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Ubuntu Businesses Linux Business Linux

Ubuntu Will Soon Ship On 5% of New PCs 441

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the and-they-say-gnu-on-the-desktop-will-never-happen dept.
An anonymous reader writes with an excerpt from Phoronix: "Chris Kenyon, the VP of sales and business development for Canonical, just spoke this afternoon at the Ubuntu 12.10 Developer Summit about what Canonical does with OEMs and ODMs. He also tossed out some rather interesting numbers about the adoption of Ubuntu Linux. Namely, Ubuntu will ship on 5% of worldwide PC sales with a number of 18 million units annually."
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Ubuntu Will Soon Ship On 5% of New PCs

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  • Finally (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday May 07, 2012 @08:27PM (#39922385)

    All i can say is "about time". It's nice to see this happening just before the UEFI change-over as well to help ensure than Microsoft doesn't lock out other OS options, or at least there's a token commercial opposition. I'm not a fan of Canonical's Unity desktop, but I know some people are, and it definitely looks (and acts) better than 'Metro''. Overall, Canonical's timing could have been a bit better, but it could have been worse. Just before the change-over to a questionable version of Windows, and after a couple of fairly major OS X scares is a decent time to get some advertising in place.

    • Re:Finally (Score:5, Informative)

      by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Monday May 07, 2012 @09:13PM (#39922773)

      It's nice to see this happening just before the UEFI change-over as well to help ensure than Microsoft doesn't lock out other OS options,

      Why so worried about this? Microsoft's own hardware certification [microsoft.com] process requires this is not the case on x86 systems. Page 116:

      MANDATORY: On non-ARM systems, the platform MUST implement the ability for a physically present user to select between two Secure Boot modes in firmware setup: "Custom" and "Standard". Custom Mode allows for more flexibility as specified in the following:

      a) It shall be possible for a physically present user to use the Custom Mode firmware setup option to modify the contents of the Secure Boot signature databases and the PK.
      b) If the user ends up deleting the PK then, upon exiting the Custom Mode firmware setup, the system will be operating in Setup Mode with Secure Boot turned off.
      c) The firmware setup shall indicate if Secure Boot is turned on, and if it is operated in Standard or Custom Mode. The firmware setup must provide an option to return from Custom to Standard Mode which restores the factory defaults.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Nerdfest (867930)

        What I would prefer is that the key be provided so i could sign any other OS.

        • Re:Finally (Score:5, Informative)

          by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday May 07, 2012 @09:56PM (#39923083) Journal

          Providing the signing key that's used for Windows would completely defeat the purpose of secure boot as anti-malware tool, since any malware could then be signed with it and work out of the box.

          Instead, the way it works is that you generate your own key, sign your bootloader with that, and add it to the signature database - this was covered by this item in GP's post:

          It shall be possible for a physically present user to use the Custom Mode firmware setup option to modify the contents of the Secure Boot signature databases and the PK.

      • Re:Finally (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 07, 2012 @10:28PM (#39923285)

        What about ARM systems?

        • by gparent (1242548)

          On ARM systems MS locks it down just cause, at least that is what is portrayed at the moment.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by hairyfeet (841228)

            They lock it on ARM for the same reason Google does it with ChromeOS, because if you can just bypass the boot security on a mobile device ALL security is as easy to bypass as "Hey want a free copy of "Plants VS Zombie" well just run this!" which then installs itself into the boot and ur pwned.

            What I want to know is what kind of assurance is Canonical gonna provide to the OEMs. Are they gonna guarantee they won't screw the drivers in the main branch like they did with Dell [theinquirer.net] or are these OEMs gonna have to do

            • Re:Finally (Score:5, Informative)

              by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @03:13AM (#39924739)

              They lock it on ARM for the same reason Google does it with ChromeOS, because if you can just bypass the boot security on a mobile device ALL security is as easy to bypass as "Hey want a free copy of "Plants VS Zombie" well just run this!" which then installs itself into the boot and ur pwned.

              What's interesting about the Microsoft associates on this site is how ignorant they are about computing, even their own operating systems.

              There's this principle of having different execution contexts which is implemented (among other places) in the NT kernel at the heart of Windows operating systems. This is just as applicable in a mobile environment under ARM as anywhere else. You can mark one context as "administrator" which has access to the boot loader and another context as "user" which doesn't. This means that even if the user runs the "Plants VS Zombie" trojan it will not be able to take over the system, just the single user account. You can then provide a simple "restore to defaults" function which restores the user's account or even you can provide a proper anti-virus solution which runs in the administrator context but cleans up the user's context. This allows us to set up concept known as "defence in depth" [microsoft.com] where there is more than one layer of security protecting your system and you can even opt out of certain security features that aren't suitable for your application without compromising your overall security.

              The great thing about using multiple execution contexts is this is that it can even be layered over a secure boot mechanism which is part of why Google ChromeOS is able to have a secure boot mechanism and still allow you to take total control of your system safely. Some systems like Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora even provide multiple security contexts within one user context through advanced mechanisms like SELinux. For normal users this works out of the box, but if you want to achieve special effects there can be some considerable time investment. I'd advise you to install a new version of Fedora and spend the next ten years or so building custom secure execution environments so that you can keep yourself entertained for life.

          • Re:Finally (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @03:32AM (#39924853)

            The problem is, Microsoft and much of the rest of the computer industry see it the other way around: The PC x86 platform is open because of the "mistake" IBM made in 1981, and MS and rest will do their best to avoid that "mistake" to their bottom line again (or so their short-term thinking goes). The tradition of interchangeable extension cards, CPUs, RAM, etc. is the exception. Look pretty much anywhere else, and it's "not invented here", and competing standards all over. The phone industry couldn't even agree on a common charger plug before it was mandated upon them by EU law.

            So what does the future look like? Well, no need to look through a crystal ball, just look out the window: Patent lawsuits over mundane stuff like slide-to-unlock and rounded corners. Google buying a complete company (Motorola), not because they want to sell phones, but because of the "patent war chest". Full break-down in innovation: Just go to any smart phone section in your local mall today, and it's a long row of almost identical devices. Slabs with ever bigger touch screens, which are less hackable than any IBM PC ever was.

            Back to the BIOS lock-down issue, it is not unreasonable to expect that the IBM PC platform will diminish over time. Laptops are already outselling desktops, and phones are shipping in similar numbers. It might not be ARM which takes over everything, but x86 will surely fade at some point. And when that day arrives, MS and the rest will say: "Well, it's not x86, so we can screw you over any way we like".

            As for the apologetic losers around here, who defend these practises, and toss away our freedom like it was leftover food; most of them are shills, astroturfers, or employees of said companies already. They will keep their cosy jobs and wonder what the big freedom fuss was about.

      • The main problem with UEFI is that it is so complex and bug-ridden that the only use for it is going to be preventing the removal of malware. If ever there was a system that needed to be "so simple there are obviously no errors" it is this one, but instead we have an implementation that is larger than the Linux megalithic kernel.
        Oh, and the future is not going to be X86, and Microsoft blatantly attempting to lock out all other OSes on other hardware.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        So no worries then?

        I find it hard to believe Ubuntu Linux PCs have the same penetration as Apple Mac PCs. I'm doubting the accuracy of this "5%" claim.

    • Re:Finally (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Pav (4298) on Monday May 07, 2012 @09:26PM (#39922869)

      So the users that reject the "rock" get to find the "hard place"? This isn't the way to differentiate yourself.

      Some time ago I made the mistake of recommending Ubuntu to some friends wanting to ditch Vista on their laptop, but this was right before the window-controls debacle. I give them credit for persisting until Unity, but last time I saw them they'd gone back to Vista (and will probably buy a Win7 laptop before 8 comes out). I guess Vista actually looks good after experences like these - "Ubuntu? Wrong way, go back!"

      • by mspohr (589790)

        Just replaced Vista with Ubuntu for my Mom. Works great. She loves it.

      • by couchslug (175151)

        Ubuntu has been doing all it can....to make Mint a popular alternative...

        I don't recommend Linux to anyone but geeks.

        I don't need to get blamed for user disappointment. Many people just accept Windows problems because at least they are familiar...

      • Re:Finally (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @12:40AM (#39924067)

        Unity was crap. The iterative improvements they've made after the gnome3 change-over have brought it miles from where it was.

        You can keep crying about how Ubuntu ought to go back to the Windows 95 arrangement, but I'm rather glad they don't hogtie themselves over the usual luddite whining.

        There are lots of other distros for people like you. Go use them, and stop bothering the rest of us.

  • The best part... (Score:5, Informative)

    by TWX (665546) on Monday May 07, 2012 @08:27PM (#39922387)
    ...isn't that a preconfigured OS is installed on the computer. It's that a computer is sold with all of its hardware functional in Linux, so when one buys one of these, one can wipe the vanilla install off, if one chooses, and install one's own favorite distribution and know everything will work.

    The other obvious benefit is no Microsoft tax. Even if Ubuntu gets some money, as opposed to the OS being truly fiscally free, at least that money goes to an entity that has a vested interest in improving Linux.
    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      I've actually had very good luck with Ubuntu functionality. The only thing that caused me any real trouble was a RALink wireless card, and it was eventually well supported in later releases. This is across about 10 laptops, mainly quite low-end. I may have just been lucky, but everything but that card worked right out of the box. For a couple of things, there was some tweaking that could be done afterwards (proprietary graphics drivers, etc), but stuff did work to an acceptable level.

    • by kiwimate (458274)

      a computer is sold with all of its hardware functional in Linux

      That is compelling to me. One of the biggest impediments to me running Linux (as someone who no longer really cares about building my own systems) is the impression I get that putting Linux on a system is a game of chance, especially when it comes to sound, or networking, or multiple monitors. If I know I can buy a system that's pre-loaded, guaranteed to work with all components, and supported, then a significant barrier has just been removed.

      • Re:The best part... (Score:5, Informative)

        by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday May 07, 2012 @09:23PM (#39922841)

        There are quite a few computer vendors that offer Linux options at purchase... Google around. Here's a list, for example: http://linuxpreloaded.com/ [linuxpreloaded.com]. I'm sure that a few of them ship internationally too. I suppose the main drawback is that the price is still steeper cause of shipping, but that's life....

        • Okay, serious question: does anyone sell a full-sized Linux laptop (or even a Windows laptop that is known to play well with Linux) with a centered trackpad? Every once in a while I think about getting off the Apple treadmill and buying a commodity PC laptop to run Linux on, and what keeps stopping me is the fact that damn near every PC laptop larger than a netbook has a trackpad shifted way the hell over to the left. I've tried using a few of these machines and they just seem like a bad case of RSI wait

          • https://www.system76.com/laptops/ [system76.com] both those have centered trackpads. The x220 (which I have) runs archlinux fine (save for having to add 1 line to rc.local.shutdown if you use laptop-mode-tools), but the x220 does have a windows tax.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by exomondo (1725132)

            Every once in a while I think about getting off the Apple treadmill and buying a commodity PC laptop to run Linux on

            How come? Apple laptops are just commodity PC hardware these days anyway, what's the actual issue you have with the Apple laptops? I haven't installed Ubuntu on a mac since my 2007 imac and even then things went pretty smoothly from what i remember.

      • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

        That is compelling to me. One of the biggest impediments to me running Linux (as someone who no longer really cares about building my own systems) is the impression I get that putting Linux on a system is a game of chance, especially when it comes to sound, or networking, or multiple monitors. If I know I can buy a system that's pre-loaded, guaranteed to work with all components, and supported, then a significant barrier has just been removed.

        Ubuntu, at least in 12.04 just did a perfect update form 11.04 for me. This was on a Toshiba Satellite around 4 years old, that was running Vista. Everything just worked, actually better than the Vista install, given that the "Toshiba Flash cards" app never worked in Vista, and updates always tried to turn it back on.

        I think that some times people either try to install linux on a system that is either too new, or too old. When I first got the Satellite, it took me a week before I decided that I needed to

    • It's that a computer is sold with all of its hardware functional in Linux

      You should be careful. I used to assume that this was true; however, when I bought my dell mini10 with ubuntu preinstalled a couple years ago it had some propriatary video junk that still barely works, and lacks 3D hardware suport. Look up Intel poulsbo.

    • Ya... be careful with that "all of its hardware functional in Linux" thing. OEMs are often not so good about that. You can get a computer with Linux on it and discover it is rather a disaster. Sometimes it is hardware that flat out doesn't work but more often it is shit that is flaky or doesn't support all the features of the hardware. It "works" and that is all they'll guarantee. Particularly when it is shit like 3D support they'll have some weak-ass excuse as to why software-only Mesa support is what they

    • by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Monday May 07, 2012 @11:27PM (#39923645)

      Speaking of "no Microsoft tax" I'm curious how many of those 5% of computers will be running windows in less than a year? People will go with the cheap option then get a pirated copy of windows.

    • by isorox (205688) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @05:49AM (#39925409) Homepage Journal

      ...isn't that a preconfigured OS is installed on the computer. It's that a computer is sold with all of its hardware functional in Linux, so when one buys one of these, one can wipe the vanilla install off, if one chooses, and install one's own favorite distribution and know everything will work.

      I'm no windows expert, however I recently had to build a windows machine as the other windows machine, running skype, had some broken problem, and I was only in the country for another day.

      Took a recently decommissioned ubuntu machine, found a CD rom drive, and put windows 7 on. The machine is from about 2009, just before windows 7 came out.

      After the long tedious install I found that the network card didn't work, and the graphics were stuck in 800x600.

      A look (from my linux laptop) online revealed you have to download "drivers" to make hardware work? Windows gave little clue as to the type of graphics or network card, however I eventually found the equivalent of lspci, and managed to find the pci-id (using my linux laptop again). Finally found the motherboard manufacturer, only to be told this motherboard had something like "boxed support", and I couldn't download the driver.

      As time was running out and I had a plane to catch I had to give up. I'm now going to have to fly half way round the world again to fix the mess.

      Moral of the story? If you want something to just work, just slap a recent ubuntu on.

      Windows is only $300 if your time is free.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 07, 2012 @08:28PM (#39922403)

    Can I get my money back if I install another better operating system such as Windows 7?

  • Content? (Score:5, Informative)

    by clinko (232501) on Monday May 07, 2012 @08:32PM (#39922441) Homepage Journal

    This is the whole article without side-notes, Braced comments and not in the summary:

    - Eight to ten million units shipped last year world-wide.
    - Canonical will be opening their first Beijing office this year.
    - Last year Ubuntu shipped on 7.5 billion dollars worth of hardware.

    • by cupantae (1304123)

      Mentioned in TFA. I think it depends on where it's bought, though. If 5% of computers were sold with Ubuntu in most European countries, for example, I doubt a huge portion of those buyers would have the balls to install pirated Windows on top. The price difference just wouldn't be enough to encourage it.

      And I would argue that lack of ability or will to install an OS is one of the main reasons Linux isn't more widespread on the desktop.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      Why bother? The cost of Windows to a hardware vendor is negligible. Add in what they can earn from crapping up a PC with shovelware and they actually get paid for putting Windows on a machine.

      If you think you are actually saving money with that approach then you are just stupid.

      Although with Windows users that kind of comes with the territory.

  • This is actually totally believable. I have encountered more random people running Ubuntu than anything else. Random non-geek people. Seriously. In fact, I've never encountered non-geek people running any other distribution.

    It isn't a huge number, but it's not insignificant. 5% is very believable.

    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      I've had quite a number of friends and cow-orkers convert and most prefer it to Windows. I make sure to show them the alternate desktop managers though, and most seem to prefer Gnome 2 or Gnome-shell over Unity. I think there are a couple that run Mint as well. After using Linux for a month or so the consensus seems to be that it is actually easier to use than Windows. They're both about the same for the really simple stuff, but anything beyond that in Windows had been getting more difficult to do with each

      • by maugle (1369813)
        PC gaming seems to be on the decline, so rather than Steam, I'd say the biggest obstacles to widespread Ubuntu (and Linux in general) usage are the lack of iTunes and Netflix streaming.
        • Actually, Steam is coming to Linux. And there has been a lot of pressure on Kickstarter projects to support Linux. And the Humble Indie Bundle has shown that Linux people are even more willing to pay for their games than Windows people. So I'm hopeful that will change soon. It's starting to be seen as a platform rather than a toy by the people who make games.

    • Well, obviously not more than Windows or OSX. But certainly more than AmigaOS.

  • by GrandCow (229565) on Monday May 07, 2012 @09:20PM (#39922815)

    Side Note #2: Kenyon didn't comment on what percentage of these Ubuntu-loaded PC sales still have users where they run Ubuntu, or namely the actual Ubuntu user count globally. The OEM/ODM count also obviously doesn't count those that install Ubuntu manually or obtain Ubuntu installations via other means. On the down side, when I talk with OEMs and others about Linux pre-loads, I commonly here a "significant percentage" of these Linux pre-loaded systems usually get wiped by their customers and replaced with pirated copies of Windows -- especially in the Asian markets, where customers are just going after the Linux PCs due to the lower sales cost.

    On one hand I'm glad that there are other choices, but I wonder what the actual number of purchases just to wipe and install the latest pirated version of Windows is.

  • by mdgreene (2633951) on Monday May 07, 2012 @09:33PM (#39922913)
    Good for the author (Michael Larabel) for highlighting the issue being seen in the Asian markets where these machines are being wiped and installed with pirated Windows as soon as they arrive at the customer. I am willing to bet as many as 4.9% of these PCs are wiped for Windows by the customer.
  • by bryan1945 (301828) on Monday May 07, 2012 @09:34PM (#39922925) Journal

    That is all.

  • While I have issues running the 12.04 distribution, most people don't seem to have any problem. From what I've seen of it, the UI has been substantially cleaned up and a lot of configurability has been implemented. From a performance standpoint, I saw up to a 30% improvement in the runtimes of some key utilities I tested over the course of a weekend compared to 10.04.1, with absolutely no investment in hardware upgrades what so ever.

    I didn't do enough testing before nuking the partition to determine if

  • by FudRucker (866063) on Monday May 07, 2012 @10:06PM (#39923139)
    ubuntu is only pre-installed on low end PCs in places like Brazil & Mexico, China and other places where the cost of the PC is whittled down so bare-bones low that even OEM MS_Windows installs are cost prohibitive, but you can count on pirated copies being printed up on CDr sold out of disposable alleyway shacks
  • I Like Unity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by conner_bw (120497) on Monday May 07, 2012 @10:32PM (#39923313) Homepage Journal

    I've been an OS X user since 2003. A Ubuntu 10.04 LTS for a few months, and a 12.04 LTS user since April 27th.

    I use Linux at work on desktop. I decided to upgrade. I like it. 10.04 is terrible in retrospect.

    Seriously, in 12.04 you put your left hand on the super key, read the pop up, force yourself to learn a few shortcuts and in a couple of hours it feels like OSX but slightly less idiotic.

    Sure, there are glitches and annoyances, but my next computer after ~10 of Mac is a Linux box.

    Someone is doing something right.

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      Forgive me if I take the testimony of a abused user more or less saying "this sucks less"

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Forgive me if I take the testimony of a abused user more or less saying "this sucks less"

        We forgive you. Where did you take it?

        We're ALL abused users. GNOME vs. KDE anyone? And the older-school users are simply more abused. Who can forget openlook or CDE?

    • by Fri13 (963421)

      And how OS X is idiotic?

      Did you know that Canonical have not invented anything new in Unity but just making everything even more limited (shortcuts and all of those) when compared over decade old shortcuts and functions of mainstream desktops?

    • My main problem is having multiple of the same program open, ie. 6 terminals. I can't work out how to select the one I want, Alt-tabbing (or alt `) shows them as small previews but terminals look very similar, and the title bar on the bottom even more so if you have multiple ssh sessions open. Previously I just knew positionally on the task bar which was which.

      Has anyone else found a way to work round this? I'm starting to get far too frustrated and am close to switching to XFCE.
  • by Myopic (18616) * on Monday May 07, 2012 @11:05PM (#39923527)

    Yeah, it's about time this happened, considering 2003 was the year of Linux on the desktop.

  • by rust627 (1072296) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @05:05AM (#39925235)

    5%, Does this mean that 2012 is the year of Linux on the desktop ?

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