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Linux Business

Red Hat Avoids Desktop Linux, Says Too Tough 472

eldavojohn writes "We recently discussed the Linux Foundation's decision to leave desktop Linux alone but Red Hat is also steering clear of that goal. The reason? It's too tough. From the company blog: 'It's worth pointing out what's missing in the list above: we have no plans to create a traditional desktop product for the consumer market in the foreseeable future. An explanation: as a public, for-profit company, Red Hat must create products and technologies with an eye on the bottom line, and with desktops this is much harder to do than with servers.'"
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Red Hat Avoids Desktop Linux, Says Too Tough

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  • Fair enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by locokamil ( 850008 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:53AM (#23103666) Homepage
    Free means that you're free to look out for yourself.

    As long as they don't inhibit other people from making desktop distros, I see nothing wrong with this.
  • Smart move (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pablo_max ( 626328 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:56AM (#23103722)
    Perhaps they understand that most folks, like myself, don't care about the OS, they care about the applications.
  • Re:Desktop Linux (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mdm-adph ( 1030332 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:02AM (#23103814)
    You do know that Microsoft's personal deals with nearly every hardware manufacturer out there has a LOT to do with Windows' general "lack of fuss."
  • Re:Whither Fedora? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:02AM (#23103822)
    why do you think Red Hat spun Fedora off, and have set them up as mostly self sufficient? The personal desktop market isn't profitable when you have to compete against an illegal monopoly. Even with Free software as a base.

    The year of the Linux desktop isn't going to happen. the year of the Linux mobile, the Linux server, and the Linux hand-held computer, however are fast approaching.

    Linux will take the desktop market through the back door. By getting in on every other device first.
  • by deragon ( 112986 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:05AM (#23103864) Homepage Journal
    But in the long run, they might get bitten. Canonical's Ubuntu offer is fantastic. The server/desktop solution is essentially the same. The free version is THE enterprise version. In the Red Hat world, you install Fedora to try it. You find a problem and want support, tough. Scrap the OS and reinstall RHEL to get support from the Vendor. With Ubuntu, you just go and pay for support.

    And corporations like to keep things simple. Why have two distributions (one for the desktops, one for the servers) when one could do the job? This is where Ubuntu outshines.

    I am not too familiar with using Ubuntu on the server side. It lacks support from big ISV such as Rational (IBM) and maybe Oracle. However, since it is Debian derived, I would trust the OS for most server tasks. So while in the past we were more inclined to use RHEL, in my organization we are considering Ubuntu for the server side.

    Red Hat is concentrating too much on the short term. Yes, they should not spend too much money marketing a desktop version or polishing it. Canonical barely does any marketing (ever saw an add from Ubuntu?). But Red Hat should have a presence on the desktop to remain in the race in the long term.

    I have a lot of respect for Mark Shuttleworth (Canonical owner). He has a long term vision and while part of his goal is too be profitable, he also has a social goal.
  • Desktop Linux (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sadsfae ( 242195 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:05AM (#23103878) Homepage
    With a plethora of excellent choices for the Linux desktop available like Ubuntu, Fedora, etc who really cares?

    Red Hat targeting the server market makes more sense, they still support Fedora Project so nothing new to see here.
  • hmm. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by apodyopsis ( 1048476 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:05AM (#23103882)
    The article did not mention it, so I'll state it. Truth is that they are being spanked by Ubuntu and are forced to move to server in order to survive. As always, its hard to make a business in selling something people can get for free. Not to mention that as Linux get easier and more reliable paying for support seems less attractive.

    Shame though, I used to use RH. before dallying with 'drake, 'diva, and 'dora on the way to (K)Ubuntu. Each to their own though.
  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) * on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:06AM (#23103894) Journal
    The problem with the viability of desktop Linux, and why everyone is so leery of it, is the lack of consumer software for it. True enough, OpenOffice is an admirable effort, and it is getting very close to parity with MS Office. And Firefox / etc. are fine. But there is more to do on these damn machines than write emails, documents, presentations, and spreadsheets.

    What is needed on Linux is the same panoply of software that is at the same level of quality as found on MacOS or Windows. What is missing on Linux:

    1. The Adobe/Macromedia collection of software â" from Photoshop to Dreamweaver to Flash.
    2. A really good video editor (think AVID)
    3. A really good audio/music program (think ProTools and Ableton Live)
    4. A low level video layer (think quickTime/Quartz / WindowsMedia)

    I'm sure there's more. Frankly, NOTHING on Linux rivals the Adobe CS collection. NOTHING on Linux rivals AVID (or even Final Cut Pro). NOTHING on Linux rivals ProTools. Why don't I have a Linux box? Because the above mentioned software packages (and a host of others) are not available on Linux, and the stuff that is similar to it is inferior. If Adobe / AVID / Digidesign / Ableton / etc. ported their stuff over to Linux, I'd get a Linux box in a heartbeat. But until then, I'm going to hang with my MacBookPro, thank you very much.

    And since this is The Truth On The Ground, that's why places like RedHat are hesitant to bother with desktop Linux. They could build it, but there's nothing to do there, and thus no money to be made.


  • Re:Confused ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:11AM (#23103984)
    Red Hat is just being disingenuous. They're really in the business of selling support for a free product to companies who want to run Linux on their servers and still have somebody to yell at when things go wrong. If you think about it, Microsoft isn't really interested in the "desktop" business either - they want to sell to companies, so they can charge full price, (re)sell frequent upgrades, and sign fat support contracts. After the initial sale, there's NO money to be made (either by Red Hat or Microsoft) for the typical "home desktop" machine - there's only headaches to be had from that market.
  • Re:Confused ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:23AM (#23104154)
    What's missing is the finishing off, and the polishing that so many computer geeks seem to miss.

    An example:
    Leopard has a very shiny feature called time machine
    The same thing can be done in Linux in a variety of different ways.

    What's missing then?
    No linux distribution has *one* nicely flagged easy way to do this, that makes the user feel confident about what they're doing. There are no rounded corners, or neat animations to bring up the GUI for it, or beautifully simple browsers with big friendly buttons saying "restore". Even if this did exist, it would probably work in a completely different way to the rest of the system, leaving the user with no confidence that they're doing the right thing.
  • by tomtomtom777 ( 1148633 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:26AM (#23104230) Homepage

    I couldn't disagree more. How many users do you think, are actually using one of these professional tools?

    I think only a few. Most users still use there computer for web browsing, emailing wordprocessing and IM.

    Although it would be nice to have those professional applications ported or seriously replaced with Open Source versions, it's definitely not the BIG problem of Linux on the desktop

  • Re:hmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Constantine XVI ( 880691 ) <`trash.eighty+slashdot' `at' `'> on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:28AM (#23104250)
    RedHat has ALWAYS focused on the server/workstation market. They're not focusing on the desktop because the backroom is what they're best at.
  • Re:Desktop Linux (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:32AM (#23104330)

    But on the desktop, I find that Windows (XP) just works without any fuss. I've tried "desktop Linuces" and found them all pretty clunky for the stuff I wanted to do.
    The problem is not that Gnome or KDE can't match or beat the Windows GUI. I feel this has been the case for quite a while now (especially with Gnome). The problem is that you (and a lot of new Linux users like yourself) are biased towards the system that you're already familiar with.

    I assume you've never needed to use two or more monitors and therefore haven't noticed the lack of multi-monitor support in the Windows GUI? In Windows you can't just place down two taskbars (one for each monitor) like you can in Gnome. Under Windows you also can't drag a fullscreen window from one monitor to another. There are plenty of examples like this where Windows (especially XP) is by far inferior to a typical Gnome desktop.

    With regards to a desktop environment "just working", have you considered the time and expertise required to get Windows XP to open archives (.rar/etc), play movie formats (.flv/etc), read documents (.pdf/etc) and do countless other similar things? If I install Ubuntu which includes Gnome, all of these things "just work". I don't need to be a computer guru and have knowledge of finding, downloading and installing applications, configuring them, updating them when vulnerabilities are found, etc.

    I have used both environments extensively (coming from a familiarity in the Windows environment) and would say that Gnome easily beats the Windows XP experience - especially for new users. Don't confuse familiarity with functionality and usability. Try installing each system from the original CDs and pretend you're completely computer illiterate. Which one is easier to get running, and more importantly, to use?
  • by reallocate ( 142797 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:37AM (#23104482)
    Red Hat means they don't think they can make money selling a retail Linux for use on desktops. That's been their position for several years.

    Whether or not it is possible to put together a collection of Linux software that qualifies a a "desktop" is not at issue.
  • by deragon ( 112986 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:40AM (#23104532) Homepage Journal
    Yes, but if you want support from THE vendor, you won't get it. With Ubuntu, you can install for free and get support from THE vendor. Of course, you probably can get support for CentOS from 3rd parties, but large corporations prefer to get support from THE vendor, i.e. those who actually designed the product in the first place.
  • Re:Whither Fedora? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:50AM (#23104746)
    Um, the year of the linux server was a while back. It's gone past buzzword status and become mainstream practice.
  • Re:Whither Fedora? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @11:09AM (#23105090) Journal
    Sometimes it's about usability, not evangelism. Some people (like those who hate the nvidia binary drivers) would be much better off if they'd just learn that.

    Like when Linus makes a change in the way the kernel works, and the nvidia drivers break, and no one can fix them? Is this the usability you're referring to?

    You can't have usability when someone else is in control and they're not interested in your problems. It's really that simple.
  • by Pros_n_Cons ( 535669 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @11:11AM (#23105114)

    Canonical barely does any marketing (ever saw an add from Ubuntu?)

    Your post was the last time I saw a Ubuntu commercial.
    Fedora isn't a try out of RHEL

    If Ubuntu is taking over Red Hat let me know when all the ISV's certify ubuntu, when it becomes EAL4 certified (if it does you can thank redhat for pushing SElinux into ubuntu), when they are opening more code than any other company, when they have a cert nearly as respectable as RHC*.
    I mean Ubuntu doesn't even contribute to the kernel hardly, or anything else for that matter yet they're going to take over? RedHat has been in this game 20 years and wrote more code in there by any company. You think Red Hat has never seen a free alternitive before? Hell they help a couple of them, fedora, whitebox(made a copywrite RPM to simplify clone OS's and supply SRPM instead of clunky source code with embedded copywrites) .

    you should really read [] first. That isn't 2 line bugfixes for drivers either. Skip down to the kernel area.. RedHat is responsible for 13% of the kernel writing, far more than any other company. I'm not sure how much Ubuntu server people have written to the kernel cause it only goes down to 0.8% and they aren't above that.

    Just making the point that before they take over the server how about writing some of it.
  • by AHumbleOpinion ( 546848 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @11:19AM (#23105280) Homepage
    Linux is technically ready for the desktop.

    From an engineering perspective but not from a marketing perspective. What is the easily communicated value that more than overcomes the network effect of Windows' accumulated user knowledge (already knows how to use Windows and Office), file interoperability (nearly everyone else is using office), informal support (family and friends can often help), ...; and overcomes the switching costs of installing Linux (possibly having to pay someone to do it), learning an entirely different operating system and set of applications, a lack of informal support (family and friends still on Windows), ...

    Now a company with support capacity and marketing abilities is needed if we want to see more than a 2% market share

    Look at Macintosh. It is unix based, has a better user interface than Linux, more informal support, a major consumer brand name behind it, MS Office is natively available, ... and it is around 5-6%. Once you have sold a person on leaving Windows you also have to sell them on going with Linux rather than Mac OS X. Consumers have options once they leave Windows, you can not assume they will go to Linux. Even if Linux were more competitive with Mac OS X, Apple's market share suggests that Linux can not really improve it's share much.

    In short, merely being perfectly usable by grandma does not make Linux the viable alternative to Windows from the perspective of an *average consumer*. Our techno babble means nothing to them. Linux needs far more work to justify the switching costs in their eyes.
  • The only compelling reason I have for the everyman is $200.00 (100 for windows + 100 for works).

    I like it personally because it is:
    1) customizable (no broad appeal)
    2) easier to do advanced things, especially for free (hellaNZB, video codecs, Simple DVD authoring)
    3) secure (as in lower profile at the very least)

    I don't think those things appeal at all to the general population though. Afterall, how many even know what a news group is?

    With Ubuntu 7.04 and then especially with 7.10 I have not booted into windows for over 6 months (since 7.10 beta). I would be really hard pressed to recomend Windows to anyone whos computer I will be supporting unless I think they really need something it offers (games for example, I really miss Rome Total War).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:10PM (#23106188)
    The most important lesson from Apple is that you can be successful in many ways (including making lots of money) with a few percent market share. Gauging Linux's success on market share is pointless.

    Who cares if most people use Windows? All we need is enough of a Linux community to ensure a thriving and evolving platform for those who find that Windows and/or OS X does not meet their needs. You can easily achieve that with a market share of 0.5%.

    Please, no more "World Domination" bullshit.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:15PM (#23106282)

    In short, merely being perfectly usable by grandma does not make Linux the viable alternative to Windows from the perspective of an *average consumer*. Our techno babble means nothing to them. Linux needs far more work to justify the switching costs in their eyes.
    Excellent point! This is the real issue - and has been for several years. Forget the "year of the Linux desktop" trolls. The fact that Linux has been "good enough" for quite some time doesn't open the floodgates of users. There's a lot more involved here.

    As another AC in this thread noted:

    When you know something is possible on Windows and you know something is possible on Linux, the first one means YOU can do it, the second one means YOU can probably do it within 72 hours and with the help of some forum posts.

    The underlying issue here is that software and hardware rarely gets targeted at Linux at this point. I'm a long-term Linux desktop user and fan... and I'm still pleasantly surprised when I take a random piece of hardware and it works seamlessly with my desktop (its happening more and more often). I'm shocked whenever a shrinkwrapped app is available for Linux.

    Once this last hurdle is overcome, we'll get acceptance. That's when Linux's "good enough" functionality and low cost really shines.

    If only one wasn't dependant on the other. Of course - this is the same Catch-22 that's been around as long as the "year of the Linux desktop."
  • Re:Me too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by abigor ( 540274 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:18PM (#23106356)
    People don't use operating systems - they use apps. If the apps are there, then people will use whatever OS the computer comes with.

    Linux doesn't have the apps - Quicken? Nope. QuickTax? Nope. Photoshop? Nope. Office? Nope (although CrossOver is pretty good these days). Garage Band? Nope. And on and on and on...

    However, if you are like me and have very simple needs - coding, browsing, email, Skype - then it's fine. I've been using it on the desktop since 1997, although my main desktop is now a Mac, which is the best of all worlds: commercial apps, Unix, and a beautiful, solid desktop.

  • Re:Whither Fedora? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:26PM (#23106488) Journal
    Refusing to be led into a position where other people have leverage over you, even if there is a short term gain that you are missing out on, is not spite. It's wisdom.

    It's the sort of wisdom that lets you avoid having an old crufty box sitting in the corner running DOS because you got yourself into a situation where your deeply entrenched organizational structure depends on software that is not under your control, and it won't run on anything else. Know a few people whose ongoing job is to grapple with that situation.

    Oh, and when something is a commodity, it doesn't get obsolete, and it doesn't change. It's matured beyond the point of being an evolving product. Iron ore, coal, sugar, these are commodities. Inasmuch as your hardware becomes worthless because it grows obsolete, it is not a commodity.

    When people talk about "commodity computer hardware", they're using the word commodity as a metaphor, to illustrate a comparison to other, more specialized hardware. Computer hardware is not actually a commodity.
  • by Crazy Taco ( 1083423 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:45PM (#23106808)

    According to W3Counter, Linux passed 2% in January. If their figures are believable, Linux use has close to doubled in the past nine months.

    So what? Nothing double is still nothing. If you have one user and gain a second, you've doubled, but quite frankly, given the number of users out there, that is neither hard nor impressive. So Linux goes from 1% to 2%. Big deal. It isn't that hard (or notable) to get 1% or 2% of the market (or even 3% or 4%). If you have 45% of computer users, which is probably a billion people, and double that, that's something worth talking about.

    Also note that the people who tend to use Linux are power users, and power users probably make up 5-10% of the population. Linux hasn't even got half of them, further making this statistic fairly pointless.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:59PM (#23107052)
    What I can say is that Ubuntu Works 90% perfect on my Desktop....I consider myself a mini mini mini power user, but I've installed Ubuntu on my Parents Computer, and they almost imediatly started to play with it, and use it on a daily basis, without any problem.
    I Didn't had to teach them nothing

    My Mother was almost a Computer Iliterate with only basic Windows skills.

    I Only need Windows 2% of the time, and maily because some Java Sites don't run very well.

    In my opinion, and excuse "my french" is that "Money Talks"

    And the guys at RED HAT, are only interested on that. I Figured this out went they decided to seperate the Servers....from the desktop distros...when Fedora appeared.

    What they don't realize is that the growing Desktop Linux Community may be the fuel for more Sales on Linux Sales on the server market.
    If desktop Linux would end....a lot os SysAdmins would had tried it out on their spare time at home,....and they bring what they've learn to Work.
  • by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @01:00PM (#23107068) Homepage Journal
    Linux is technically ready for the desktop.

    Nah; it isn't, and it can't ever be. The explanation is straightforward.

    If you look through this or any other discussion of "Is linux ready for the Desktop?", you'll quickly see that the only test is: Can a Windows user start using linux with no learning period, and find that everything is familiar?

    Now, not that this isn't something that is required of Microsoft. If a W98 user goes to buy a new workstation or laptop, they'll find that they can't buy it with W98 any more. They'll have to get Vista (or maybe XP). They'll have to spend a bunch of time learning the bizarre (to them) new Windows GUI. They'll grumble, but they'll do it. And they won't ask "Is Vista ready for the Desktop?"

    The reason is that, like such terms as "Personal Computer", "Windows", and "Office", the term "Desktop" now has a specific meaning. Thus, "Personal Computer" first meant a computer owned and used by one person, but when the Microsoft/IBM partnership got into the act, "Personal Computer" quickly came to mean a computer owned and used by one person, and which runs Microsoft software. Similarly, "Windows" first means a GUI that presented info in those rectangular areas on the screen. Then Microsoft finally implemented windows, and "Windows" means a screen that was controlled by Microsoft software that presented info in those rectangular areas on the screen.

    Way back in the olden days, "Desktop" meant a computer interface (display, keyboard, and eventually mouse) that sat on your desk's top and interacted with a computer (which may have been on the floor next to your desk or in another room down the hall). But now "Desktop" clearly means that gadgetry sitting on your desk's top, and is running a GUI that's exactly like the one that Microsoft has sold to their customers.

    And here's where the problem comes for non-MS vendors. Microsoft has in fact sold dozens of different "Desktop" systems, each with its own peculiar way of interacting with a user. If linux is to be accepted as a "Desktop" system, it must act exactly the way a user's previous Windows system acted. Without the user telling it which Windows he/she has been using. Without any learning on the user's part.

    Short of hardware (and a linux-compatible driver ;-) that reads a user's mind and transmits the user's expectations to the Desktop software, this is clearly not feasible. I'm pretty sure we'd have all heard of mind-reading hardware, if it was in development. Without such hardware, there's no way that a linux system can know what a user expects to see on the screen, or how to use it. And visiting Windows users can be guaranteed to see something that they don't like, because it's different from what their Windows screen shows.

    This whole "Desktop" thing is a euphemism for what in procurement circles is called a "drop dead" requirement. That's for when you've decided on the vendor that is going to supply what you want, but you are required to request bids from other vendors. You make up a requirement list that includes things that your chosen vendor can do exactly as described right now. You carefully phrase the requirements so that the other vendors' products are different in small ways from what you've written. That way, you can quickly point out that only the one vendor actually satisfies the requirements. The tiny details in the other products are "wrong", and unacceptable. Your chosen vendor gets his sale, you get your kickback, and everyone's happy.

    If the linux crowd wants to horn in on Microsoft's territory, they'll have to abandon this "Desktop" metaphor, because that has been thoroughly hijacked by Microsoft. They'll have to find some other language. Maybe persuading users to upgrade to a higher-quality, cheaper system from vendors that won't sue them for reasonable use of their software. That has a chance of succeeding.

    But taking over "the Desktop" on Microsoft's terms ain't gonna happen. It's not possible for linux or any other system to emulate all previous Microsoft GUIs without any user training. And that's what has to be done to take over the Desktop.
  • Re:Me too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drooling-dog ( 189103 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @01:05PM (#23107158)
    Tax prep software... Well, you've got me there (although there's always Wine). On the other hand, OpenOffice and the GIMP more than meet my needs for what others might use MS Office and Photoshop for (although people accustomed to PS often complain about GIMP's interface). Frequently use Pan for Usenet, XMMS for music, mplayer for video, and of course Firefox. Availability of games - or at least the popular, modern ones - may be a problem for those who are into them, but that's not an issue for me.

    Money spent on software in the past 5 years? Zip.

    No spyware, no malware, no crapware, no vendor manipulation, and an OS and apps that belong to you and not the other way around? Priceless!
  • Profit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by T.E.D. ( 34228 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @01:39PM (#23107698)
    They aren't saying its "too tough". They are saying it isn't lucrative enough. Margins in the server world are much better than in the desktop world.
  • by AHumbleOpinion ( 546848 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @01:41PM (#23107738) Homepage
    Easy, virus and malware.

    No. That has been a Linux advantage for *many* years and failed to overcome inertia. The switching costs of Linux exceeds getting AV software and learning not to run things sent to you in email or downloaded from unknown web sites.

    Not having to reinstall the machine every six months is a very important advantage.

    A delusional anecdote. That is not part of the average Windows home user's experience.

    Then we have the licensing costs of windows and applications.

    Largely insignificant when bundled with a new computer, which is where most Windows home users get Word and Excel.

    Then we have the fact that you can't get Windows XP anymore and you will be bringing to his knees any computer that runs Vista. On the other hand, Linux is quite happy with older computers.

    Wrong. I just checked Dell's Home and Home Office channel, they still have a pair of big buttons saying "Configure with Windows Vista" and "Configure with Windows XP". More importantly, few home users upgrade their OS merely because an OS is released, they change OS when they buy their next computer. The older computers argument is a red herring, the older computer works just fine with the version of Windows, Word, and Excel they came with. Hell, I'm still using Office 97 at home.
  • by RiotingPacifist ( 1228016 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @02:16PM (#23108274)
    Pre-installed Windows will cost you about £20 or something ridiculously small, you do have a point about MS works / office, but you can install OpenOffice on windows. Cost may be a good enough reason for somebody who is building their own PC, but if your building a pc your already enough of a geek to run Linux or just crack windows.

    I suppose we could try and get those geeks that crack windows to switch but they'll probably get whatever your selling for free anyway, so they're is no money in it.
  • by AHumbleOpinion ( 546848 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @02:43PM (#23108690) Homepage
    Having to buy new hardware is a gigantic hurdle to take just to switch to another operating system.

    No it is not, buying a new computer is exactly where most people get new operating systems. Few home users upgrade the OS on old machines. The same will be true for migration to Linux, the easiest point to get someone to switch is when they are shopping for a new system.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @03:16PM (#23109196) Journal
    So Linux goes from 1% to 2%. Big deal. It isn't that hard (or notable) to get 1% or 2% of the market (or even 3% or 4%). If you have 45% of computer users, which is probably a billion people, and double that, that's something worth talking about.

    Nothing times 2 is nothing but 1% times two in less than a year is huge. If it continues at that rate it gets to your 45% target in 3 1/2 years and has 2/3 of the market in 3 3/4.

    Of course there are retarding effects as the market fraction increases which will make it fall back from the exponential. (It must eventually, since it can't go over 100%. B-) ) On the other hand, claiming a significant percentage turns the compatibility and social-networking effects in its favor.

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