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Off-topic: The ‘Market Share’ Lie

Posted in Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OpenDocument at 11:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

False figures and statistics can demoralise customers and distract developers who serve those customers. By deceiving those who are involved, one can make a myth be seen as a reality. By altering definitions, one can draw any conclusion that is needed. We saw that before. Self-fulfilling prophecies can be the outcome of extreme disinformation. Remember the BBC's comment on Linux?

One lie that continues to live on is based on many confusions, including the mixing of “installed base” and “market share”. Not everyone gets Linux preinstalled on a PC. In fact, very few do because Linux is distributed, not sold. There are many other factors to consider and I published an article about it last year (it also appeared at the front page of Slashdot). A nice new Web site, linuxhow2, adds more fuel to this particular debate.

How many Linux users are there in the world? 5,000? 5,000,000? 50,000,000? No one is really sure. Linux users aren’t forced to register their operating system with any corporation; Linux users are free to install and use Linux without anyone ever being the wiser. And what about all of the people who don’t even realize they’re using Linux? Is Linux running your PDA? Smart Phone? GPS? TiVO? Tablet? Router? Wrist watch? Car? Is Linux lurking inside all of your electronic gadgets? Probably not, but it’s turning up more and more these days.


According to our statistics, 96.4% of computer users are running Linux. Whoa! It looks like Linux has completely claimed the market. 0.6% of computer users are running Apple; hmm, but I thought the Apple market share was improving? Oh, and funny enough, 3% of computer users are running Windows. Wait a minute! These stats are completely biased, right? Well, I hope you’re getting the point.

We offered a quick glimpse at some of Boycott Novell’s statistics last week and our experience was similar. Linux-oriented Web sites or sites that attract Linux users tend to honour privacy, so they rarely divulge statistics and hand them over to firms which produce figures based on Web usage. Who is to benefit from such figures anyway?

Appended below are some articles that give you an ideas of the real ubiquity of Linux and its very fast growth (mind the snippets in particular).

1. “We are implementing Linux in large govt projects across the country”

Infact, Linux is continuously improving its position. This can be proved by an IDC report which says that in June 2006 Microsoft had 68 percent of the marketshare and Linux had 21 percent whereas in 2005, Microsoft had 70 percent and Linux had 11 percent.

2. Asia Pacific Digital Content Creators and Broadcasters Turn to Autodesk’s Linux-based Solutions

In its China Linux 2006-2010 Forecast and Analysis report, market research firm IDC estimates that China’s Linux market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 34 percent from 2006 to 2010. IDC also forecasts that by 2008, Linux-based personal computers (PCs) will account for more than 9 percent of PC unit shipments in Asia Pacific.

3. Dell leads the Linux workstation market

So about 15% of the workstation market is comprised of Linux machines — far more than the barely traceable number of Linux desktop computers. Oddly, all workstation manufacturers seem to have grown in chorus. “No one workstation vendor seems to have benefited dramatically more or less with the growth of Linux, though (anecdotally) white boxes would presumably have a much higher penetration of Linux.

4. Survey Says … Linux Desktop Is Ever More Popular

The first thing we can say about the Linux desktop in 2007 is that there are more users than ever. The Linux Foundation 2006 survey had fewer than 10,000 people signing in. This year more than 20,000 Linux desktop users reported in.

5. Desktop OS- Vista vs. Linux

Okay, now lets tie this all back in together. Novell claimed several months back in a video ad that Desktop Linux users accounted for upwards of 30,000,000 different people. That’s 30 million. Recent statements made by some Novell representatives indicate that they expect there are upwards of 50,000,000 Desktop Linux users. Microsoft has never contested the number of Desktop Linux users, and if anything the deal Microsoft signed with Novell was tacit agreement that Microsoft believed those numbers to be accurate.

6. Linux Users Base More Than doubled Over Last One Year: Survey

The number of Linux users has more than doubled over the last one year, says a new survey by DesktopLinux.com. The survey also said Ubuntu remains their Linux distribution of choice.

7. Survey: Desktop Linux use grows

DesktopLinux.com, which is a Web site devoted to, obviously, desktop Linux, has finished a survey that found more than a doubling of Linux desktop users in the past year.

8. Desktop Linux on the Rise, Linux Foundation Reports

For starters, almost 20,000 self-selected users filled out this year’s survey compared with fewer than 10,000 in 2006′s survey.


In those businesses and organizations that have deployed Linux desktops, 39.5 percent are running Linux on more than half of their machines.

“By giving the illusion that Linux is barely used, hardware and software vendors will have it further suppressed.”At the end of the day, it is worth reminding ourselves that there is a lot of money at stake (think about the paid-for denials of global warning). By giving the illusion that Linux is barely used, hardware and software vendors will have it further suppressed. Take everything you see in the press with a grain of salt. The same rule goes for comprehensive studies that typically have funding sources and also impose limits when it comes to accessing datasets (matching them to the general population improperly).

Another new essay from linuxhow2 is a fairly good one (especially once you ignore the swastika-like Windows logo at the top). It talks about Microsoft’s coordinated smear campaign against Linux. Only recently we saw another such campaign. It was an ODF row of smears with the Burton Group (Microsoft partner), questionably-bribed journalists, and IDC (Microsoft-commissioned) publishing their ‘findings’.

Have a look:

What are your thoughts about Microsoft’s smear campaign?

I think they are doing this out of fear. They know that more and more people are going to Linux for a solution. For example, Google runs its software on Linux; current estimates are that they employ roughly 450,000 Linux servers – making them THE largest company in the world to rely on Linux for speed and security

The site does not exist to whine about the state of the media and the nature of advertising. Nevertheless, it is important that you understand how the information system works.

Microsoft Against the “L”, Courtesy of Novell

Posted in Deception, Europe, FUD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML at 10:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday we mentioned the diagram which had a lot of people speak. It shows Microsoft’s attitude towards (Free) open source software and it brought some obvious facts to more people’s attention. LinuxToday has a new short article about it. It’s worth a read because it comes from a conservative editor who rarely bashes — let alone harshly criticises –Microsoft.

What they [Microsoft] are not telling you is the why behind all of this. Why are they establishing an open source policy in the first place? Why not start a misleading marketing plan and discredit Linux and its fellow open source applications right out of business?

Well, for one thing, they have. And, for the most part, it did not work. People in IT looked at the Get the Facts campaign and decided that facts were something the campaign seriously lacked. In the end, all it seemed to do was bring more attention to Linux than before, leading many IT organizations to come to the conclusion that Linux is indeed a viable alternative.


I will admit that this may be a reach. But I also think, with Microsoft’s ongoing legal woes and the threat of the LAMP space forever closed to them using their traditional business practices, this whole notion of competing with open source on open source terms does not sound so far fetched.

If this is the plan, the OSS community should be ready to respond.

This is a classic case of competing through assimilation. See:

  1. Microsoft’s Assimilate-to-Destroy Tactic (Everything for OOXML)
  2. Destruction Through Assimilation

Using a proprietary format called Open XML (the name is no coincidence by the way), among other things like OSI membership and Linux deals, Microsoft is hoping to successfully pretend that it’s ‘part of the club’, thereby blurring the gap between openness and proprietary technology. Remember various recent developments including Holland’s explicit requirement for open source software. One thing worth reminding the readers of is the fact that Microsoft threatened to sue last month when Holland decided on this new policy that isn’t favourable to Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

“The platform is still a common carrier to other products.”At the end of the day, Microsoft wants the “L” squeezed out of LAMP. Sun Microsystems, by the way, wants an “S” (or “OS”, for OpenSolaris) to replace that “L”. The platform is still a common carrier to other products. Just consider the number of applications a GNU/Linux distribution comes with.

With the Novell deal (and its succession), Microsoft sought to subvert the GPLv2. The FOSS ‘taxation’ Microsoft hopes to introduce is its best chance of keeping Windows relevant. If there is a significant problem at the moment, this is it. Licences often make the software and defend its success.

Steve Ballmer scared of GPLv3

Paula Rooney Acknowledges ‘Hijack’ Tactic, Dana Blankenhorn Suggests Forking, Motorola Claims Unaffected

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GPL, KDE, Mail, Microsoft, Virtualisation, Xen at 10:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Paula Rooney was among the first writers out there to notice the real purpose of the Citrix/Xen marriage. She finally elaborates a little, but she does that in a separate yet related context.

Recently we’ve examined the M&A craze sweeping the open source sector, and acknowledged that open source is not only driving the rise of innovative startups like Zimbra and XenSource, but essentially transforming the business models of large traditional proprietary companies such as Sun, Oracle, IBM, Citrix .. and now Microsoft.

I suppose it was only a matter of time.

Citrix’s purchase of XenSource late last year got Microsoft into the open source business in not so subtle fashion. Microsoft and Citrix are so tightly bound that the latter is viewed aalmost as quasi subsidiary of Microsoft. (Let’s not forget that Citrix was one of the last ISVs that refused to move their flagship product to Linux).

We now have Zimbra to worry about (albeit Murdock might make a bid to acquire Yahoo). Fortunately, some forks make a nice get-away opportunity. Hula lived on as Bongo, so the potential of forking, as Dana Blankenhorn explains, proves to be a life saver.

The fork, Joomla, continues to move forward, as does Mambo itself. Over time the code bases separate, the projects become competitors. Think of it as evolution in action.

A fork can cost a project momentum, or not. WordPress, on which this is written, was originally a fork of b2/cafelog. If the forker knows what they’re doing, in other words, they can out-do the forkee.

Remember Nokia and Qt? The recent devouring of Trolltech seems like a hostile move. Motorola has already responded to queries from LinuxDevices, but it does not seem too concerned.

Motorola has responded to the news earlier this week that rival Nokia plans to purchase Trolltech, long-time supplier of the graphical development framework used in Motorola’s Linux phones. In a nutshell, the response boils down to, “We were over Qt, anyway.”

All in all, what we’re seeing here is the hijacking of various key companies through acquisitions. Larry Ellison tried this a couple of years ago, but the company whom he was trying to hurt has just been absorbed by a gentler giant.

In our new daily digests of news we try to include plenty of encouraging stories. However, no matter how you look at it, some of the hostile acquisitions that we have seen recently are anything but good news. Only wishful thinking make them seem so.

Software Patents Insanity; Patent Compensation Six Times Your Market Value

Posted in Patents, Red Hat, Tivoization at 10:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The USPTO in its current state appears to be on the verge of collapse if the following news is anything to go by.

Rambus Inc., the designer of chips for Sony Corp.’s PlayStation video-game console, might collect royalties of as much as $10 billion, six times its market value, by winning a seven-year fight with Hynix Semiconductor Inc.

You can probably see what is happening here. Just the other day, Nokia got sued for many billions as well. There is a track record of abuse there. In Nokia’s case, the blow might be 10 times worse than Alcatel-Lucent (versus Microsoft) case, which had people question the validity of the whole system. Here is another disturbing patent find from Slashdot:

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a ruling by a lower court that Dish Network DVRs infringe upon TiVO’s patent on a ‘multimedia time warping system’. According to some analysts, this could not only make Dish liable for damages, it could force them to shut down their DVR service, harming their customers.

Some weeks ago we wrote about computer game patents [1, 2] and there is a good new article about it in Free Software Magazine.

Of course, there’s probably lots of prior art on this, so it’s hard to believe this even got accepted. Until you see the actual patents, of course. I think this is meant to be covered by Konami’s US patent #6450888 dating from September 2002, although Calloway indicated US patent #6347998 from February 2002. In any case, both show what empty snow jobs patents are nowadays.

Software patents are like guns. They give a false sense of protection.

Microsoft Sells Renault Some SUSE Linux, Folks Respond

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Quote at 9:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When we posted some quick notes about the Renault deal, the press actually cited us, so there appears to be greater acceptance out there, despite the site's name. Mary Jo Foley apparently still deletes comments that link to our site, even ones that were added just days ago.

The Renault story was brought up in LinuxToday a couple of days ago and the responses were, as usual, quote-worthy. Here are a few:

And I’ll say it again.

Microsoft Linux. (Novell)

Linus joke about ‘World Dominatin’ has happened. Why didn’t anybody notice.

It is a strange world when large corporations buy thier Linux from Microsoft.

Another obvious observation (people finally wake up and smell the coffee):

Microsoft makes money on Linux!!

And lastly:

what is wrong when it is the GNU/Linux side which has to be the one to interoperate with Microsoft? Is Microsoft so full of marketing people that they no longer know how to read source code?

So if the customer is large enough, they should be telling Microsoft to fix its lack of interoperability.

I also find it amusing that it’s only for 1,000 certificates and they do a press release on this? Making any ‘big’ Linux deals there Mr Microsoft? It is not 1998 any more.

Judging by the reactions from LinuxToday readers (not only in this particular case), the Novell-Microsoft deal is loathed. But the mainstream media wants you to believe something else. Shades of SCO…

Links 02/02/2008: KDE, Ubuntu 8.04, Eee PC, OLPC, and Much More

Posted in News Roundup at 11:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part V: Novell’s Corporate News, Policies

Posted in Deals, Identity Management, Marketing, NetWare, Novell, Security at 1:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jim Ebzery once again gets his portion in an article covering security and identity.

With an eye on the business implications of security threats, software company Novell identifies three key areas where money will be spent this year: dealing with regulatory compliance, coping with insider threats and preventing identity theft.

“Technology that can automate and validate network activity to meet compliance requirements will grow in importance,” says Jim Ebzery, senior vice president for identity and security management at Novell.

Jeff Jaffe talks about Novell’s career ladder. He also happens to mention some familiar characters such as Greg KH.

Novell, like most technology companies, has a dual career ladder.


Novell’s technical leaders provide an impressive pipeline of Fellow candidates. While we have initiated the program in 2007 with two Fellows – expect more in years to come.

David Patrick, whom we mentioned in the past, is listed among those in a xkoto press release.

– In November, xkoto named seasoned software industry executive David
Patrick as President and CEO. With over 25 years’ senior executive
experience in the software industry, Patrick joined xkoto from Novell.


– In December, the company named Charles Ungashick as Vice President of
Marketing. Ungashick joined xkoto from Deltek, Inc. and brings more than
fifteen years experience in sales and marketing with enterprise software
companies including Novell, Silverstream Software and Filenet.

Novell proudly backs FOSSBazaar, which was discussed last week.

OpenLogic’s CEO, Steven Grandchamp, said in a blog post Tuesday that HP’s media release essentially hogged the limelight, downplaying the fact that many other companies are backing FOSSBazaar, including Google and Novell.

Kewney at ITWeek does some pondering over Novell’s NetWare.

Five years ago, there were still headlines about Novell NetWare. Most people probably imagine that NetWare became history long before that, but the operating system was still clinging onto life in 2003 despite being mortally wounded by Windows NT Server.

One particular headline related to Surrey Council, which bravely threw out its Windows NT servers and went for nostalgia. “We decided to standardise on Novell because we had a better in-house skills base for Novell,” said the council’s IT chief.

After a couple of weeks of large acquisitions, Paula Rooney asks herself whether open source IPOs are still a distant idea. She also uses SUSE as an case study.

Novell’s purchase of SUSE Linux in 2003 fulfilled predictions that a large operating system company would buy a Linux distribution.

That’s it for this week, which was covered in 5 parts (it was only 2 parts last week).

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part IV: Novell’s Partners and Industry Support

Posted in Africa, Mail, Meeting, Novell, Servers, Virtualisation at 1:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There are various new products (software or otherwise) which relate to Novell in one way or another. Here is a fairly complete list which is based on the past week’s news (we still rely heavily on news ‘radars’).

Embarcadero’s new change management tool boasts SUSE support.

Linux version of Change Manager supports Red Hat Enterprise and SUSE

In South Africa, a complete solution for local businesses is based on Novell’s products.

A Linux-based desktop-to-server solution tailored to meet the needs of small businesses, the Novell Open Workgroup Suite Small Business Edition combines the flexibility and cost efficiency of open source software with the support of an established enterprise software vendor, according to the distributor.

Yesterday we mentioned a fork of Novell’s Hula. We wish the best of luck to the Bongo developers, who continue where Novell left off. We also wrote about Bongo about 12 months ago.

In 2005, we thought that we had a solution when Novell released Hula, an open source version of Netmail. Unfortunatly, things didn’t went too far but it ultimately led to a fork called Bongo.

GWAVA, whose videos we showed here several times in the past, has won Novell’s partner of the year award.

Held at Novell´s global kick-off event in Orlando, Florida, and attended by hundreds of Novell´s worldwide sales and marketing staff, GWAVA was awarded due to its overall exceptional work and product support for the Novell GroupWise Collaboration Community.

Projity has hit the 1.0 milestone and celebrated this with a self-promotional press release that also gives Novell some bragging rights.

“Novell supports all community efforts to bring more applications to the Linux desktop,” said Justin Steinman, director of marketing for Linux and Open Platform Solutions at Novell. “OpenProj addresses an important customer need — the availability of an open source application for project management. As more users migrate to SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop and OpenOffice.org, these users will be seeking tools like OpenProj to help them complete their daily business tasks.” — Justin Steinman, director of marketing for Linux and Open Platform Solutions at Novell

Novell is listed among those who having presence in a new Parallels webcast.

There will be a launch webcast event (www.parallels.com/launchevent) with Parallels CEO, Serguei Beloussov on Thursday (January 31) at 11 AM Eastern U.S time that will further illuminate the Parallels strategy for the next generation of virtualization products. Joining will be executives from AMD, HP, Intel, Novell and SGI.

Novell seems to be flirting with quite a few virtualisation companies at the same time, but then again, so do IBM and Red Hat. it’s all about choice.

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