[Slightly OT] Re: Ranter or evangelist?

Peter Gordon peter at thecodergeek.com
Wed Jul 22 08:46:48 UTC 2009

On Wed, 2009-07-22 at 11:33 +0500, gilpel at altern.org wrote:
> Microsoft has 90% of market share, Linux only 1% and people at Microsoft
> certainly are very glad. So, why should we be sad? Wouldn't this be giving
> Microsoft an edge in gladness?

First of all, Linux market share is a very difficult number to predict,
but is fairly significant and nearly always underestimated. Not only is
there not accurate method of acquiring the numbers data, but Linux runs
on vastly more hardware than Microsoft Windows, and one copy of
GNU/Linux (downloaded, bought in a store, given by a friend, etc.) can
be shared so readily that attempting to count it would be fruitless: it
could be one simple desktop installation, or shared among a class of
50-100 students, installed on thousands of a company's servers, or
distributed even further. There is a brief article called "Debunking the
Linux-Windows market-share myth" (linked below) written in 2003 by
Nicholas Petreley that I suggest you read. It's old, but its reasons for
such disparate numbers are still just as valid. 

"Debunking the Linux-Windows market-share myth":

Secondly, even if this WERE a valid market share estimate, you're
missing out on just how big 1% can really be. According to the CIA World
Factbook estimate (linked below), there were approximately 1.02 billion
users as of 2005. Including the 1.167% estimated growth rate per year
(noted on the same webpage) and assuming that the number of users grows
similarly, this extrapolates to about 1.24 billion internet users
worldwide as of 2008-2009. 1% of this is 12.4 million people. That's
more than the populations of most large cities and heck, even of many
smaller countries!

Factbook page:

Microsoft has such a high market share because their software comes
pre-installed with machines through most PC vendors and because it is
unfortunately what many have learned to use computers with. It is
nothing more than a defacto standard.

GNU/Linux, indeed most F/OSS on the other hand, has been spread by
advocacy, passed among friends, et al. We don't have more than 12
million users because we're defacto. Not by a long shot. We as a
community have EARNED those 12-point-something million users through
merit: because we're just that awesome at doing what we do! We *want*
people to go and improve upon our code. We *want* people to share it
with others. We *want* people to be productive. We *want* people to use
their computers, not as dictated by their vendors or software companies,
but _however_they_see_fit_. 

But I digress...
Peter Gordon (codergeek42) <peter at thecodergeek.com>
Who am I? :: http://thecodergeek.com/about-me
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