Sunday, September 6, 2009

Its about the market share.

Some people argue that the market share of an OS is not very important and that we should not try to switch people over to GNU/Linux. They argue that the GNU/Linux project is fine with the small market share it currently has. According to me, the market share of an OS is very crucial and we need to get more people on board.

The Linux market share today is around two percent on desktop computers and slowly growing. In contrast, Windows is around eighty eight percent and Mac OS is nine percent. The more people use a particular OS the more they all benefit as a community. GNU/Linux has been marginalized for a very long time because its market share is negligible. Software and hardware manufacturers were able to ignore Linux in the past but today things seem to be shifting slightly. Now that GNU/Linux is being adopted by more users you can see that companies and people are taking notice. A lot more software and hardware is being created for GNU/Linux and people are realizing that there is a huge potential in this expanding market.

If GNU/Linux would be able to get a larger market share on the desktop, lets say around ten or fifteen percent, it would be a huge win for the community. Not only would it show that we are doing something right but companies would have to create software and hardware that is compatible with Linux. The larger the market share, the more support for the operating system we would have. People would demand certain products for Linux and companies would have no choice but to oblige or lose to competition. With a larger market share we would have more clout and leverage against large and established companies. There is power in numbers and this applies to GNU/Linux as well.

Currently we are still hoping for certain companies to produce their products for Linux. However, if we would have a larger market share then these companies would be competing and trying very hard to be on the GNU/Linux platform.

The good news is that Linux is slowly growing and a lot more individuals are starting to switch over. They are realizing that GNU/Linux is a good operating system and that it is suitable for the average user. Now, all we need is to gain a larger market share so that companies realize that Linux is a strong force in the computer industry. The larger we are the more attention we get. The market share of GNU/Linux is important and hopefully it will continue to increase.


  1. The 'market share' is not important for Linux, because it is rarely sold at retail.

    The significant metric is the 'installed base' - the number of machines running the OS.

  2. Lot of companies are taking interest in Linux for one reason. Most Linux users turn out to be the ones that advise the Windows users on what software to install and what hardware to buy.

    So it turns out supporting Linux can in some cases double sales on Windows.

  3. I agree that market share is important, but it is not the most important thing. What good is an OS with dominant market share but filled with secrets, patents, lies, insecurities, control over users, and attempts to lock in customers? What good is a GNU/Linux system without its fun, wittiness, diversity, competitiveness, and freedom? True, we may appeal to some more proprietary vendors that way, but for what?

    I think that the battle for market share will be about replacing the current industry with a new one. Nowadays, technology vendors are too spoiled with secrecy. Most of drivers are proprietary for no good reason; most of services do not specify what is done to users' data; the world "commercial" is understood as synonym to "proprietary". We must first change that, THEN claim significant market segment. Again, what good is a popular but restricted OS? (we have plenty of them already)