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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?

  • 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: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.

  • 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

  • Re:Hit me! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by muszek (882567) on Monday August 04, 2008 @08:35PM (#24474959) Homepage

    Before Dell started pre-installing Ubuntu last year (announced ~Feb, selling since ~May, don't quote me), the pre-installed market share was probably less than 0.1%.

    I haven't RTFA, but if it's really true, it is a big deal.

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

    by burnin1965 (535071) on Monday August 04, 2008 @08:40PM (#24475003) Homepage

    What you call the average user (which I would call the completely clueless user) will never buy a computer with Linux pre-installed, including an Eee PC.

    You may not want to read the ZD Net article [zdnet.com] which mentions the demographics of the linux eeePC users in Taiwan, your AC head may just explode.

    "Retailers and contract manufacturers in Taiwan say that novice PC users there, like students and housewives, tend to buy the Linux version of the Eee PC701, while geeks go for Windows XP."

    And these non-average users who you suspect are pirates buying the linux boxes to I assume install a pirated copy of Windows, that is a stretch. The non-average user is going to buy the parts and build the box themselves as its cheaper and you end up with better hardware.

    After years of people having to pay a Microsoft tax when they are going to buy a computer on which they will run linux its hilarious seeing people post about how the linux boxes will end up running Windows. What a hoot. :)

  • 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).

  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 04, 2008 @10:38PM (#24475711)

    One totally agnostic guy at my job, was encouraged to use Apple products by the System Engineer because it just works by clicking a button. Surely that was a bunch of oversold hype.

    After my experience of transitioning from Slackware to Ubuntu, I felt that it was ready for my non intuitive friends. I told him to try it and guess what? His wife doesn't have a Mac mini, she has Ubuntu. He also runs Ubuntu on the Powerbook the System Engineer lobbied for him.

    Conclusion? Linux is already on the right path, the worse that could be done to Linux, which I see popping up everyday, is to make it feel like a Mac.

    No! Wrong. The Apple way encourages ignorance, and obfuscation so that it could lock in the 1 button click and conquer generation. Those like our sys admin who is lost without Apples GUI.

    Nothing is wrong with a 1 button click. But a user's biggest frustration is when the 1 button click doesn't work; they're feel helpless and clueless.

    Think windows and registry. Apple and its gui, with a non-standard POSIX(?) filesystem layout.

  • 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).

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

    by darkheart22 (909279) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @02:57AM (#24476981)
    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.

  • by JohnFluxx (413620) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @06:00AM (#24477669)

    I installed broadband with O2 and I did seem to need to run the windows setup tool the first time. I think it initialises the wireless broadband router that they send. Without doing the windows setup I couldn't get the broadband router to give me an IP address from linux.

    It _might_ have just been coincidental timing though - it takes a while for them to connect you.

  • Re:For How Long? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by julesh (229690) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @06:03AM (#24477683)

    The non-average user is going to buy the parts and build the box themselves as its cheaper and you end up with better hardware.

    I can get an entry level Eee for under £200 [pcwb.com] from a local high street retailer. There's no way I could build a machine for less than that (at least not without reusing old parts).

    Sure, I'd get better hardware at the end of it, but if the Eee does what I want, why would I bother?

  • by Fred_A (10934) <fred.fredshome@org> on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @07:21AM (#24478007) Homepage

    Conclusion? Linux is already on the right path, the worse that could be done to Linux, which I see popping up everyday, is to make it feel like a Mac.

    I've been running Linux for ages, starting with the very first Slack and bought an iBook G4 (just before the transition to intel, I didn't mind much). I got it because it was a fairly good and inexpensive laptop for the amount of hardware. And I wanted to see what the fuss was about regarding the new Mac OS.
    So I used it as my mobile platform for about a year an a half. Then I gladly bought a Samsung, stuck Ubuntu and KDE on it and now have a much more comfortable environment. I honestly couldn't see what all the excitement was about Mac OS. Apart from the gloss it felt just like Windows. The interface is designed to run a single application, in Tiger the network integration was abysmal and there certainly wasn't anything intuitive about it. It just was relatively pretty.

    From what I've seen the majority (with a few exceptions) of the Unix users I've met in various get togethers appear to feel that way.

  • by julesh (229690) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @09:04AM (#24478633)

    Don't over use bricking. It has recently been down graded to not being able to bo without doing some "invasive" surgery on your motherboard. (Ranging from JTAG to soldering).

    Actually, I was under the impression that this would be the case for an Eee with a misinstalled OS: they don't support any of the common forms of bootable external media (cdrom, floppy disk), so I would assume that the approach would be to reprogram their onboard flash via JTAG as with most other failed firmware updates.

  • Re:Good News (Score:4, Interesting)

    by koolfy (1213316) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {yflook}> on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @10:32AM (#24479719) Homepage Journal

    assholes like apple and google who take other peoples hard work and commercialize it.

    And where do you think microsoft's products come from ?

    their employees ?

    come on ! be serious..

    Plus, if FOSS has a license to allow companies to use and commercialize their code, it's just a benefit for the overall software level. While this example is not OS, remember the mouse ? The fact that several companies could use that device to enhance user interface (even if it's by copying and stealing) leads the user interface to what we know right now.

    I don't think using other people's code (who permits it.) to enhance one's products is being an asshole (while I disagree with M$ using this strategy to build 80% of their products, or just buy and let patents sleep, and die.). I mean, you know that sharing code is the goal of FOSS, right ?

    Linux distros are a huge pissing contest between egoistical morons who instead of contributing to one distribution fork and rob distros of the already scarce resource - the free developer.

    I don't see why you criticize that.

    OK, they are a much distro's, they are forks, but at the end, how much distro's are powerful enough, user-friendly enough, to get the attention of people ?

    gentoo ? no way normal people choose this by default.

    slackware, debian, and other geek-obscure-freeky systems that lambda users wouldn't even get to boot ?

    In fact, the true is that even with forks, with plenty of distro's and soever users have choice, but no confusion : there is Mandriva (uurk), fedora, and others (like ubuntu, the most known) and if they don't understand the difference between those, they'll choose Ubuntu.

    so what is the problem with distro's ? actually there isn't, the only problem is that the potential power of developers is quite not concentrated in few tasks but in much (having no future-)distro's.

    Nobody is going to ship proprietary commercial bits using apt or whatever crappy management software is out there

    well, if it's commercial, it won't be given free to ubuntu servers, so your statement is pointless. They will ship their softwares in DVDs (or by Steam) with a Linux client (see ID Software, but in a more user-friendly way) and just to let you know, every lambda user I know and saw apt-get working told me several times that it was the greatest way to manage installed softwares they ever saw. IMO it's a Very Good package manager (for a binary distro I mean)

    for sure, I use Gentoo for two years now, have used ubuntu for 2-3 years, Mandrake/mandriva for 2 years, Slackware for one year and suffered windows all before that. I think I have basis knowledge of problems with forks, with package managers and with FOSS realities.

    The services model sucks. The only OSS projects that do well are those that have commercial backing and those that actually pay developers to write quality code.

    sure having full-time paid developers enhances quality and fast development while it's not the only criteria (remember many people doing little stuff being well coordinated can be most efficient than a single well paid developer.). However, if you see a good project and want it to grow, if you REALLY don't want to contribute to the code's development, nor the languages translations, please, don't wait a commercial company to buy and pay the project, just donate money (not much). You see, companies are not the only ones having the possibility to pay developers. People too. And much people giving little money can do the difference.

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