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The reasons why Linux will never go above 2.something% of computer users.



arochester

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I try to not get drawn into arguments like "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?".

But what do these "statistics" reflect? Where do they come from? How are they arrived at?

If we measure the sale of desktop computers, Microsoft will come out top because most desktop computers have Windows preinstalled. Try to buy a new computer without an OS, or try to get a refund because you don't want Windows.

I have, at the last count, 3 laptops and 2 desktops. All run Linux, because I downloaded Linux and installed it. I don't think they have been counted.

If we look at all platforms, not just desktop computers, there are more Android (based on Linux) phones than Windows.

In 2020 more ChromeOS (based on Linux) computers were sold than OS X, yet OS X is still said to have more market share. How?

Anybody got a Raspberry Pi or similar? ... Linux.

When I read this thread my first reaction was to look up Wikipedia: FUD https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty,_and_doubt
 
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forester

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I try to not get drawn into arguments like "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?".

But what do these "statistics" reflect? Where do they come from? How are they arrived at?

. . .

When I read this thread my first reaction was to look up Wikipedia: FUD https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty,_and_doubt
+1 @arochester !

Nowadays, it seems corporate-derived statistics = Fake News.

Just look at the "green" and "alternative energy" bs going around, duping most of the general populace! "BioFuel" -- yeah, trees.
 

KGIII

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Where do they come from?

They're drawn from things like the logs from thousands of sites. Generally speaking, we can see in our logs what operating system you're using (and what browser, what screen resolution, IP address, etc.) and then extrapolate with some level of accuracy. Certain sites wouldn't be beneficial for this - like my Linux site gets most of its traffic from Linux users and Microsoft's Windows Insider site is likely getting a skewed result as well. While that data can be normalized, it's easier just to drop the outliers and work with the remainders.

A more accurate estimate is around 4%, and about 40,000,000 desktop Linux users (from what I read - the overall number comes from me and it's actually about 38 mil to 44 mil). Which really isn't that small a number. There aren't as many desktop users (per capita) than there used to be.

Mobile has dominated the market, with many foregoing a desktop system entirely. This is influenced by the more poor countries getting a chance to go online at lower costs than buying a desktop and a mobile phone. While sometimes spotty, the cell network is (so I'm told) better than the bandwidth you'll get at home or in an internet cafe.

Though I don't like to admit it, Android is indeed a version of Linux. So, no matter how they try to spin it, the number of Linux devices VASTLY outnumbers the number of Windows devices. Plus, as mentioned earlier, Linux has gone as far as Mars. Windows can't say that.
 

captain-sensible

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Fragmentation of effort.
Totally agree ; you would need to be an accomplished "cat herder" , psychologist and backed up by Don Vito Corleone with a gun to people heads, its seems to be able to bring people together and co-operate on a single Desktop project
.and yet, there are. We still have plenty of people running windows 8, 10, 11. It's not that uncommon
to even find Windows server 2003, 2008, 2012, 2019, 2022.

thats basically a version control of the same product; you can't use that to compare to totally different linux Distros
 
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captain-sensible

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This isn't the first time Germany has tried this. The last time was about 12 years ago.

yeah i think they were using Suse, saw some thing somewhere suggesting they went back to Windows
 

KGIII

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yeah i think they were using Suse, saw some thing somewhere suggesting they went back to Windows

As memory serves, they made it like 3 years and the main problem they had was training costs - which costs aren't just formal training but include things like lost productivity, increased errors, and slower results. I think they had some compatibility issues as well - and not just issues resolved by using ODT and PDF formats.

We discussed it extensively on Slashdot, which is why I remembered that they'd tried Linux before. Alas, it was many memories ago, so the details of this have long since become fuzzy memories. But, as memory serves - and relying on my memory of something trivial from more than a decade ago is probably not a good idea...

Some of the smarter slashdotters indicated that it was also due to wrong expectations, both with results and finances. It was somehow cheaper for them to burn it all to the ground and go back to Windows. Some of the more conspiratorial slashdotters said it was because Microsoft offered them steep discounts, bribed politicians, and threatened retaliation with things like pulling local corporate offices from the country.
 

Brickwizard

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But of course we are missing one big user of Linux......., Microsoft themselves, their Azure[cloud] and azure sphere both have Linux at their cores, and the Microsoft development team use Linux as a closed system [so I have been told].. How many Windows users of these products realise it's Linux.

 

forester

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It was back about 2012 or so that I was at LinuxFest Northwest and spoke with one of the lead engineers at SUSE. Through the course of an extended conversation, he told me privately that Microsoft had purchased a goodly percentage of SUSE through another-named corporation or such. That M$ did not want it publicized at the time. Is this the approximate time period in question?
 

darry1966

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Do those figures take into account all those tvs that run Linux and other devices phones, tablets apart from computers. Just goes to show the portability of Linux.

Never thought of that being possible when I used Linux during its early days.
 

Brickwizard

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The azure products were released in 2020 my source gave me the info around 2017
 

KGIII

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about 2012

That'd be a couple of years after the fact.

Do those figures take into account all those tvs that run Linux and other devices phones, tablets apart from computers.

Of course not. They're just counting the desktop market. If they counted all the rest, Microsoft wouldn't look so ubiquitous.
 

Mike13Foxtrot

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8, 10, 11. It's not that uncommon
I have DOS 6.2 on disk. Win 3.1, 95, 98 and 98SE, and yes even ME, Win7, Vista. 8.1 still on a dual boot laptop I never boot too, I just use Mint. Win 10 on 2 machines. 1 main desktop still have work stuff not yet on Web, and Dual boot gaming Tower.

I could gather all the parts I still have and build a DOS only pc, with Windows 3.1 that you have to start yourself. But then again I am thinking of grabbing an old rotary dial phone for the home. Go real old school and get one in glorious basic black Bakelite.
 
OP
thisisjay

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I read/ skimmed all of the responses to what I said. I’m not going to drone on and on about this, but I did want to respond to a few points that were brought up.

I’m a troll. Originally a “troll” was someone who created a post with an agenda that was contrary to the purpose of a forum or inappropriate for the forum that it was being posted in. More recently anyone who presents an unpopular opinion that may be considered inflammatory in nature gets labeled a “troll” and it is therefore acceptable and even encouraged to ignore them. I prefaced my post by stating that I was not a troll(another obvious sign that someone is definitely a troll) and pointed out that most PC users would like to give the middle finger to MS, myself included. I then made some extremely valid points, most of which were countered with something analogous to “nuh uh”.

Have I ever actually tried Linux? It would be incredibly ignorant and pointless to draw a red circle around problems in software that I have never actually used. This question feels like a strawman. So yes! I have tried many, many, many distros of Linux, on many, many, many different pieces of hardware many, many, many times. These experiences are what I am basing my observations on.

Linux is being used at a much higher rate than 2.xx%. I thought it would be clear from my observations that I was talking about Linux on the desktop. I didn’t realize that I would need to explicitly state that point. The 2.xx% are the desktop users. That number has been as high as 2.43%, but has been and continues to be in decline. I’m not living under a rock. I do understand that Linux is being used for most commercial applications, hardware devices like routers and TV boxes, etc. Someone pointed out that Android is Linux based. I’m also aware and understand that hundreds of millions of people are using it. Android is not desktop Linux although I am aware that various projects have brought Android to the desktop with very mixed results. I have tried many of these solutions and despite having “good” software they all failed in ways similar to my observations of desktop Linux. You also have to take into account that Android is a product that is being developed commercially and tailored to work on two specific types of hardware, not a general purpose OS designed to be used on a large variety of hardware like Windows, MacOS(Unix/BSD), and Linux.

Linux IS faster than Windows because I installed Linux on an older PC/laptop that was dog ass slow in Windows and now it's faster. I agree that installing Linux on an old computer with its original factory install of Windows will greatly speed things up. Installing a “fresh” copy of a version of Windows appropriate to the age of the machine would yield a much better result in terms of speed, compatibility, and usability.

LibreOffice beats/ equals MS Office. I didn’t address Office software because I use Google Docs/ Sheets for that. The experience with Google office products would obviously be very similar in any OS that supports Google Chrome. I would put LibreOffice in the “good” category, but assert that it’s not a drop in replacement for MS Office. I have had a few head scratching moments and my MS Office created spreadsheets look like carp in LibreOffice. The problem with LibreOffice is that even assuming it was every bit as good as MS Office, it doesn’t make sense to use in a business environment. The cost of training end users and IT staff on a product that has a very small user base is likely to exceed the cost of MS Office licenses. The hours spent dealing with those WTF situations that inevitably arise when using open source software make LibreOffice an even less attractive option for businesses. “Open source is only free if your time is worthless” definitely applies here.

Fragmentation of effort.. A couple people did address the fragmentation of effort issue, but managed to completely miss the point I was trying to make with my analogy. Yes there are many versions of Windows, but only a few are in use at any particular time and were all part of the evolution of common goals that brought incremental improvements(mostly). Linux by stark contrast has hundreds of versions at any given time and possibly thousands historically. Each version has unique things that are broken, working, or have (oftentimes) sloppy work arounds. There is no version that for the most part “just works”. There is also no guarantee that something that works today won’t break tomorrow.

Conclusion. There are many other things that I didn’t mention such as a Windows 95 level of rebooting required in many distros, often spotty hardware support, and the hours wasted trying to make simple things work well or at all on the same hardware that does these things (mostly) flawlessly in Windows. The majority of responses smack of confirmation bias, wish thinking, or commitment to a dream that is never likely to come to fruition. I would like to tell MS to piss off as much as the next guy, but Linux is unlikely to ever be the ticket out for most users.
 

Condobloke

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The majority of responses smack of confirmation bias, wish thinking, or commitment to a dream that is never likely to come to fruition.
And yet the above verbiage displays equal if not greater confirmation bias, altered facts to suit that bias, and a commitment that only a troll could have.

Go and troll elsewhere.
 

KGIII

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I’m a troll.

Yeah, we know. We still let the thread exist.

That's not going to stop us from having a perfectly good discussion on the matter. It'll be educational for future readers.
 

CrazedNerd

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I agree with you, OP, except for your comment about system performance. Windows system performance is also just dependent on a variety of factors, if windows performs better, it probably has to do with the software.

A lot of people use linux without realizing it, if you factor in android, people who drive cars that use linux, other kinds of consumer products then that % probably is much higher.

The main purpose of linux is the difference in philosophy: linux users are typically curmudgeony/stubborn folks such as myself who like to do things themselves. There is only one true windows because the proprietary philosophy interferes with creativity. Copyright interferes with creative freedom, even if it makes some people rich. I personally hate the veil of knowledge in the tech industry: "if you need to do _____, you need to know ______." So much information is false.

open source software may be a joke a large % of the time, but i've been using open/libre office for years, and it doesn't have any major problems.
 

CrazedNerd

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Linux is being used at a much higher rate than 2.xx%. I thought it would be clear from my observations that I was talking about Linux on the desktop. I didn’t realize that I would need to explicitly state that point. The 2.xx% are the desktop users.
Don't see why you would expect for people who don't know what you are talking about to just get what you are saying when you are not saying it.

As far as the trolling thing is concerned, i consider basically everyone on social media and foums to be a troll, because everyone likes to get responses. The type of trolling that should be considered suspicous is when that's all the poster is after, you seem to be telling the truth so in my eyes you're not much of a troll.

A lot of linux software works just fine, yet i have been using MS for over 20 years and sometimes it does not "just work", sometimes even the simplest things, for example: on windows 10 i always tell the keyboard to be US English upon installation, but there's a bug that switches it to UK englisn. I do think your point about fragmented effort is correct though, part of the thing about linux on desktops is you have to be willing to compensate for the lack of popularity with extra effort...and most computer users do not want that.
 
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