Bonum Certa Men Certa

Is Net Applications One Order of Magnitude Off Target?

Summary: Another go at a comparison between truth and fiction

SURVEYS that encompass many Web sites cost a lot of money/effort/time to produce and the gain from them is mere unless a particular party gains. It is always very, very important to check where the money comes from. It's valuable to at least understand the business model.



Here at Boycott Novell, 45% of the pages this month are served to "Linux" (that's more than the equivalent figure for "Windows", where "Windows" is just the way it's parsed by AWStats, although there could be HTTP header modification because some people wrestle with stubborn IE-only Web sites).

Moments ago we wrote about the numbers from Net Applications and while we claimed that they were utterly wrong, we wrote nothing about what may be correct.

According to our reader, Chip, Net Applications claimed that GNU/Linux had a market share of 0.3% some years ago (subscription needed). In July of 2007 that's what they are said to have claimed. But wait. This has got to be wrong because it's highly inconsistent w.r.t. other figures we have. From the past couple of weeks we get:

Lies, Damn Lies and Linux Market Share Statistics

"The numbers from NetApplications are clearly unrepresentative of reality," blogger Robert Pogson told LinuxInsider. "Around 2003/4, IDC determined by survey that GNU/Linux was ahead of Mac OS at about 3 percent. Since then GNU/Linux has had growth numbers from 20 to 50 percent in various places.

"That would put GNU/Linux at 7 to 9 percent," he asserted.


There is also this:

usiness model is rebranding Windows executables and selling them to unsuspecting rubes.

A year ago Matt Assay said it was at 2.02%

ZDNet reported on Feb 24th, 2004 that the 2003 Linux desktop market share hit 3.2% and expected it to hit 6% by 2007. http://blogs.zdnet.com/ITFacts/?p=5334 In 2005 they reported that the 2004 saw the Linux desktop at 4%. I believe that the all the ZDNet figures were spot on. If anything, the Linux desktop market share has continued to increase and is probably currently at 8-10% and rising. Dell and the other PC OEMs wouldn't have invested in selling Linux pre-installed if it appealed only to less than 1% of the desktop market.

It is quite obvious that NetApplications latest "report" is merely Microsoft's continuing attempt to control the news about Linux's success in replacing Windows on the desktop. It's not working... No one whith half an ounce of brain would take the bait on a "free" Win7 (a dumbed down version that can run only 3 apps at a time) that will deactivate after one year unless the user PAYS Microsoft to activate it. Win7 is NOT free.


As our reader amd-linux (from Germany) put it earlier today:

The thing is that NetApps gets a lot of attention from US/UK IT press, while other observations that show MUCH higher numbers and are equally representative are more or less ignored.

One example is OS stats on heise.de, which is THE mainstream IT new site in Germany. They have now 15% Linux users among their readers, and it would be way more if readers like me were in a situation to use Linux in the office where I read heise.de mostly.

Another example, if you question heise.de being representative is spigel.de which is one of the leading sites of the world (133 in Alexa) and a mainstream news website. Here Linux has around 4%-6%, coming from nearly nothing 2 yrs ago. While spiegel.de is a German news site, is is read from around the world like the BBC site.

It is IMHO safe to assume that Linux worldwide is closer to 2 % than to 1%. The only source who could reliably shed some light on this would be Google, but they refuse to publish any numbers.

But the best, and this nobody can ignore, is the trend. Linux usage is virtually exploding with growth in the double digit percentage area quarter per quarter.


Readers can decide for themselves what the installed base of GNU/Linux really is. We only present some evidence here.

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