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ZDNet: Linux 'Takes The World' While Windows Dominates The Desktop (zdnet.com) 224

ZDNet editor-in-chief Steve Ranger writes that desktop dominance is less important with today's cloud-based apps running independent of operating system, arguing that the desktop is now "just one computing platform among many." An anonymous reader quotes his report: Linux on the desktop has about a 2% market share today and is viewed by many as complicated and obscure. Meanwhile, Windows sails on serenely, currently running on 90% of PCs in use... That's probably OK because Linux won the smartphone war and is doing pretty well on the cloud and Internet of Things battlefields too.

There's a four-in-five chance that there's a Linux-powered smartphone in your pocket (Android is based on the Linux kernel) and plenty of IoT devices are Linux-powered too, even if you don't necessarily notice it. Devices like the Raspberry Pi, running a vast array of different flavours of Linux, are creating an enthusiastic community of makers and giving startups a low-cost way to power new types of devices. Much of the public cloud is running on Linux in one form or another, too; even Microsoft has warmed up to open-source software.

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ZDNet: Linux 'Takes The World' While Windows Dominates The Desktop

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  • by Truekaiser ( 724672 ) on Sunday February 19, 2017 @09:37PM (#53897907)

    When they merge android and chrome os into, fuschia isn't it?

  • or are you just Linux to see me?
  • As far as I can see, the desktop is the only place to run Windows. Linux for everything else.
    • Re:Windows (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Sunday February 19, 2017 @09:55PM (#53897981)

      I use Linux on the desktop for everything other than gaming. I dual-boot to Windows for that, and only because games developers still don't do Linux versions. The moment that changes it will be goodbye windows partition.

      • Re:Windows (Score:4, Interesting)

        by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Sunday February 19, 2017 @10:17PM (#53898061) Homepage

        Here http://store.steampowered.com/... [steampowered.com] let me fix that for you and http://store.steampowered.com/... [steampowered.com]. Yeah not so much any more and if you check you steam library you will find out exactly which Mac OS and Linux games you already own, just waiting to be downloaded and installed.

        The desktop is a dying market except for power users, hobbyists, scientist. Business is making the shift to smart terminals and for less secure communication purposes simple disposable notebooks (no windows in site lust secure locked doors, nobody wants the employees wide open to the prying eyes of potential competitors who pay for M$ for access).

        It could have been a shrinking market with windows but M$ killed that, so the desktop will become a shrinking market with Linux and of all companies, Apple, still a good solid professional market, pretty much back to its main professional market prior to consumer PCs which in reality when technology caught up is smart phones (fitted VR micro glasses for gaming), smart TVs, tablets for the smart TVs and disposable notebooks for communications (not gaming).

        Whoops no gaming console, yep, pretty much no gaming console.

        • The desktop is a dying market except for power users, hobbyists, scientist.

          Just like it was in the beginning. And I'm OK with that. The world goes full circle.

          • I wouldn't care if not for the fact that:
            • It will obviously make hardware more expensive since fewer units will be made
            • Microsoft is pushing hard for that not to happen and it's giving desktop Windows the worst things of smartphone OS (integrated publicity and spying, touch optimized UIs ...)
            • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

              >> Microsoft is ... giving desktop Windows the worst things of smartphone OS (integrated publicity and spying, touch optimized UIs ...)

              The biggest insult is that they've also made those things impossible to uninstall.

              • Yep, I wouldn't care much if you could get something similar to Win 7, but no, you can't get rid of the touch optimized UI at any cost. And it seems the UI is going more touchy. Yikes!
        • Re:Windows (Score:4, Informative)

          by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Sunday February 19, 2017 @11:19PM (#53898239)

          I'm a Steam player. Point is that once you go into Steam and pick a game, chances are that the Windows version of it is more fully featured than the Linux version. In the case of Civ VI, the Windows version is out (albeit new) but the Linux one is almost out. Other games, like Civ V - the Windows version is more fully featured than the Linux one. So right now, I play on my Windows laptop.

          I'm using TrueOS (PC-BSD) and it has something called playonbsd, which is essentially running wine, and then running steam on top of it. So far, I've been unsuccessful in upgrading to the version that runs that, but once I can, then your scenario would be partly true. I'd really have loved it has Steam developed front ends for not just Windows and Mac, but also Linux and BSD.

          • Point is that once you go into Steam and pick a game, chances are that the Windows version of it is more fully featured than the Linux version.

            I have not noticed any differences. You will need to provide proof/examples.

            In the case of Civ VI, the Windows version is out (albeit new) but the Linux one is almost out.

            It is out now. They tried to sell it to me last week for $49.99 which I declined.

            Other games, like Civ V - the Windows version is more fully featured than the Linux one.

            I have played Civ V on Windows and Linux. I failed to notice any differences. Perhaps you can provide significant details?

            Long story short, if you are an intense gamer who wants to try everything, like my son, then you will use primarily Windows for games. For myself, I do not need much. DOTA, Skyrim, and Civ V eat up massive amounts of time by themselv

            • Re:Windows (Score:4, Insightful)

              by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Monday February 20, 2017 @12:38PM (#53900991)

              > I have not noticed any differences. You will need to provide proof/examples.

              As much as it pains me to say it, Linux has nowhere near the support of Windows and to claim otheriwise is just ridiculous.
              Other than Civ6 can you name me any other big game at all from 2016 that is also out on Linux?
              No mans Sky? Fallout4? World of Tanks? Elite dangerous? Overwatch? The Witcher 3? Dark Souls 3? Battlefield 1? Xcom2? Tomb Raider? Forza3? literally anything for my HTC Vive?

              • by Kjella ( 173770 )

                Other than Civ6 can you name me any other big game at all from 2016 that is also out on Linux? (...) Xcom2?

                Yes, PC/Mac/Linux from day one. So it's not strong on FPS games but if you're into turn based strategy it was a pretty good year.

        • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

          Already well aware that Steam has some Linux games on it. None of the games I play are available under Linux yet.
          Currently that would be World of Tanks, Fallout 4, Elite Dangerous, No Man's sky, then about 50 other games for my HTC Vive.

      • Re:Windows (Score:5, Interesting)

        by execthis ( 537150 ) on Sunday February 19, 2017 @11:07PM (#53898203)

        Am in a similar boat. Linux is my desktop. No looking back. I use Wine for quite a number of apps that I need, and it does take some wrangling occasionally, but it's no comparison to Windows. I have a dual boot option for when I something such as to edit an image in Photoshop.

        • by gosand ( 234100 )

          Am in a similar boat. Linux is my desktop. No looking back. I use Wine for quite a number of apps that I need, and it does take some wrangling occasionally, but it's no comparison to Windows. I have a dual boot option for when I something such as to edit an image in Photoshop.

          Linux is my desktop, and has been since 1998. My kids have windows PCs, and I have an old one that has been sitting around for a while. I still haven't had to boot it up for anything.

          The only time I have needed windows for anything was recently to join a webex for work. I can work from home on my linux machine, I just run a container that has openconnect and xfreerdp on it, it launches and connects me to the VPN at work, then rdp's into my machine there. But on this particular occasion, I needed to have

      • I use Linux on the desktop for everything other than gaming.

        Dota 2: faster and less stuttering [youtube.com] on Linux than Windows. What else really matters?

      • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
        There are actually a decent number of titles on steam, although two or three that I very much like (Skyrim and Defense Grid come to mind) are not available. But I still haven't booted back to windows since early last year on my big fat desktop. And I have a Dell Precision that's going to end up being my main machine in the near future, that only has xubuntu on it. It works remarkably well and is nowhere near as obnoxious as Windows 10.
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      All Windows has now is Direct x 12 and GPU support.
      Windows 10 allows games to be created with a lot of different graphics support.
      Do developers select tools that let them code for Linux, Apple, Sony and the Windows desktop?
      Is it the tools, developer kits? GPU support?
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      Personally I think when MS add virtual desktops and change their UI back to a MS Windows7 style it will be ready for the desktop. As it is MS on the desktop just gets too cluttered.
      Apple have done it so MS will surely follow.
    • As far as I can see, the desktop is the only place to run Windows.

      And only for people who enjoy being anally raped by malware.

    • Aren't Windows people getting tired of constantly babysitting their OS? One of my computers is a dedicated gaming box, and yes, running Windows. I'm constantly upgrading packages and rebooting. Sometimes it just feels slow and and rebooting seems to fix it for whatever voodoo reason. And what's the crap with having to re-install one per year? If I don't re-install everything, the system gets slower and slower until I'm pulling my hair out. And then when I re-install, it's like I have a new fast system

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        >> And what's the crap with having to re-install one per year?

        This!!! I totally have this problem too. Also whats with windows just growing on its own? I have a 256 GB windows partition, every year or so Windows alone grows from maybe 30 GB to consuming a whopping 170GB, consuming about 2/3rds of my whole partition.

        • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

          I obviously mean over a year, not once every year.

        • Some programs don't delete their caches or temp or trash. Try cleaning up that stuff instead of re-installing, also any history files.

          If that doesn't work, it would be interesting to know what the excess stuff is.

          • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

            Yeah all sorts of crap appears over time under C:/windows, and in the %appdata% directories. *.log files etc., even if you never install anything.
            Trouble is its often not obvious what you can and can't safely delete.
            The problem wouldn't even exist if the Windows programmers didn't continue their hacky culture of just dumping their dogfood all over the system directories, or at least not assume that storage space is infinite and that log files, temp files etc never need to be deleted and cleaning them up is

    • I recall recently, from ESR's stuff hackers used to know article:

      That property is still useful, and thus in 2017 the AT convention has survived in some interesting places. AT commands have been found to perform control functions on 3G and 4G cellular modems used in smartphones. On one widely deployed variety, "AT+QLINUXCMD=" is a prefix that passes commands to an instance of Linux running in firmware on the chip itself (separately from whatever OS might be running visibly on the phone).

      As well as in TVs (e.

  • Because if Google's proprietary OSes [arstechnica.com] that are more locked down than Windows ever was (say what you want about Windows but I can grab a windows laptop and inside of 10 minutes be booting into anything from BSD to Zorin OS, just try that on a Chromebook) now counts as "Linux" because it uses the kernel, which even the community acknowledges that "the kernel is not Linux"? Well sheeit, by that metric you could claim Linux "won" half a decade ago since all those cheapo locked down routers used by millions are using the Linux kernel as part of the embedded OS.

    It certainly doesn't come anywhere close to being open or supporting the four freedoms so if this is what it takes to "win" I'd say "well what exactly did you "win" other than replacing one corporate master for another?

    • In Google's OSs, the kernel is Linux: it's the userland that is something like busybox or some other BSD licensed shell. But I think an argument would be that if you bought a netbook or laptop w/ ChromeOS already on it, then you already have Linux, so why would you want to replace it w/ another distro. Whereas someone who bought a wintel box would likely be someone who received Windows by default, and may prefer to replace it w/ something else, like TrueOS ( or PC-BSD, which I did) to one of the Linuxes

    • The kernel is linux. Gnome desktop, redhat distro etc etc are all their own thing.
      Just because people are lazy and frequently call the entire stack linux doesn't mean that someone who isn't lazy is wrong when they are talking about the linux kernel specifically.

      So yes, android is dominating not redhat, debian or whatever, but the article is about the kernel underneath.

      File it with people making noise about Mac versus MS Windows when the topic is really about an x86_64 CPU.
      • by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Monday February 20, 2017 @01:25AM (#53898567)

        Only market droids and technodunces buy the bullshit that the userspace skin is the OS. Anybody with a slilght clue understands that an operating system does scheduling, virtual memory, manages devices, etc etc. And has a user space that can easy be mischaracterized by marketdroids.

        You can get console on Android and poke around. Its Linux. Some top level dirs moved around for completely bogus reasons, but it's Linux. It runs Linux binaries.

        • I've been saying this for twenty years, but usually get booed off stage. It seems to be the popular opinion in this thread. What changed?
        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          In fact Android apps can use native code to access low level Linux features, like the USB subsystem.

      • The point Hairyfeet was making was that one of the major reasons people advocate Linux is the 4 GNU freedoms, but that is missing in the case of Chrome OS, making it just a case of substituting corporate masters.

        'Takes the world' as the headline suggests is a rather sweeping statement about Linux, when a big portion of the non PC world - namely Apple - runs on different BSDs (more precisely, XNU kernels and FreeBSD userland). Only way it's true is if one conflates BSD w/ Linux, and uses the latter term

        • I think most people don't care. 10 years ago I was udderly shocked on here seeing all the hype about smart phones when they were new while bashing Windows. Um, hate to say it but Windows is hell of alot more open and less proprietary than a droid anyway as sad as that sounds. Don't give me the crap about source code either. The fact is carriers lock the shit out of everything.

          My point is you all didn't care and bought them anyway

    • say what you want about Windows but I can grab a windows laptop and inside of 10 minutes be booting into anything from BSD to Zorin OS, just try that on a Chromebook

      Right. I used to think that Microsoft was completely useless, but now I view them as a source of cheap PCs for running Linux.

      the community acknowledges that "the kernel is not Linux"?

      You must be talking about some other community, because the one I am in is not confused about whether Linux is Linux, and Android is Linux.

      Well sheeit, by that metric you could claim Linux "won" half a decade ago since all those cheapo locked down routers used by millions are using the Linux kernel as part of the embedded OS.

      Correct, Linux won about half a decade ago. Actually, further back, but let's not niggle. Some mopping up still to do.

  • by Brannon ( 221550 ) on Sunday February 19, 2017 @10:43PM (#53898143)

    http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-104-percent-smartphone-industry-profits-q3-2016-bmo-capital-markets-samsung-2016-11

    There are three classes of companies making smartphones: those making no money, those losing money, and Apple.

  • Obscure (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Sunday February 19, 2017 @10:45PM (#53898149) Journal

    Linux on the desktop has about a 2% market share today and is viewed by many as complicated and obscure.

    It is complicated and obscure. But, so is Windows.

    People just go with the devil they know. Compatibility and familiarity often trump better technology.

    • Yep. I'm a Windows tech, so my knowledge of Windows and certain Windows-based apps keeps me employed. I could play with Linux at home (and from time to time I do, a little), but generally speaking I'd rather fiddle for an hour fixing a Windows issue than take the time to become comfortable enough in a new environment so I can deal with its issues (Linux isn't perfect...) for a slight overall improvement in my home environment and absolutely zero utility at work.

      And the office isn't changing over anytime s

  • "and is viewed by many as complicated and obscure"

    (OP describes Windows by accident.)

  • by e**(i pi)-1 ( 462311 ) on Sunday February 19, 2017 @11:17PM (#53898229) Homepage Journal
    I wonder how the desktop market share data are obtained. From browser data? This is naive as many linux users change or randomize their user agent. It must be that since counting OS sales does not work. I use linux as my major operating system since 20 years. But there are still things I can only do on a commercial OS like Mac OS X: For example solid video editing, screen recording, Keynote, garage band, and serious gaming. But for most day to day operations, there is very little difference between OS X (when used as a Unix workstation) and linux. My desktops and workflows look almost identical. I guess, also windows could be configured today to behave like a unix workstation. But the loss of control which the the user over the OS (basic things like when and how to upgrade, or the look over the shoulder of the user) which happens today in windows makes it unfit for serious work. What would really be nice if virtualization would exist which allowed to run any OS X software on a linux box. It seems that installing OSX on a virtual box has not yet worked well. The few who have got it to work claim slow graphics, sound failures. I have not heard for example of a successful and solid Final cut run virtualized under linux. Parallels does a good job virtualizing windows on OSX.
    • by AntiSol ( 1329733 ) on Monday February 20, 2017 @12:51AM (#53898481)

      If you're interested, here are some suggestions :)

      solid video editing,

      Cinelerra. There are many others. Cinelerra isn't easy to use, but it's soooooo powerful. I've tried many video editors but I always find myself coming back so Cinelerra due to the power. LIVES also looks promising but I haven't had a chance to play with it yet. There are even a couple of proprietary ones.

      screen recording,

      There are about a hundred of these. Personally I use ffmpeg because it's so ubiquitous across my machines and can be quickly invoked from the command line (e.g even via SSH while I'm mid-game).

      Keynote

      I had to google this because I haven't used a mac since the days of OS 8. Libreoffice maybe? It has presentation software. But I haven't done a presentation in about 10 years so I'm not an authority on this one.

      garage band

      Ardour. LMMS. Rosegarden. Lots of others.

      serious gaming

      depends what you mean by "serious". If you're using a mac then you already can't do what I'd call "serious" gaming. But: Steam, GOG, humble store, twitch.io, many great FOSS games. Some of the more "serious" titles include Borderlands, the Civilization games, etc etc. There are about 1500 linux games on steam alone now.

    • The netmarketshare Linux share [netmarketshare.com] increased by a factor of 1.13 since the July article.

  • by quax ( 19371 ) on Sunday February 19, 2017 @11:19PM (#53898237)

    Microsoft makes money of Open Source software by shaking down companies that deploy it. I.e. they weaponize their software patent portfolio.

    That's how they make money from Android. [googleusercontent.com]

    Recently, they received good press for their Azure patents protection offer, but it is not what it seems at first glance, their is nothing benign about it. It's just a dressed up protection racket. [cloudcomputing-news.net]

    And while moving their Quantum Computing software to github, gave them press that they "Open Sourced" it [googleusercontent.com], nothing could be further from the truth. [github.com]

    They will try to get a stranglehold on the future of computing, just as they had it in the PC market. They just switched strategy, but this tiger won't change its stripes.

  • on any platform where you don't have to actually interact with it.

    • I don't know what the statistics are now, numbers are very difficult or impossible to find, but around 2000 it was estimated that 97% or so of all computing systems, toasters, pace makers engine controllers, building control, power systems, satellite probes, oil tanker navigation, etc, were not PC or mainframe class computers.
      iTRON from the university of Tokyo was running was the worlds most popular OS and was running on billions of devices (and nobody ever heard of it). There was something like a 37:1 em
  • Water may be wet! (Stay tuned)

    Bickering about Linux-related nomenclature goes rampant. (You know better! Add to the argument pile now!)

  • "There's a four-in-five chance that there's a Linux-powered smartphone in your pocket"

    That's just an odd way of saying 'an 80% chance'. Previously, it had only been used to describe dentists and their preferred chewing gum type.
  • And how many of those Linux devices pay royalties to Microsoft for unnamed or obscure patents? Microsoft didn't give up on the smartphone market, they just found a way to tax the entire market and ensure that Linux is no longer really free.

  • There are few to none Linux desktops out there, forcing us to install Linux on a formerly windows machine. Sometimes the results are not pretty. I had good luck with Lenovo (in my case M93p, NVIDIA graphics, Small Form Factor -not tiny although that one works too). Still would be good if you could find in your Super
    Duper computer store the rig you want, and choose Windows and/or Linux, AND PAY ACCORDINGLY.

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Monday February 20, 2017 @07:53PM (#53903155) Journal

    Linux is too popular and destroying openess. Let me tell you about the virtues of FreeBSD the free as in beer OS. Yes you heard Free Beer! We got that. It's time to free yourselves to an OS that respects beer. Linux was great growing up in your youth of mountain dew at college after using your Windows training wheels. Now it's time to graduate to free beer Freebsd like a real middle aged man.

    Plus no one uses it so you can impress chicks too on being Uber hip. No Google, SystemD, or any other interests other than DARPA giving you TCP/IP which that and ipf make BSD the still defacto network operating system

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