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Gartner Hypnosis: Pretending Android and Linux Are Totally Separate

Tux in money
Should Linux too bribe Gartner to say nice things?



Summary: Gartner has found artistic new ways to argue that Linux in declining while it is in fact gaining at tremendous rates

STATISTICS can be gathered and presented to show just about anything. It depends on what is shown, how data gets classified, what population is inquired, and a variety of other factors. To quote figures from a few days ago, Google claims to be activating 100,000 Android/Linux devices every day. Good for Linux, right?



The Gartner Group's history of hatred for Linux is understandable. Free software does not pay Gartner's bills and Gartner's business model is the selling of data and reports, which clients are ordering with a clear agenda in mind -- an agenda that Gartner needs to respect if it is to be paid. They can lie without exactly lying by choosing improper methods and data.

For those who want to know more about the Gartner Group, we have a Wiki page dedicated to it. We sometimes call it the "Gangster Group" because it colludes with clients, whereas free software supporters typically value trust more than they value quick cash.

“Analysts sell out - that’s their business model… But they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes them very prickly to work with.”

--Microsoft, internal document [PDF]



Earlier in the week we found Novell bragging that, having paid the infamous "analyst tax", it is now seen by Gartner as worthy of recommendation. Gartner has already been sued over its practices when it comes to the Magic Quadrant, but Novell takes pride in it.

Novell today announced it has been positioned by Gartner, Inc. in the Leaders Quadrant of the 2010 Magic Quadrant for Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)*.

The Gartner Security Information and Event Management Magic Quadrant was created based on research conducted by analysts Mark Nicolett and Kelly M. Kavanagh. According to the report, "The SIEM market is defined by the customer's need to analyze security event data in real time for internal and external threat management, and to collect, store, analyze and report on log data for regulatory compliance and forensics."


Novell brags about it in its PR blog too. It's the same superficial coverage one ought to expect from PR people; they got their money's worth.

It brings us to the item which actually concerns us the most. What's wrong with the following new headline?

"Gartner: Android leapfrogs Linux and Windows Mobile"

That's right, Gartner has decided that Android and Linux are completely separate. We'll come to its pathetic excuse later on, but first we present some responses from Linux Today readers. Just quoting in serial order we have:

“What junk reporting by Gartner (again) is this? Android runs on Linux. Typical reporting by an organisation who are in MS' back pocket.”
      --Linux Today reader
"I wonder why they have separated Android and Linux. Since Android is Linux with a particular software stack. I mean to be consistent wouldn't they have to divide Symbian up among different software stacks available for it? I suppose I should just realize it is Gartner and just ignore them." --Source

"What junk reporting by Gartner (again) is this? Android runs on Linux. Typical reporting by an organisation who are in MS' back pocket." --Source

"Whenever I read something about Android in the paper press until now, it was always being referred to as 'the mobile/ smartphone operating system developed by Google'. Unsurprisingly, Gartner continues this fine tradition. I also wouldn't be surprised if this continues along the lines of Miguel de Icaza's weird 'Miguel de Icaza & friends'-propaganda, who also claims to have invented/ developed "the Linux desktop system" based on some derelict parts of something he found laying somewhere on the Internet which "didn't work"." --Source

These are just the first three comments. It carries on as there are a lot more comments here. The deception from Gartner reached some other news sites and one site presented Gartner's excuse:

Android's gain is Microsoft's pain, as Windows Mobile dropped from 10.2 percent to 6.8 percent. Also taking it on the chin is the "Linux" category, down from 7 percent to 3.7 percent. Android is based on Linux, so it's a case of splitting hairs.

But generic Linux is different in that Android is seen as a full-blown ecosystem and not just an OS, and that is what is driving the most successful platforms, said Gartner. "As seen with the iPad and Web books based on Google's Android platform, mobile OS ecosystems are developing and will move beyond smartphones to continue to deliver consumer value and a rich user experience,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner in a statement.


Let's be clear here. No phone can run just Linux. None. Linux is a kernel or a platform, it is not an operating system. Who would create or tolerate some self-serving illusions with a poor classification that belittles Linux, as it doesn't hire Gartner? They use the word "ecosystem", which GNU recommends avoiding. As the site explains it: "It is a mistake to describe the free software community, or any human community, as an “ecosystem,” because that word implies the absence of ethical judgment.

"The term “ecosystem” implicitly suggests an attitude of nonjudgmental observation: don't ask how what should happen, just study and explain what does happen. In an ecosystem, some organisms consume other organisms. We do not ask whether it is fair for an owl to eat a mouse or for a mouse to eat a plant, we only observe that they do so. Species' populations grow or shrink according to the conditions; this is neither right nor wrong, merely an ecological phenomenon.

"By contrast, beings that adopt an ethical stance towards their surroundings can decide to preserve things that, on their own, might vanish—such as civil society, democracy, human rights, peace, public health, clean air and water, endangered species, traditional arts…and computer users' freedom."

Gartner: an ecosystem lacking integrity and ethics. "Making money" is not necessarily "doing good" and Gartner works for clients and shareholders (Bill Gates is among them), not for academic or scientific reasons.

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