Expanding Linux desktop market

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by Mrkvonic, Apr 13, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Posts:
    8,702
    Hello all,

    A community discussion if you will ...

    Quite a lot of people have given this prospect a thought. Can Linux become a serious player on the desktop market? Can it contest with Windows and MAC - and possibly even overcome them one day?

    Here's my view on what needs to be done so that Linux grabs 25% of desktop share by year 2020 (provided the world still exists then):

    http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/linux-market.html

    Regards,
    Mrk
     
  2. Arup

    Arup Guest

    I predict with few more releases of Ubuntu, SuSe and others it will happen sooner.
     
  3. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Posts:
    8,702
    I sincerely hope you're right. However, I'm not counting on the collective intelligence of computer users worldwide. As long as people are sold computers bundled with windows, papers continue to talk about windows only as a given, games are made for windows mostly, and no advertising of the linux desktop, it's gonna be tough.

    Novell, IBM, RedHat, HP didn't get there because they didn't work hard to sell their models. And like one, they simply refused to go into desktop domain. IBM is the greatest traitor of all, once PCs were measured by being IBM-compatible. Today, does anyone ever remember they were no.1 desktop choice in 1985?

    Cheers,
    Mrk
     
  4. sukarof

    sukarof Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Posts:
    1,714
    Location:
    Stockholm Sweden
    Sometimes I feel a bit pessimistic... I mean it is really hard to get the average Windows user to run a limited account FGS!... :)

    On the other hand, if a amateur like me (well, geek wannabe :) ) can manage Linux, then all hope is not gone. I never thought I would switch since I thought I was happy with windows, but here I am.
    Once the windows enthusiasts start to check linux out (and I think they will when they understand how configurable Linux is, that the user isnt locked in like I felt with windows), it will start to move I think. With that maybe games come too..
    And maybe malware fatigue will set in sooner or later.
     
  5. chronomatic

    chronomatic Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2009
    Posts:
    1,343
    I don't care whether it increases its market share or not. Linux is not trying to be Windoze, nor should it be. All that matters, as far as I am concerned, is that it continues to get better and provide FLOSS alternatives to M$ only software. If this is done, the market share will follow.

    I don't think it is wise for Linux devs to have the mindset of trying to compete with Windoze or attempt to take market share from the beheamouth in Redmond. Let's face it, Linux is a more advanced OS than Windoze, and the power of it will always be beyond the average Joe Blow computer user.

    And let me add that some things in the computer world are just not compatible with the FLOSS model. For instance, DRM. In order for games to ever come to Linux, it would require Linux incorporate DRM, etc. The same goes for a lot of online music and movie sites -- they will never pander to Linux for this reason. I am not crazy about having binary blobs of mysterious DRM junk on my PC. This is one reason I got away from M$ in the first place.

    EDIT: Let me also add that I think the time of closed-source software is coming to an end. There is just too much high quality stuff to be had for free. M$, no matter how big they are, cannot compete with free. Who wants to spend $300 for a bloated POS OS like Windows when a better one can be had for free? I've been saying it for a while now, but I think M$'s days of producing OS's will come to an end. The future is open-source. I am not predicting that M$ will go out of business. No, but they will have to change their business model (perhaps become more focused on hardware and on online entertainment, like with their deal with Netflix and their Xbox gaming console. And they will probably put a lot of effort into the horrendous idea of "cloud computing").
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2009
  6. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Posts:
    8,702
    You can have music and games without drm. Galactic Civilizations is a great example. Those who want to buy games will buy them, and those who won't, won't. Software will not stop them. It has not so far.
    Mrk
     
  7. chronomatic

    chronomatic Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2009
    Posts:
    1,343
    Yes, but who is going to sell their games without a way of protecting their IP? As an example: It's technically illegal to watch a DVD or play an mp3 on a Linux box. Why? Because Linux has to use DeCSS (created by a Scandinavian teenager) in order to crack CSS encryption. Linux doesn't have the blessing of the MAFIAA and never will unless it bows at the altar.

    As for games: Yes, there are some great FLOSS games out there created by people who just enjoy doing it, but the "big" gaming companies are still not on board -- yet. There is nothing really, in theory, that will prevent the purist FLOSS folks from coexisting with those in the Linux community who don't mind installing closed-source games along with the DRM that comes with it. The problem is, how will the gaming companies distribute the games? Are they going to put a DEB, an RPM, and a tarball on a CD? Then you run into the problem of an RPM working on Fedora but not on Mandriva or PCLOS. Are they then going to have to put 3 different "formats" of RPM on the CD? Do they really want to deal with the diversity of Linux? Then you have Gentoo and Slackware, which are source based distros. Software is typically installed on them by compiling it.

    I suppose they could get around this by just releasing a single binary that is platform agnostic (much like Nvidia drivers), but they would have to include a bunch of different instructions for different distros pertaining to installation. And you will never have these games added to the software repositories because they aren't free as in beer, so the end user will essentially have to follow a bunch of instructions to get it installed. Not a problem for a geek, but it will be a problem for a recent Linux convert.
     
  8. wat0114

    wat0114 Guest

    Mrk,

    the lack of advertising for Linux as you mentioned is, to me, what probably hurts Linux most. I say why can't some pc vendors offer an easy-to-use Linux distro along with Windows pre-installed as dual boot, so that at least people can check it out if they desire? BTW, my 10 yr old daughter likes PCLinux 2009 a lot, and she has little problem setting up the menus, panel, background, and other personal settings to her liking, so I believe linux offers a viable alternative to Windows for a wide range of users, probably more so in the next few years when the current user-friendly distros become even easier to use and those that are part way there are refined to cater to those who might otherwise be intimidated by Linux. She also notices how much "snappier" her surfing experience is using linux :)

    PCLinux for one is already loaded with numerous useful apps like Open Office, Firefox, Kb3 media burner, Amarok, Kaffeine...to name a few, so I don't see why future distros can't be developed to include most everything the typical user wants and needs. I'm sure Ubuntu is similar if not better in this regard, and maybe there are others I'm not aware of, but, really, the sky's the limit imo for linux developing into a popular alternative to Windows, as long as there are communities devoted to its continual deveopment, and something must be done, I have no idea how, to advertise it better as you mention.
     
  9. loli22

    loli22 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2008
    Posts:
    92
    my opinion on the dilema LINUX ¦ MARKET SHARE a lot of poeple think linux is dificult or the average joe user is not to savvy, it's true linux is still complicated for joe, and joe doesn't want to learn tons of docs so he can send an email while he is in the park enjoying the sun, he can do it with windows, that's enough for him.
    the probleme is the whole industry, specialy hardware maker not supporting linux, example, my laptop doesn't have a wifi, so i bought netgear usb adapter, when you use windows xp you just install the driver and off you go, but with linux you have to make a trip to shaoline temple, and stay few years lerning the mystical secrets of kung fu, and then maybe it will work, why? because netgear didn't provide you with a linux driver.
    vmware infrastucture for example run only on windows...and so on.
     
  10. Meriadoc

    Meriadoc Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Posts:
    2,642
    Location:
    Cymru
    Nice report there Mrk and plenty of food for thought. I sometimes think I wouldn't want linux to expand too much. I don't want the os to get too much like Windows, I certainly don't want the fun to go out of it or loose any of the diversity...

    But I use linux because it is a great os not because it is open source although that is a good reason, but speaking of share it doesn't matter how good an os it is if it is unknown.

    Not only vendors can promote, we can also. Look how big the community is. I've turned so many onto linux - my son (15) machine is Vista/Ubuntu dual boot, his choice - but not just family...I've set up friends machines also, made it look absolutely great and showed them how to use it.

    At the end of the day though, it will be the needs of the user that will depict popularity.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2009
  11. Beavenburt

    Beavenburt Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2006
    Posts:
    566
    Personally, I couldn't give a ****. Let the little lambs be brainwashed into buying bloated Windows and paying fortunes for ipods etc. Do we as a community really want every tom, dick and harry using Linux. I kinda like being in the minority. If Linux ends up with 25% market share then that would mean it has been dumbed down so much it has become too Windows like or MAC like. I don't want hand holding when using MY computer.
    It sounds weird but I think the very thing we all love and cherish about Linux is what will hinder it going mainstream and that is choice.
    For some reason, when buying a PC, average Joe wants to be told exactly what to have (Vista and Norton:rolleyes: ) Therefore, there would need to be a standard or the poor blinkered fool only gets confused ie one distro with a particular DE and software set.
    The trouble with that philosethy though is it takes away that freedom for those of us that want it. That's my fear.
    I don't mind Linux getting a foothold on the market, but not at the expense of choice. As long as I can still have Debian or Arch or whatever distro.
     
  12. loli22

    loli22 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2008
    Posts:
    92
    good point :thumb:
     
  13. Arup

    Arup Guest


    Good point, I keep telling all, Linux is not for you and when you do take the plunge, be committed, don't expect everything from Windows world to be served on a platter. Strangely its all about vanity with most. When they make a switch to Mac, they grin and bear it but most Windows users bitch, moan and rant when they make a switch to Linux. I tell them, there are certain things Windows will never have just like there are many things from Windows world, mostly toys that Linux will never have.
     
  14. dw426

    dw426 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Posts:
    5,543
    Without having read the blog (which I shall do right after this), I can still give my opinion on what is holding Linux back:

    1. People like games, if they don't play the major games that you install, they play online games. And, online game websites are probably the biggest offenders when it comes to requiring Windows/Internet Explorer. Whether it be certain codecs or whatever, it's very hard to find a popular games website that works either exactly the same or at least quite good in Linux as it does Windows.

    2. Going back to the topic of websites, though becoming less of a problem, there are still too many web designers out there with the old mentality of "everyone uses IE". It's gone on for too long now and they need to stop.

    3. I agree with advertising, you have to actually search for Linux related material, Windows related material shows up in some form on nearly every page you visit.

    4. More media attention is needed. Everytime some big Windows problem hits, you start hearing "Move to Mac" and things like that. Linux is very rarely mentioned in the major news organizations and even popular pc-related magazines/websites.

    5. Software and hardware devs need to climb that long ladder out of Microsofts pockets and start becoming a bit more neutral. To this day, Creative and ATI are still seemingly "on the fence", when it comes to Linux drivers. We should not have to carefully choose sound cards, video cards, and other essential parts to make sure an OS supports it. That's ridiculous.
     
  15. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    Posts:
    7,787
    Sometimes the best things are those that are relatively unknown or unpopular, things that are still small, things that haven't gone mainstream yet. I have seen this many times with many projects and in many ways. As soon as something gets popular, the popularity often destroys it too. And it is never the same again. So hopefully with Linux, there will always be those projects that are not part of the mainstream and that remain first class in their way.

    Ubuntu is already well on it's way to being mainstream for better or worse. I personally love Ubuntu, but then again, I love simple and easy nowadays. Many of the characteristics you object to Ubuntu already has. A standard setup with standard apps in a nice clean and easy package. Perfect for Win converts...

    Anyway, let's hope Linux always offers choices. Something for everyone. I would like to see it's market share increase dramatically with time, and yet somehow have it remain unique.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2009
  16. wat0114

    wat0114 Guest

    Beavenburt and Kerodo,

    I like your posts :thumb:

    I'd agree let's not see linux get too much like Windows; Linux should stay its unique way, yet be accessible to at least a large percentage of Windows users looking for a viable alternative, especially those on a tight budget. I still maintain I'd like to see a dual boot setup on pre-loaded machines so that at least linux is there for those who are curious enough to venture into new territory. Really, there should be more accessible alternatives than just Windows and OS X.
     
  17. Beavenburt

    Beavenburt Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2006
    Posts:
    566
    And free. That's the ideal senario. :thumb:
     
  18. Ocky

    Ocky Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2006
    Posts:
    2,677
    Location:
    George, S.Africa
    Wilders has 90457 members who all have easy access to the Unix forum section
    and Mrk's excellent tutorials. How many, I wonder, are running one or other
    flavour of Linux .. 15% ? The remaining 85% probably have no time or inclination
    to try Linux. Outside the Wilders community the percentage is probably closer to 95%+.
    I don't think a marketing push would help much, but vendors of PC's could be
    encouraged to bundle an Ubuntu Live CD with every PC purchased. :cool:
    Have also noticed that none of the major download sites (Major Geeks etc. etc.),
    list anything to do with Linux.

    (I first stumbled upon Ubuntu after seeing it mentioned in the signature of a
    Wilders forum member about 16 months ago. I didn't know what the heck it was,
    although being from S. Africa the meaning of the word 'Ubuntu' was familiar.
    I soon found out that is was a linux distro and decided to give it a go for interest
    sake.
    So Wilders turned out to be the "advert" that caught my attention and that I
    responded to... he..he..he :D )
     
  19. Beavenburt

    Beavenburt Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2006
    Posts:
    566
    Ubuntu is always mentioned. Why Ubuntu? What is it that makes it stand out from the rest? Personally I think Suse, Mandriva and Mint are easier distros to learn. Ubuntus lack of a centralised control centre ie a YaST type system or KDEs system settings makes it harder for noobs i'd say. I've nothing against Ubuntu, I actually really like it, I just don't understand why it's considered the most Windows convert friendly.
     
  20. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Posts:
    8,702
    Because it is. It has the most massive support, fast repos, very fast and robust package management. Overall, you're more likely to succeed running something on Ubuntu than other distros. Emphasis is on the word overall, because with the right amount of skill and effort, 90% of distros are the same.

    There's a reason why it features top on DistroWatch popularity meter for the last 4 years. Apparently, people find it the simplest choice.

    Cheers,
    Mrk
     
  21. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Posts:
    3,526
    Location:
    USA - Back in a real State in time for a real Pres
    Hardware, Hardware, Hardware!

    If it doesn't come preinstalled with the hardware. Then 95% & more of the USA public won't install it themselves.

    So unless one or more of the big manufacturers controlling owners (none afaik all the companies are owned by stockholders) got a brain aneurysm. And decided to throw the profit motive out the window. Then decided at least 50% of the computers they manufactured would leave the factory with only Linux installed.

    Then imo Linux won't get to 5% share of the desktop let alone 25%. A sad fact.

    It's like how many people work on their car? Same deal. How many people are going to opt to tear out their own engine & replace it with a Mazda rotary engine?

    Afaik I know Linux has 0.8% share of the desktop. Until people start "fixing their own cars" en mass. I don't see it. I wish I saw it differently.
     
  22. Beavenburt

    Beavenburt Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2006
    Posts:
    566
    I'm actually going to answer my own question here. It's probably in the way it handles drivers, codecs etc. There's rarely any hunting and configuration to be done. It recognises what is needed then fetches and installs for you. Usually with very little fuss. Something I don't need but is very appealing to noobs and those who can't be arsed.
     
  23. Arup

    Arup Guest


    Purists notwithstanding, Ubuntu is the Windows of the Linux world and its singlehandedly responsible for the resurgence of Linux. From Eeepc to Dell preloading it on its laptops, Ubuntu interface and just works attitude has helped it spread all over. For any newcomer, its the Liniux distro of choice, SuSE used to be like that, in fact with YAST, they started the precedence of easy install but somehow they lost the momentum. Ubuntu isn't the fastest or the latest, sometimes its embraces obsolescence for strange reason as in case of 8.10 but all in all, its supported well, patches are out fast, most issues are resolved at the forum, lots of knowledge spread around the Internet on running, maintaining and tweaking it. Comes with good repository of well tested issue less software and thats why its Ubuntu.
     
  24. Pinga

    Pinga Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Posts:
    1,420
    Location:
    Europe
    In order to become mainstream, Linux will have to become more like Windows, whether you like it or not. The challenge is to achieve this in terms of usability. I don't believe that necessarily means 'dumbing it down', but rather crossing the bridge to the millions who were raised with Windows and - understandably - do no not want to give up or significantly change the way they interact with their computers.
     
  25. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    Posts:
    9,007
    even if everyone does start using linux it doesnt mean it will be a bad thing.
    harder to use distros like archlinux,slackware etc will still excist.
    hardware support will get even better because there will be a demand for it.
    it doesnt have to be like windows. it just needs to be easy to use and do the tasks the users want to do.

    surely a package manager is much better than having to update everything manually? new users will love that as much as we do.

    i did have one problem a week ago with fedora. after an update of network manager wireless didnt work.
    i had to search online to get an older version of network manager and find out how to downgrade it via commandline. i couldnt get it to work.
    i hope package managers start coming with better easier to use rollback features.

    to be fair if wireed networking also failed due to network manager update even geeks would be stuffed because they couldnt search online to find the solution.
    thats why rollback of major componants is needed.

    im also trying to point out that linux isnt a silver bullet that always works no matter what.
    newbies will expect it to work 100percent of the time because they will hear about this amazing operating system that is "linux"

    surely when more oem's such as dell sell more and more machines with linux installed they may charge the user for proprietary codecs for playing media files so that the user has the same out of the box experience windows and OSX users do?

    with linux the more people involved should make it better and better but only time will tell.
    as long as the current major distros all carry on as they are it should be fine.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2009
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.