and build sites/e-stores/etc for local businesses. There's a few projects where I cannot release specific parts of t

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by NickFortune (613926)

        Windows programmers hoard their creations and try to make money from them, and no one programmer can really benefit much from the work of any other. Linux hackers release their creations freely, and every hacker can improve and build upon the work of any other

        And it's not just the software. Do a bit of googling to find out how to apply an emerging technology or methodology. If your target platform is Windows, chances are you'll find a couple of dozen teaser blogs by MS MVPs all pimping their latest book.

      • by Bert64 (520050)

        I have many such utilities installed on several linux machines, and make quite heavy use of them...
        I do wonder how much it would cost to find commercially available replacements for everything i use, and if those replacements would be as good.

  • by notgm (1069012) on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:50PM (#24474571)

    it seems like only yesterday, penetration was only at 2.7%. my, how time flies.

  • Ugghhh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Karem Lore (649920) on Monday August 04, 2008 @07:52PM (#24474593)
    When I got my work laptop back in january I struggled for about a month with Windows XP (let alone Vista) SP3 before installing Suse Linux. My productivity has gone up, my boot-up time is not longer than my morning shower, and I just find it so easy to use.

    I of course have a couple of niggles but that is due to hardware and their drivers not 4 Linux kind of situation (my printer)...

    Having said that, I wouldn't have enough space here to list my issues with Windows.

    I do use Vista (and like it) on my family home PC. Good for games, browsing (no better than Linux) and using my printer...

    I use a Windows VPC in my Windows Vista for doing specific test cases for my work (I have still to figure out vmware with Suse 11) but other than that I am Linux all there way...

    So, I as a consumer for my business laptop will, from now, be asking for linux pre-installed. It is by far the most convenient O/S to date for my business needs...no doubt in my mind. Karem

  • by westlake (615356) on Monday August 04, 2008 @08:56PM (#24475089)
    It seems that the percentage of systems pre-installed with Linux has gone up 28 times since Vista shipped, from 0.1% in January 2007 to 2.8% last June
    .

    So what are the numbers for Vista?

    The picture isn't quite as cheering for the geek if pre-installs are 97% Vista and 3% Linux

    - - - that 3% gain is mostly at the expense of XP at End-of-Life and visible only at the very bottom of the OEM market.

    To put it another way - the numbers look less impressive if pre-installs of Vista Premium are growing at the rate of 1% month and Linux BASIC 3% every 18 months.

    • by clang_jangle (975789) * on Monday August 04, 2008 @09:53PM (#24475405) Journal
      That's just silly. The numbers (if accurate) are very good news for Linux, considering the bazillions of dollars MS has put into pushing Vista. Of course their numbers are higher! Besides, every customer who goes home with a Vista box is an excellent candidate for using Linux in the future.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jeremyp (130771)

        No, actually the numbers don't mean anything. Of course there's going to be a steep rise of any new product just after its introduced as it goes from 0% to anything%. The important thing is that the growth must be sustained.

        What if most of the 2.8% are people who would previously have bought a Windows PC and wiped it to put Linux on? It would mean Linux's installed base is not going up. Once they've all recycled their old PCs, the market share would them stay static. If it stays static at 3%, companies

  • I bought a Lenovo with Suse on it because I have an MSDN subscription and didn't want to pay for a license I already have. I imagine that more than a few of the Linux installs are just to avoid duplicate Windows licenses.

  • day by day... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by darkheart22 (909279)
    Day by day linux is gaining ground. Vista are awful but they have one very important strength. Games and directx 10. If only linux had some support from the game companies the rates will grow for linux.
  • by Fri13 (963421) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @03:17AM (#24477059)

    So the market machine got now first numbers, what are still very low rated against the real amount of the Linux usage.

    In Finland, I see mostly Windows machines with XP version on them, but the second OS what is used, is Linux. Apple has it own market share but there is no much those machines than Linux.
    By just viewing the market share, I would say that Windows has 70-75% market share (if not even under 60%!) when Linux has 15-20% and Apple has rest.

    The problem is that Linux OS market is shared even for smaller pieces by every distribution what is used, Ubuntu might has almost 20-30% market share of Linux OS but Mandriva and OpenSuse is behind very tightly, if not even over Ubuntu.
    This does not reflect the hard evidence data (and other areas than southern Finland), but just what _I_ see on schools, companies and privat users, age range 15-85 (I have 52 privat customers from what only 13 has Windows XP and 7 has Vista, rest has Mandriva or OpenSuse).
    Almost every University what teach IT, will teach at least Linux basics.
    In my University, every new IT student on that year got Laptop (112 students) (Acer Travelmate 5720) what had first Vista Business installed on it. They leaved 20Gb un-partioned space to end for Linux installation, and gave permission to install owner wanted distribution if they wanted, but Mandriva was installed after few weeks when the new version came out. And the Windows is used on the Win32 coding lessons but when are on network/java/C++ etc lessons, almost all use just Linux on those because it is easier, those few who dont use, has deleted the Linux partitions for ganining more space for Windows side.
    Now new students who starts this year, they get same thing too.

    I just dont believe at all those Linux 0.1-3% market shares studies because what I see, is totally different. I hope next year when I go to Brazil, I see even bigger adoption of Linux there than on Finland.

  • ... because I made a bet with a friend of mine in a café that in five years Windows marketshare on the desktop would be equal to- or below twenty percent when I was kinda drunk.

    Oh and I've bet for 300 euro's (about 500 dollars)

    Take into account: Apple growth rate (specificaly laptops), Linux growth rate (Eee pc, Acer dumping Windows (yes read that again), Ubuntu acceptance) and the next version of Windows with more bloat, DRM and zero backwards compatibility.

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