Linux manages to achieve 1% usage share worldwide

By Justin Mann on May 1, 2009, 4:39 PM
Every year, someone invariably says that particular year will be the “Year of the Linux Desktop”. It's been said so much that it has become somewhat of a gag, with people laughing at the notion more than anything else.

To date all predictions about Linux overtaking any significant portion of user's desktops have fallen flat for one reason or another. Still, Linux through various iterations of distros has managed to grab a stable user base that does grow – if slowly. Lately, the most recent statistics from Net Applications indicate that the number of Linux users on the Internet has actually exceeded one percent globally.

A drop in the bucket compared to Windows' total market share, but important when you consider that Mac OS X, the second most popular OS in the world, has a share of around 9%. That 9% is more than enough to get industry support from many hardware and software vendors, as well as enough to sustain a flourishing economy of Mac users. Critical mass for Linux doesn't necessarily need to be "world domination" - it could amount to just a few percentage points that on a global scale is still a large number of people.

Is this number indicative that people are switching from one OS to another, or is it telling us that a larger amount of new users on the Internet are using Linux-based machines? That's hard to say, but one thing is for sure, despite of vast improvements across the board, not everybody believes in the viability of the Linux desktop.

User Comments: 14

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windmill007 said:
Ya I'm pretty technical and I tried Ubuntu..>Suppose to be the most user friendly. Well sorry to say it was OK but not very user friendly. Trying to install anything is so crazy. Sure if u just do some basic stuff with whats there you could hobble thru it but I think it has to evolve a lot more to have any chance. If its a lot more polished now I hate to see what it was a few years back. To me its like windows 95.... Its OK but they need a few more versions before it becomes even remotely close to windows in ease of use. I tried the KDE version and it was much better but there are to many flavors out there and that is just another nail in the coffin I think. I think unless windows messes up majorly it will continue to dominate for years.
captain828 said:
Linux is a free OS, but unfortunately there is very little 'buzz' associated with it. Very many people either haven't heard of it don't give dime about it.IMO, sure they aren't as user friendly as the other 2 OSes, but there are still some great distros out there. Unfortunately, unless you are a very *nix savvy person, you don't quite get to know about them.Also, one of the main advantages of Linux, and *nix based systems for that matter, is that they eat very little resources... yet this is starting to fade given how powerful CPU's are and how cheap RAM is these days. Their only viable area is that for networks/sites because of their increased security.
Tekkaraiden said:
Been using various incarnations of Linux for the past 9 months on my download computer. My only complaint would be it can't do everything windows can do, as easily as windows can do it. Installing programs takes a bit to figure out but once you do it's quite easy. Ubuntu was bay far the most user friendly next to fedora. When I build my next download box I'll likely install Linux again.
phantasm66 said:
OK I have kind of said this several times now... but I don't believe in Linux for the desktop much.Linux is very, very important as a server platform for me. I could not do without it.But the desktop is just so crappy and apparently even Red Hat CEO thinks its problematic.Red Hat CEO questions desktop's relevance in Linux debate[url]
windmill007 said:
Thanks its not just me. I was just frustrated because I expected more and was really let down. But I could see on the business side when you factor in cost, etc it might be a lot more attractive.
TJGeezer said:
I'm using a low-end prepackaged PC with 64-bit Vista on it, and the ability to boot from external drives, flash drives, etc. Hey - great! So I tried Ubuntu on a 4GB flash drive, then on a larger partition carved out of a second SATA drive. Tried Kubuntu, liked it better. Tried some other versions, but no distribution supported my low-end Nvidia video chip. I mostly do writing and editing, with a little audio and video application work, nothing too challenging, but I don't want to do it at 600x800, the best Linux would give me. Been working with PCs since WordStar days before the IBM PC set an open standard, so I'm not completely ignorant. When Linux can handle low-end mass-produced hardware, I'll be happy to switch over.
darkshadoe said:
Well if the arrogant Linux community would get its collective heads out of their a$$es, they could make a competitve OS. Quit coming up with stupid software that only 3 people use and make something that will scare M$. Ubuntu is a good foundation, now it just needs refined.Gaming is another area that is just going to waste in Linux. Why the hell would you keep improving on Wine and the such when you could just develop decent games for Linux? Mac OS is Unix based and they have games so it should be possible to do. If someone can program Tux Racer, then it shouldn't be hard to come up with a good original installation. Why the hell hasn't someone developed a standardized method. Some nerd can make a program that will calculate the density of black holes but can't make a program that will install it? How bloody arrogant can you be?
DarkCobra said:
Well I think we can all pretty much agree (to varying extents) that Linux is important but has a long way to go in being useful for the vast majority of users. It's a solid system but certainly not the most friendly. Unfortunately, what it will really need to make it take off is an enormous company behind it. However, that is also what will in time kill it if that happens.
9Nails said:
I agree DarkCobra - it's not friendly to use. But there are big companies behind it such as RedHat and Novell. To some extent Apple as well.For me, desktop selection always comes down to the Applications that I run. I game, therefore I Windows. There isn't any alternative.
Rick said:
With full support from software and hardware manufacturers, Linux would be great. It would work great straight 'out of the box' and its probable that (almost) everyone would be satisfied with it. Unfortunately, full software/hardware industry support is still a fantasy. I admit though, things are MUCH better than they were several years ago.I think just about everyone can agree the main problem with Linux is, when it doesn't work: it REALLY doesn't work! But it does a much better job working out of the box than even Windows for things that most people care about... when it works
Von RIff said:
people think of the children,poor childrens, still developing country, u dont expect them to buy XP or Vista right, so its great to see Ubuntu are more user friendly and such, ive tried it, and im a total XP user, i can survive, still easy to use, not that bad actually, just still need improvement, but thats all good, why??? Cause its free, those kid in developing country, they dont need to know what is Crysis or Dead Space and such, they need to by IT savvy without having to throwing they're life savings...Ok people, when people want to help the world, dont go BS on them, support them...because the people at microsoft just wont sell they're old product for free, for god sake, installing vista has to remove your XP, but still they are selling XP, WTF is its a good thing to see improvement in linux in desktop
tedster said:
I've used linux at work for years and I hate it. It's the most user unfriendly system I have ever seen. WAY too complicated for the average user. The reason windows and it's flavors are successful is because it is relatively intuitive and easy to use. Even if you only click on stuff, you can usually figure things out. Linux is not. You have to memorize all kinds of commands. While this may be more powerful, it is not friendly. After 14 years of using linux based systems at work, I gave up on it.
phantasm66 said:
I just run it as a virtual machine now under vmware and it does everything I need it to, i.e. apache server, mysql, subversion, scripts, etc.
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