09.10.10

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GNU/Linux Desktop Market Share in the United States Not the Global Share

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux heat map
According to this leaked Microsoft chart, in 2003 “Linux % of PC installed base” in “Enterprise” was 0.27% in the US, 3.20% in Germany, 3.30% in France, and 4.20% in Russia (read more)

Summary: A quick response to operating system surveys which are predominantly US-oriented

SO FAR this week we’ve abstained from becoming part of the “market share” debate, which was reignited quite characteristically by US-oriented surveys from private firms like the Apple- and Microsoft-sponsored Net Applications. The discussion really started to spread when Miss Martin wrote a good rebuttal. We addressed this issue many times in the past, so there is no point doing it again, not in a detailed fashion anyway. We posted new links about this almost every day this week.

IDG’s pseudo-open source blog [1, 2, 3]* touches this subject at the moment. Novell’s former employee says: “I’d love to endorse Martin’s conclusion of 10%, but it doesn’t seem realistic at all to say that Linux has 10% of the desktop market. I take many stats with a huge grain of salt, but the Wikimedia stats that sample traffic hitting Wikipedia in June of this year show Linux with less than 2%. I trust that Wikipedia has no reason to game the numbers. Wikipedia and its sister sites are pretty popular across a broad demographic, so I don’t really think that the site is hugely out of whack with the rest of the population.”

“Remember this: the market share of Microsoft in search in the United States is estimated to be triple (or quadruple) that of its global market share in search.”Wikipedia numbers are not accurate as a global indicator and there are other shortcomings to these numbers. I have just had conversations about it with David Gerard (famous Wikipedia person), who may write an article for us about the subject of GNU/Linux market share.

Wikipedia figures — just like many others that are readily available in the West — are mentioning/including just English-speaking sites and rarely German or Brazilian sites, for instance (where GNU/Linux traffic is known to be rather amazing, not just sales of GNU/Linux, even in preinstalled form). Unless Wikipedia is used equally by all nations (distributed equally to account for bandwidth and normalise for population size), it too is tilted in favour English-speaking nations. There is no assurance that regional subsites/other languages represent and embody the correct international demography at hand as Wikipedia is far more extensive in the English language (while more people/nations speak Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic). Hints can be given about statistical bias when one investigates the market share of Apple operating systems. Apple is just a niche product in some of the world’s richest nations. Within a global context or scope, Mac/hypeOS share should be minute.

Remember this: the market share of Microsoft in search in the United States is estimated to be triple (or quadruple) that of its global market share in search. It’s not a coincidence; it’s population bias and citizens of the United States are only about 5% of the world (yet they dominate the English-speaking world, impacting information flow).
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* Speaking of this blog, don’t miss Black Duck‘s new post there where its executive uses the blog to spread fear and sell its products. They are selling advice through means of uncertainty (the headline, for example, says that “recent court ruling makes it more important than ever to understand the GPL”).

“What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?” –George Eliot

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