After a study of operating system usage of thousands of people I have discovered that Linux has a 46% market share. Linux now surpasses Windows which is shown to have a 43.5% market share. Overall GNU/Linux distributions have taken the lead from Microsoft based on this study. Honest.
Okay, in reality I looked at my Advanced Web Statistics (awstats) web log today and saw this:
What I am demonstrating is that anyone can take the statistics that favors their desired outcome and use those to “prove” something. That is the great thing about statistics, one can make them “prove” pretty much what one wants. I was thinking about this after I read Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols article How Many Linux Users Are There (Really)? at LinuxPlanet.com today. Any honest person admits there is really no way to get a hard figure for the number of Linux users, meaning the kernel, nor the number of GNU/Linux desktop users, meaning distributions.
Companies like Microsoft can get relatively solid figures from their sales departments. Microsoft can put up the numbers to “prove” they have large sales figures and “market share”. Microsoft can buy the “analysts” that do the “studies” that “prove” Microsoft’s dominance. Of course they leave off the number of systems purchased with the Microsoft tax applied that get wiped and reinstalled with a GNU/Linux distribution. Why? More than likely even Microsoft, with its’ billions, cannot get hard figures about that. I doubt Microsoft would reveal those figures even should Microsoft have them.
Then there are sites like my own SOHO office. Who counts us? We have four custom built systems here that were built in-house from components. Three of them run Mandriva Linux and one, the server, runs FreeBSD Unix. We have one second hand Compaq laptop that also has Mandriva installed. None of the operating systems were purchased. Therefore there are no sales figures for the operating systems. Only two of the systems are used actively on the WWW. How exactly are these systems going to be counted in a “market share study”? The answer is, they are not going to be counted. Nor are hundreds of other sites just like mine. One can see, based on these simple facts, that no “study” to get a “market share” figure for Linux can ever be close to accurate.
To finish up I will leave you with this. In my office GNU/Linux has an 80% market share and FreeBSD has a 20% market share. That is all that really counts for me. It is all that really counts for anyone that has found GNU/Linux, learned its usefulness and uses it every day.
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Edit Thu Feb 19 01:03:40 UTC 2009: Fix a typographical error.
Edit Thu Feb 19 20:30:05 UTC 2009: Fix a typographical error.
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