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Linux Reaches 1% Usage Share 414

je ne sais quoi writes "The April data is out for the Net Applications 'market share' survey of operating systems (more accurately referred to as a usage share). For the first time, Linux has reached 1%. This past month the Linux share increased by 0.12% which is well above the average monthly increase of 0.02%. Historically, the Net Applications estimate of market share has been lower than that of other organizations who measure this, but the abnormally large increase reported this month brings it closer to the median estimate of 1.11%. For other operating systems, Windows XP continued its slow decline by 0.64% to 62.21%, whereas Vista use is still increasing to 23.90%, but its rate of adoption is slowing. That is, this month's increase of 0.48% is well below the 12-month average increase of 0.78% and down from the peak rate of increase of 1.00% per month on average in January-February 2008. The total Windows share dropped to 87.90%. Mac OS use decreased slightly to 9.73% from 9.77%, but usage share of the iPhone and iPod Touch combined increased by 0.1%."
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Linux Reaches 1% Usage Share

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:51PM (#27789073)

    Should we really be including both Windows and iPhone in the same OS usage chart?

    My John Deere riding mower does a bang-up job cutting my lawn (get the fuck off it), but it's not quite built for the same purpose as my around-town Escalade.

  • by A. B3ttik ( 1344591 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:51PM (#27789077)
    There was an article a while back surmising that the downturn in the American Economy would cause more Linux adoption.

    I imagine that is partially the case, but I bet it's also because the Windows folks are currently in No-Man's Land. They've stopped selling/supporting XP, some people are too afraid or unwilling to switch to Vista (I'm one of them), and Windows 7 is still at least months away. With all of these factors, some are seeing it as the perfect time to take the plunge.
  • by TheCycoONE ( 913189 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:51PM (#27789089)

    The site claims that the statistics meet quality assurance guidelines, including that there are no major statistical variations that are inexplicable. They fail to state on the site (that I saw) what is the margin of error in their evaluation, but it seems that this is a major statistical variation, and I'm wondering what their explanation is.

  • Re:Boy oh boy! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MistrBlank ( 1183469 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:52PM (#27789101)

    That's a lie.

    Linux is whatever it is. Just because there is not a prime time desktop environment for the average person sitting at a keyboard does not mean it is not supposed to be or never will be.

  • Re:Boy oh boy! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by meow27 ( 1526173 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:53PM (#27789127)
    that's why there is a big focus on making it "usable" for the average "i dont know a thing about computers" people
  • GIGO? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AliasMarlowe ( 1042386 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:54PM (#27789141) Journal
    How do they come up with these numbers anyway? The jump from 0.90 to 1.02 is relatively large, as was the drop from 0.91 to 0.71 a few months ago. Do they have uncertainty estimates? Inquiring minds want to know.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:56PM (#27789173) Journal
    When you look at browser numbers, it is reasonably doable to get a sense of where the browsers are being used. IE6 spikes during working hours, while FF and friends increase on nights and weekends. Fairly obviously, there is a huge difference in usage rates between workplaces, especially big ones, and the home/small business market.

    I'd be curious to know how Linux's market share breaks down in those terms. Is the 1% growth assimilation of the more or less geeky home/school user? Is it j. average user with a netbook or machine set up for them by somebody else? Did a few large corporations shift 250,000 call-center seats in order to save a few bucks on what are basically just terminal emulators?

    I'd be curious to know what the data actually say; because you can tell the story either way: You can say "Linux will make it in the home setting first" and argue that the home has relatively fast app turnover, few critical legacy apps, and tends to suffer from viruses/spyware/malware because it lacks professional admins. On the other hand, you could argue "Linux will make it on the corporate side first" because they have highly standardized hardware and software needs, so there are fewer driver issues and "why isn't aunt maybell's scrapbooking shareware working" issues, and professional admins can handle the tricky configuration bits. Whenever something can be argued either way, that is a sign that you need actual data.
  • Re:Boy oh boy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by levell ( 538346 ) * on Friday May 01, 2009 @12:56PM (#27789195) Homepage

    I can't wait! At this rate, 2024 will be the year of Linux on the Desktop!

    If it increases at 1 percentage point per year (which is what is has increased in the whole of its life so far), we'll reach 100% a lot later than 2024

  • Re:Boy oh boy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by orkybash ( 1013349 ) <> on Friday May 01, 2009 @01:00PM (#27789257)
    I often wonder how easy a time people who are new to computing can have with Linux. It seems to me that re-learning can in many cases be a harder barrier to cross than learning.
  • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @01:00PM (#27789269) Homepage Journal

    I get very suspicious of any site that doesn't go into detail on their methodology for making a claim like this.

    Especially when the site seems to be a web advertiser.

    Have they corrected for the fact that Linux users are more likely to be able to use a variety of ad blocking and filtering tools, and thus may not be showing up in their statistics?

    I always try to be clear about exactly what I am measuring - what are these guys measuring? When they say "market share", what "market" are they referring to? "Users who see our ads?" "Users visiting this set of sites (many of which refuse to work with That Which Is Not Internet Explorer)?"

    Absent a statement of exactly of WHAT this is 1%, and a statement of methodologies used to make that measurement, this is a very questionable number.

  • Re:Boy oh boy! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Friday May 01, 2009 @01:02PM (#27789301) Homepage

    Can you define "supposed to"? I've always thought the phrase "supposed to" was kind of weird and hard to say what it meant. Certainly there are people working on Linux on various levels who would like it to be popular, and are even working with the intent of making it popular.

    Also, it's not at all strange for them to be strutting their market share. There is probably some market share (though surely above 1%) where Linux will reach a sort of critical mass, in which it will get mass recognition and better support from 3rd parties. Market share counts, and getting above 1% is a sort of milestone. I kind of remember Firefox and Safari each creeping above 1% in web usage statistics, and look at them now.

  • by DaveV1.0 ( 203135 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @01:06PM (#27789389) Journal

    We collect data from the browsers of site visitors to our exclusive on-demand network of live stats customers.

    Non-random source data

    Also, the linked site does not appear to differentiate between general purpose computers and appliances, which could skew the results. Devices like the G1 from T-mobile and Nokia internet tablets, which are not bought for having Linux, but rather for the functionality they provide, should probably not be listed under Linux.

  • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @01:08PM (#27789419)

    back in the old days( ~1994 ), IBM was fortunate enough to find one or two top OEMs in Germany who couldn't be paid off by Microsoft and accepted the technically superior IBM OS/2 as their primary preloaded OS. In one short year, OS/2 had 25% marketshare in Germany.

    Preloading is the game and Microsoft knows this and is willing to pay out millions in marketing kickbacks to make sure a Microsoft OS is what is preloaded instead of a Linux distro. Remember the ClassmatePC deal in Nigeria? Microsoft got caught purchasing the favor of replacing the preloaded Mandriva with Windows XP once they were delivered. Egypt took tens of millions and became a Windows-only government at the expense of the OLPC MOU for a million units. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Microsoft just redirected billions of "R&D" funds and you know where those will likely end up? Most likely place is in the pockets of companies looking to preload Android, Ubuntu Netbook Remix, or other Linux products. IMO.

    It's the preloads. So when you hear the press complaining about Linux as it came from the OEM and not about installation problems, it's game-on and most likely game-over for MSFT.


  • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <[ ] ['' in gap]> on Friday May 01, 2009 @01:18PM (#27789563)

    As much as people like to say that this is a price issue, it really isn't. Otherwise, why on earth would OSX be near the 10% range? Why on earth would iPhone, and iPod touch be even registering on the radar? It is not cost.

    What matters to the end user is functionality. They want to be able to get things done and that means flash, executables, etc, etc.

    On Windows everything just works because it has momentum. On OSX people KNOW that it is OSX and expect things to be different (eg commercial Think Different HINT HINT...) And there are applications that get things done for users that are based on OSX.

    Linux is more problematic. First there is very little commercialware support. THus the end user has to figure things out for themselves. And there is very little support among hardware vendors, meaning the end user has to figure things out.

    The end result is that Linux will remain a niche product. I look at 1% and think, great in 2100 we might even get drivers to work... Yippeee...

  • by TheModelEskimo ( 968202 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @01:37PM (#27789869)
    Windows is indeed a lot like an Escalade. An overpriced, bloated, and inefficient showcase of false beauty.

    And I guess the iPhone is a lot like a John Deere riding mower, too. People buy it for the brand prestige, then get angry when their neighbor goes out and buys one the next day. Because everybody knows your neighbor is a jerk.
  • by je ne sais quoi ( 987177 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @01:41PM (#27789923)
    Hi there, submitter here. One certainly wonders what the statistical variability is, it's probably pretty high for month to month data. That's what I was trying to do by reporting the 12 month average increase or decrease. I posted a chart of that data here []. Rather than look at percent usage share, this is the percent change in usage share for a given month. If it's positive, it means the OS grew, if it's negative it means it shrank.

    Ultimately this is one of those things like political polling data, nobody can really know what the actual answer is. What's interesting here is that there are big bumps in all the OSes, which is the random error, but if you look at the averages, they follow what you might expect. That is, XP stopped increasing a long time ago, but didn't start to shrink (go negative) until Vista was released. Vista really is slowing in its growth, you can clearly see the peak in the average data right at Jan or Feb 2008. For linux, the latest little uptick is this newest data, which in itself is probably insignificant (as is the arbitrary 1% mark), but what is significant is that linux on average is enjoying positive growth as there's more upticks than downticks, as is OS X.
  • Re:Boy oh boy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TooMuchToDo ( 882796 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @02:06PM (#27790315)
    That's like saying "I don't drive a semi to work, therefore no one is using them", while neglecting to understand that almost all goods are shipped via semi trailer.
  • Re:Okay (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ultrabot ( 200914 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @02:09PM (#27790355)

    So when are they going to make it desirable for the non-tech literate to use?

    It's there already.

    The part about Ubuntu UI my wife uses is the Firefox icon. As the OS is increasingly becoming a trivial commodity, Linux will continue to gain share with accelerating rate.

  • Re:GIGO? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 01, 2009 @02:14PM (#27790427)

    Considering Linux broke 1% over 10 years ago, I wouldn't give this nonsense any further credibility by discussing it as if it were worthy of discussion.

  • by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Friday May 01, 2009 @02:49PM (#27791015)

    Home users' PCs?

    Because I bet it looks different if you add anything that can run Linux. (Which mostly can't run Windows at all.)
    Like network devices, small gadgets, phones, car systems and pretty much every other advanced hardware.
    Plus all the servers out there, where the share looks very different.

  • Re:Boy oh boy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Friday May 01, 2009 @03:39PM (#27791677) Homepage

    There are distros like ubuntu that try to make as much as possible accessible from the surface, but when you have to do something not exposed by pretty control panels you need a level of understanding far beyond that of the average user.

    That's true of Windows and OSX too. Don't tell me you'd advise normal low-level users to open up the Windows Registry.

    So here's the real question: how much of the functionality required by new/unknowledgeable users is not exposed by pretty control panels?

  • Re:Boy oh boy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheLinuxSRC ( 683475 ) * <slashdot.pagewash@com> on Friday May 01, 2009 @03:48PM (#27791777) Homepage
    Which is *exactly* the reason why he mentions it to his clients. If someone is made aware of an issue before it becomes a problem (thus giving them all the information they need to avert the potential problem), in their mind there is no problem.
  • Re:Boy oh boy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunkirk ( 238653 ) * <> on Friday May 01, 2009 @03:58PM (#27791917) Homepage

    Sounds like someone hasn't had very good luck with using Linux on the desktop. Yeah, well, me neither, but it hasn't stopped me from using it on my desktop machines (both at home and at work) for over 10 years now. You can say it sucks, but, in my experience, it just sucks DIFFERENTLY than the alternatives.

  • Re:Boy oh boy! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by the_womble ( 580291 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @04:00PM (#27791935) Homepage Journal

    Assuming that the market is not growing significantly, Linux usage grew by 13% in a month, at that rate it would reach 82% in two years......

    No, I do not think that will happen. My point is:

    1) I do not believe a 13% jump is usage in one month.
    2) Even if it was true, you cannot extrapolate a trend from one month.
    3) Given the monthly growth is clearly wrong, I do not believe the numbers at all.

  • Re:Boy oh boy! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by orasio ( 188021 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @04:00PM (#27791939) Homepage

    What you say is just dumb.
    With that mindset, you could say Mac OSX is not ready for regular desktop use, because it doesn't support most motherboards and graphic cards.
    Or you could say that windows vista (or 7) is not ready, because it doesn't run on ARM chips, or because it doesn't have drivers for my older video capture cards.

    Some software runs with some hardware.
    Most printers just work with linux, some don't. Big deal. You can just ask the one who sells them, or just stick to HP.

  • Re:Boy oh boy! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bryan-10021 ( 223345 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @04:04PM (#27792005)

    Last year, my daughter and a friend were staying with us for about 6 months. I gave them an old Sony (Celeron 800) laptop to use. Ubuntu installed.
    Didn't tell them, or guide them in any way.

    After a couple of months, I asked how the laptop was working with that different operating system.
    "Huh...what do you mean?" Of course, she had been conditioned to FireFox on windows beforehand, but they never knew/realized/cared that it wasn't 'Windows'.

    You must have the only daughter that doesn't use an iPod! "Dad I can't get iTunes to work on my computer, can you help me?"

  • by Petersko ( 564140 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @04:36PM (#27792401)
    "Windows is indeed a lot like an Escalade. An overpriced, bloated, and inefficient showcase of false beauty.

    And linux is like an inelegant car built out of parts from many disjointed suppliers. The paint on the panels doesn't match. You may or may not be able to get it serviced if anything goes wrong, and chances are you'll have to get real familiar with a collection of wrenches and screwdrivers. And of course if you want to change the tail lights you'll have to rebuild the engine.

    So long as you never change anything it'll probably run okay, though.

    Seriously, car analogies have got to go.
  • by jotaeleemeese ( 303437 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @05:51PM (#27793215) Homepage Journal

    Oh wait, it isn't.

    In any big corporation the poor Windows support people are constantly spending time with users holding their hand as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 01, 2009 @06:38PM (#27793675)
    Asus fumbled the ball how? By giving the public what it wanted? Let's face some facts here; Linux simply doesn't have the much marketshare because people can't be bothered to find an alternative to Windows or OSX.

    I know this hurts the heads of all the little fanbois but every single alleged nail in the lid of the coffin of Microsoft simply hasn't done the damage that they thought it would and even in the cases where it has eroded consumer confidence it's only lead the masses to Apple. Sorry, no Linux victory to be seen here.

    The logic and demographics of the geek culture simply do not translate into the real world and the real world has the kind of pull to make and break an OS. Geek culture really doesn't.

    Out of the 38 currently available netbooks on NewEgg only one is Linux. It's also above the cost of most of the Windows netbooks. The supposed savings either haven't been passed on or they don't really exist.

    While ARM is a neat technology it will not thrive as a netbook without backing from either Apple or Microsoft. Good technology != good sales. Look at the number of whiz bang products that companies like Atari and Commodore put out against lesser technologically suave, larger mainstream competitors. Being an old Amiga fanboi I watched product after product that should have stomped the shit out of the competition fail to gain any traction. If I were to put money on ARM based Linux notebooks I would say that they'll probably fail before they ever get a real product to market.

    Linux does and will continue to have it's place in the market but outside of the server room it's just not going to take the spotlight on a general computing platform. I've been following this project for a decade now and at one point I thought it was going to break out and after a couple years of spitting venom at Microsoft I finally seen that Linux was another Amiga but with even less real support.
  • Re:Boy oh boy! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @10:05PM (#27795079) Homepage Journal

    If you click the "help" button, it says "This report lists the market share of the top operating systems in use for browsing (not servers)."

    And right there is the common clue that tells you how they're generating bogus statistics: the phrase "market share" means that they are only counting things that are purchased. A very high precentage of linux users get their copy via free downloads, and these systems aren't counted as part of the "market". In fact, since free linux systems are often installed on machines that were puchased with MS Windows (due to the difficulty of gettin the hardware in any other form), a significant fraction of running linux systems are counted by the marketeers as Windows systems. I have two linux systems on the shelf next to my desk, and one had Windows installed when it was delivered, so it's counted as a Windows sale. The other was ordered without an OS (which a local shop will do if you ask), so it's probably not counted as a sale of either Windows or linux - unless the vendor reported it to MS as a Windows box to avoid the usual harassment that happens if they openly sell just the bare hardware.

    Similarly, I've seen listings of web servers ranked by sales, and Microsoft's IIS was the clear leader. Apache sometimes isn't even on such lists, since hardly anyone actually pays for it. There's no "market" for apache, since anyone can download it, install it, spend a few minutes tweaking the httpd.conf file, and use it without ever getting involved in any software market transactions.

    In general, it's a good idea to be extremely skeptical of any figures derived from a "market". This is especially true when the numbers seem to support something you like. Such numbers almost always come from someone trying to sell you something, and the statistics are part of their marketing pitch.

    Anyway, to use an obvious transport analogy, if you're looking for a good heavy-duty truck or small airplane, would you care about statistics saying that some kind of automobile is much more popular? Even if the numbers are accurate, they aren't too meaningful if you need the capabilities of a truck or airplane. The idea that some single kind of computer system is "the best" is equally silly. It depends on what you need it to do. If you think that all computer OSs are interchangeable, you simply don't understand what an OS is.

  • Re:Boy oh boy! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by freeweed ( 309734 ) on Friday May 01, 2009 @10:27PM (#27795223)

    If they can find a file in explorer they can find a key in the registry. Not that you ever need to open the registry.

    If they can write a letter in Word, they can edit a text config file.

    Not that you ever need to open a config file.

  • Re:Boy oh boy! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 02, 2009 @12:58AM (#27795991)

    If you click the "help" button, it says "This report lists the market share of the top operating systems in use for browsing (not servers)."

    And right there is the common clue that tells you how they're generating bogus statistics: the phrase "market share" means that they are only counting things that are purchased.

    No, they aren't measuring sales, they're measuring web hits. There are a lot of limitations to this method, whose results can vary widely depending on the type of sites in their network and the traffic they generate, but it is not inherently unfair to non-Windows OSes. In fact, since webhit counting favors heavy internet users over those who surf less, it probably generally tends to overstate the usage of alternate OSes.

    And although Hitslink generates lower than usual Linux numbers, its OS X numbers are higher than anyone else's, in part because their traffic is heavily US-based.

    The fact that your post, which is based on a complete misunderstanding, got modded up is really sad.

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