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Use of the Linux operating system on desktop machines is continuing to grow with small and medium business showing the most enthusiasm for the open source software. The Linux Foundation annual survey really runs till the end of the month but entries are drying up, and they've already received 20,000 responses, so they've …
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...that's the only truth. What growth rate ? There is no adoption growth rate among the general public. Those using Linux for anything different than a server are just a a few thousands worldwide, a very small percentage, absolutely smaller than OS X (which is a real Unix) on Apple hardware.
a few years back, after dabbling with it for a while, I'm not particularly a geek, but I am a computer programmer, working with PHP and MySQL
It suffices, I do miss some of the toys with windows, like Paint Shop Pro for example.
I switched mainly as I was sick of paying for Microsofts insecure OS, since switching I've had no problems worrying about viruses or malware, which is worth the inconvience of some things not working correctly, such as the BBC media player
I know if I could be bothered I could read up on, and sort out, many minor irritaions such as WINE suddenly deciding to crash KDE but really, what matters to me is my computer works, and keeps on working, never crashes (except if I run WINE) and does the job it's supposed to do.
What helped me switch I think, was that I was already using alternate browsers (Opera) Open Office and such, so there was little pain involved in switching over as all the tools I needed remained the same.
With the releases that Ubuntu give and with some of the amazing desktop effects that now come with it (its what vista should have been - but runs low spec machines), is it any surprise that more people are willing to give it a try?
Having made the shift from windows to ubuntu as my main machine - I do not miss any applications - the only thing that I thought i would miss is playing games - but I have a PS3 for that, and guess what I use as the 'other OS' on that....yup, you guessed it...Ubuntu.
As a recent convert to linux as my main operating system, this is interesting to read. Windows really does have such a stranglehold on the public, but its time that this was relaxed.
Driver issues really are a pain and could do with being simplified to enable end users to be more at home with using the alternative.
As I'm still a new user myself, being told that I need to recompile the kernel to make a driver work, then to be told I don't have the libraries required is frustrating. For somebody less masochistic, this would be a nightmare.
Well it's a step in the right direction and I, hopefully like many others will not be turning back.
With the Eee and N810 flying off the shelves, Linux adoption by Average Joe is hopefully on the up, at least a little.
I followed the links thinking I might complete a survey form as I've been using Linux for several years but couldn't find anything later than August 31st.
Am I merely being a duffer or is there some other mystical process required to complete this quest?
It is all good news and also lots of internet cafes now use Linux.
But what I want is speech recognition. Sadly the linux edition of IBM's Via voice disappeared some time ago but the availability of a Mac OS X version suggests that it could be revived.
I switched to Linux 6 months ago and I haven't look back since. I started using openSuse but after I upgraded my video card on my desktop I was getting an error that I couldn't fix so I decided to look into Ubuntu. Much better!
I recently started a new job and was given a company laptop with XP on it. Man I never realised how slow XP was!! Especially shutting down!
The only program I really miss is iTunes. Although I can manage my iPod with other programs there is something I miss about the overall feel of iTunes.
By the way why isn't there an icon of Tux here? You have Bill G as an angel and the devil and Steve J as angel and a devil but no Tux. Is El Reg anti-Linux? ;-)
Sorry, Pete I think you are incorrect.
That new eeePC from Ausus is the way its happening - its top of the hardware lists in amazon.co.uk.
I moved mum and pop to Lunux as an experiment (Mum had ECDL, some windows 2000 and office experience). After a couple of days, they have used the Ubuntu box for shares/banking surfing and real audio radio (dads thing). They dont use much else, and havent 'missed' the move.
20,000 Respondents? From a global perspective of billions of computer users, 20,000 doesn't even register as a blip and yet this survey shows just how well Linux is doing getting onto desktops? Please stop being sensationalist
As a linux convert with 5 PCs at home I was particularly irritated by the comment "There is no adoption growth rate among the general public. Those using Linux for anything different than a server are just a a few thousands worldwide, a very small percentage, absolutely smaller than OS X."
Based on What? Is there really any reliable data on numbers of linux users?
However one interesting place you might like to look esp if you are a Skype user is in the skype forums here:
I would suggest that it is possible to judge platform usage from the numbers of posts for each type of platform,
If so, at time of writing this (23Nov2007) the proportion of desktop platfoms is like this.
Mac OS X: 14%
This may well focus on domestic users and you may even say Linux users need more support, but I would have though it is reasonable to say that 5-10% of domestic PCs are runnig Linux and that they are only slightly behind MacOS. That's a huge number!
Good weekend everyone!
I've yet to find a distro which will support my wireless connection. It's not some dodgy USB key either; Belkin 54Mb PCI card (identified as Broadcomm chipset in xp64). Wireless has never worked in over a year that i've had this card, using RedHat (Fedora Core), Knoppix, Ubuntu, and Mandriva.
It's the only reason for me not changing, and not recommending any home users I know change.
I only moved to Linux to be different.
Realising that it was getting popular I quickly jumped to Debian (okay, to be honest, I hate Redhat - my first distro). Spent a few years with Debian and then that was getting too popular. Off to Gentoo.
Will I need to switch back to MS Windows in a few years time just to be different?
And, on a more serious note, being the type who enjoys hacking things I hope Linux doesn't get too MS Windows user friendly. It'll take half the fun away. People will see the standard desktop style and never realise there is more to play with in life.
How long unitl companies start rolling out scripts which automagically re-jig the kernel .config file and produce the modules you need? Or, hell, produce the drivers...
The thing that has assisted the growth of Linux has been the removal of the need to compile almost anything for most desktop or laptops in modern distributions. I've used Mandrake and now Ubuntu for the last seven or eight years and usually it Just Works (well, I switched to Ubuntu when Mandrake stopped Just Working, but that's by the by). Of course, you can continue to go with the compiling route but it's not compulsory unless you have esoteric hardware or like a bit of control of your apache build. As Mrs Doyle said, 'some people like the pain'.
"Those using Linux for anything different than a server are just a a few thousands worldwide"
...says someone who considers OS X "a real Unix".
You've only to look at some of the up-and-coming products like the asus eee PC and the Walmart gOS Linux PC to see that Linux is going starting to go mainstream.
At the end of the day, money talks, and if someone can get themselves a cheap PC that browses the net, and runs a word processor, they're happy.
A few years ago I was introduced through a friend at work.
The routine my family have settled down too is central login and home area management, web browsing, email, graphics creation, file retrieval and storage of things you want to be sure your are going to get back if something goes pear shaped are all done on Linux.
Windows is used for certain work related apps that are windows specific, and games. Creation of documents is done on whatever is convienient at the time.
In short Linux everything important or where security is needed. Windows everything else. Says it all really.
Although using SuSE and Ubuntu at home, work is still restricted to M$ due to Autocad. But not for much longer. We have just moved 2 machines to Bricscad - an Autocad clone, and they do a Linux version. As well as being 1/3 the cost of Autocad, the lack of dongles and registration makes it easier to live with. So far I reckon its about 98% of Autocad, with updates coming out all the time. Next desktop could be without the M$ tax.
I can't really imagine what this fella motice for this silliness is, but the recent debacle occasioned by equally silly comments from the BBC's management should make it clear even to Joerg how wrong he is.
In case you missed it, Joerg, when said manager reckoned that only a few hundred Linux users read BBC news website, it was very rapidly shown that he was out by at least a couple of orders of magnitude.
But don't let facts get in the way of a good prejudice.
Do these numbers include people like me that have to run Windose for work stuff but use Ubuntu of a live CD for everything else. Best of both worlds, I get to play with Linux and still get paid for my real work.
The survey is ran from a Windows 2003 powered box! It's in ASP.Net! ROLF!!!
Seriously though, the numbers don't really mean anything as it's the Linux Desktop survey. Forgive me if i'm wrong here, but if you don't run Linux on your desktop, you wouldn't take part.... so it's going to be filled in by people running Linux.....
The 5th comment is about someone recompiling a kernel. Sorry, but I want my OS to work for me, not the other way round. Quite happily explain to some idiot user / grandmother / boss how to install Java on Windows Vista - but forget it when it comes to Linux.
As a matter of principle I refuse to have to edit configuration files to install something as simple as a runtime environment from an out of the box platform.
Servers = it rocks. (Well, for DNS, Firewall, DHCP, certian POS / critical apps etc.). However for generic server use and for desktop use it's still a joke. Desktop works great till it breaks and your faced with a flashing cursor at a bash prompt, and generic server is fine until you compare it to a Windows network. Just hasn't got the integration and management tools there yet.
My 2 pence worth!
To the bog standard computer user Linux is too difficult...simple as, and until this changes there will never be a massive uptake.
All my PC's run windows, can't say they ever crash and nor have I ever got a virus, and I never get spyware either.....I look after my PC.
I've tried Linux, but as a web developer I missed photoshop and dreamweaver, and then visual studio and the .net framework....yeh there's wine, but it's such a pain to setup.
Windows seems to be a common platform, if someone gives me a file or application, it's likely it'll come from a windows machine, simply because there are more windows machines around than Linux machines, and if I wanted to get half the stuff I was given to work on linux it would involve re-compliling the kernel and looking for dependencies or something like that.....which is a really time consuming task.
I'm not bashing linux, there's a lot of effort going into building each distro, but the facts are plain to see, it's not as easy to use as windows, and getting stuff to work can be too difficult or time consuming for people with busy lives.
I love all of the 'Linux is too difficult for bog standard users and no one is using it comments' - You guys crack me up!
Watch this space, as the cheapy PCs without MS tax start getting more and more popular, you'll bow down to your penguin leaders Mooooowahahahahahahahaha!
Footnote. I've migrated my missus, older family members and a guy who fried his graphics card, because the fan ended up full of man hair and kebab leftovers to Ubuntu and I don't get nagged to fix their computers anymore. They just work!
...that Linux doesn't end up as winblows. there are plenty of idiots as it is demanding "windows likeness" and "better integration" of individual gui components. piss off and read a manual/use the console, you bloody noobs!
and to the killjoys saying that this is sensationalist news: where the hell are there billions of people using windows? oO I'd be amazed if even one billion people had a PC/mac/whatever connected to the interwebs,
Personally I run a dual boot, mainly because I still have a few windoze games and for certain graphics progs & for visual studio.
I have however in the last couple of weeks installed Mandriva 2008 free on a friend's machine (a single mum with 3 young boys who used to constantly destroy windows with malware) and on my Mum's machine (also constantly nerfed by malware using MS)
Once I had Mandriva installed & turned on 3d desktop my friend's kids were instantly in love with it, with the eldest vowing to ditch windows on his laptop at the first opportunity. The only game the kids played on the pc was The Sims and they just didn't care that they wouldn't be able to play it anymore, for everything else they use consoles.
My mum only needs it for web browsing and a bit of word processing, how many other people's parents only use the web, word processors and maybe skype?
There is a massive market for Linux desktops out there.
The only thing I have to do is make sure they let me check how easy it is to install drivers for any given hardware they are thinking of buying & make sure they get something we can get working.
So that's two less windows users and potentially 3 more when the kids get their own machines.
I assert that Windows is harder to use than Linux. I know this to be the case because I managed to install Linux on a laptop, and it just worked, I then went to install Windows on the same machine -- and needed to look around for these things called "device drivers" to get my display to work correctly.
I also tried to install windows on the new Linux machine, and found I couldn't do so without wiping Linux off it.
Then there's the fact I can't get Windows to connect to my server using sftp -- it doesn't recognise the protocol, apparently,
I think you will find that both Linux and Windows are "hard to use" when installing on hardware not supported out of the box, or trying to do something the operating system wasn't designed for. The fact is, though, that once installed there's not difference at all in the "difficulty" of using them -- you just move your mouse over the menu and click. It might be the case that individuals who learned computer use parrot fashion "Click Edit-Preferences every time you open Word" may struggle at first -- but that doesn't mean the new way of doing things is harder.
Re: Wireless on Linux
Yup, my biggest pet-hate at the moment when it comes to this issue -- lazy, greedy, MS supporting manufacturers.
For the record -- most wireless chipsets are supported under Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) but, due to the aforementioned manufacturers, you need to activate them via a click-through agreement. Same goes for some video, and possible other, drivers too.
Surveys indicate that Linux desktop users now exceed CP/M users.
The proper way to fix the driver issue is to write to your elected representative and call for it to be made law that if a company wants to sell computer hardware, then they must make available sufficient documentation that would enable a competent programmer to create a software driver capable of using the full functionality of the product -- or be banned from selling it altogether.
Linux will never, ever have a stable kernel ABI -- binary compatibility is not at all part of the Linux design philosophy. The emphasis is on source compatibility (and yes, that means that some drastic changes may require recompilation of applications, which is not a problem if you have the Source Code -- and the Linux developers expect you to have the Source Code).
The whole practice of withholding Source Code from users has to stop. The Source Code to Windows is not generally available, and yet this has done almost nothing to limit unauthorised copying of Windows -- whilst forcing thousands of businesses to alter the way they do business to suit the software they use because they were unable to modify the software to suit their established workflow, and costing inordinate amounts of of time dealing with problems that could have been solved quickly and easily with access to the Source Code.
Now, please, since El Reg runs on Debian, can we please have a penguin icon? Maybe a Debian swirl, too?
Don't get me wrong, I love Linux. I use it in work (as a development machine and on servers), I play with it at home and so on.
But those who are waiting for heavyweight commercial apps like Photoshop and AutoCAD to be ported, I would say don't hold your breath.
Apart from the old argument of the installed base being too small to make it worth their while (which it is), what GNU/Linux distribution would they actually write apps for? I mean, which packaging system (apt, rpm, ...), which desktop, which kernel, which compiler version?
It works OK when there are loads of people willing to port the sources to different distributions, but that isn't going to happen in the world of closed source.
The problem is all that choice - when there's a squillion different flavours of everything, your support problems get out of hand. And Adobe et al certainly won't see a need to throw money at that for a long time to come.
Rolls On Laughing Floor ? The floor is laughing at you ? Probably about right judging by the content of your post.
> The 5th comment is about someone recompiling a kernel.
Cant remember the last time I had to build a kernel. Probably pre-2000. Decent distros with GUI installers ended the necessity
> As a matter of principle I refuse to have to edit configuration files
Cant remember the last time I edited config files either. They have GUI tools these days.
> However for generic server use and for desktop use it's still a joke.
Huh ? I've been using it as a desktop with GUI tools for 6 yrs min (and for many years prior to that with minor intervention with config files). "Generic server" is what it is used for in the majority of businesses.
Please try to keep up.
Hi Ash, I hope you read this. I tried numerous flavors of Linux and settled on the 64-bit version of Ubuntu for my Acer laptop. None of them would recognize my Broadcom wirelss... I found out how to get it to work.. I aped the instructions give and could not tell you how I did it... but there are forums out there that can do it! Please don't give up. I was also able to get my actual ATI graphics card to work instead of using a vanilla driver.
I love my Linux! It boots fast, runs fast and does everything I want it to do. It makes it possible for me to enjoy the benefits of my memory and dual core processor. My Vista boot sucks... it takes forever to load, seems to lose my preferences so I have to continually set them for directory sharing and other options.
After downloading and installing CA protection software available through my ISP my Vista no longer boots. Sigh. I could never get my old Win XP on my desktop to go past SP1 and it crahsed and burned so many times I have to call India to get a license number to reload it. Why bother? I have Ubuntu on it too now.
Growth is the same issue as with game machines. If there aren't a lot of machines progammers don't want to make games for it. Without the games, people don't want to buy the macine. Give Linux a chance... it will only get stronger and bigger which will attract the hardware venors and push them towards supporting Linux. They are not going to want to lose customers who buy based on some other companies being able to support linux.
It will not happen over night, but that is fine.
Have you tried Ndis wrapper and the windows drivers?
The truth is there are no accurate figures for use of *any* OS.
If you try to think about all the combinations of downloads, purchases, piracy, installs, upgrades, removals, retired hardware, multiple-booting systems and so on which ultimately add up to the number of active users of each OS right now, your head might just explode from the concentrated futility of it all.
Anyone claiming to know exactly how many people run any given OS is lying. They don't know, because there's no way they possibly *could* know.
The nearest I can get is our web server logs. This is for a non-techie e-commerce site, so I'd expect the OS figures to be about representative of the world at large, not skewed in favor of any one OS, and it's safe to assume that these are pretty much all *desktop* users. Of course we don't know how many active OS installs are represented by 100% of PCs in use worldwide, so it still doesn't get us a definite number.
Last month, 89% of visitors ran Windows. 4.2% were on Macs, and 1.5% Linux. The rest are "unknown", or "other". If that 1.5% was all of Joerg's "few thousand" then there would be no more than a couple of million PCs in active use worldwide. I think we can safely say that his numbers smell like the place he must have pulled them from! :-)
More relevant though is that's about double the number of Linux visitors compared to a year earlier, about 3-4 times the number of Mac users, and about a 6% drop in the total for Windows. Which supports the desktop Linux growth claims, and should make the Mac faithful smile too. :)
For the record, Ubuntuforums.org claims 436,740 registered users just now. Some of those will have ended up back at Windows or moved to the Mac, others will be overlord of multiple successful installs of Linux, and some Ubuntu users won't ever have registered there in the first place.
100% of statistics are crap. ;-)
If nobody is using, or switching to Linux based OS's, then why was I burning Puppylinux disks this Thanksgiving holiday for family members that wanted a copy?
Seems if nothing else, a lot of "Joe Normals" are actually starting to suspect that there may be other/better alternatives out there.
I have a Belkin 54G card and 2 Belkin 54G USB keys. Each one has a different chip set (even though the USB keys have the same part number and were bought from the same store on the same day). All my machines run Linux - 2 on Ubuntu 7.04 - I plugged in a long ethernet cable to get Internet access, Googled 'automatix 7.04' and followed the instructions - the other is running Mandriva 2008 Free. Mandriva just worked, way easier to install than any version of Windows, all the drivers and many of the apps are available on 1 free to download CD. I Googled 'easyrpmi' and followed the instructions. No cli, no recompile, GUI install of 1000's of apps from the Internet and it's legal too.
I managed to use ndis wrappers to even get my WLAN card working under Solaris x86 years ago...gotta be a doddle on Linux surely???
For all of those WinDoze users that need Photoshop/Dreamweaver/whatever there must be 1,000 others that would benefit from keeping old/slow hardware running on Linux for basic stuff like web/word processing.
Viva choice, at last.
My opinion is that Linux needs to become easier to install applications from the web and to try to support more hardware drivers. I know its not going to be easy since some companies won't release code for Linux drivers. I recently converted all my computers over to Linux and have tested at least 20 distros. I have found TWO that work right out of the box (including WiFi) and that is PCLinuxOS2007 and Granular2007 which is based on PCLinuxOS. I was through paying money to M$ to upgrade and all the viruses and malware. Yes I have used M$ Windows since Windows 3.1. I decided to give Linux a try although I am no computer geek I do know somewhat about the linux system from doing a lot of reading but the average desktop user is not going to do that. I know all you computer geeks are just totally against a Linux distro like M$ Windows, but that is what needs to happen for Linux to go mainstream and for the average computer user to WANT Linux. The Linux geeks can still have there distos to play with we just need a couple of distros that just works.
My list of just works distros.
1.PCLinuxOS2007 and Granular Linux2007
2.Mandrivia One 2008
This includes Wifi for Broadcom and Zonenet wireless cards.
I run a mixed network. Linux, Mac, Windows
Last week, I had to shut down all of our servers at work to install a big new UPS system.
Windows main server took 25 minutes to shut down- redhat server carrying a similar workload-6 minutes.
I never need to reboot my Linux servers after an update!
We run linux and windows servers and desktops, linux and external servers, Mac design stations- and we use the Linux boxes to share stuff to windows.
At home we are a windows free environment-Linux does everything we want, reliably and securely.
Linux is not "hard to use" unless you have to forget all the MS stuff to learn something different.
The Linux traffic on formerly windows only forums is increasing almost daily
I was hoping that my last M$ OS Purchase (win2k) would be my last. At the very least i intended to skip XP as i do tend to skip out a generation of an OS as i did with ME.
However currently i see myself having to buy Vista as Linux still seems not quite friendly enough for me. That said though it is a while since i played with a Linux distro and therefore this is an impression rather than a decision and when i build my new PC ill put Linux on this one and maybe just maybe Vista will be the last M$ OS i buy.
Here's hoping :-)
Next time you use a photocopier, 95% chance it runs Linux or NetBSD :-)
Along with a lot of other hardware, (routers, PVRs, HTPC,etc) Linux is where it's at.
Nobody has used windows for an embedded hardware OS since 1998.
Oh, and apparently 95% of the world's supercomputers run Linux.
Your first mistake was to download any CA products! If given a choice between using CA and nothing at all, I'd opt for a tunable firewall and go without the AV, as stupid, as stupid as that sounds... Their AV products blow, as do the vast majority of their enterprise products.
My Panasonic LCD TV uses Linux. Down deep in the menus is the GNU license and a URL to find the source code. This TV has won Which and other best buy awards, so presumably is quite popular.
(this posted using Ubuntu Linux via wireless - oh my BT router is Linux too)
quote: "just a a few thousands worldwide"
Hmmm, ubuntuforums.org reports around 5,000 people active on the forums at any one time on average (I am there most days so I kinda see it)...."Currently Active Users: 6112 (721 members and 5391 guests)" @ 12:39am GMT thats not bad going I'd say.
Thats *just* on Ubuntu forums, not withstanding all the other linux forums at any one time. Uptake on linux is growing slowly, but I rather suspect that growth will accelerate as more do change, word of mouth etc, popularity does drive growth after all its not a one way street in that respect.
For anyone needing to run windows apps on their linux box and for whom Wine is not a suitable option, virtualisation is the way to go. Have a look at Virtualbox (http://www.virtualbox.org/). It sets up a completely independent area of your disk that can run alternative operating systems such as windows XP.
Or you could set it up on your windows box and run linux from within virtualbox.
I agree that some linux distros are harder than others to maintain, but the ends really do justify the means. http://www.distrowatch.com lists many of the alternatives - there's something for everyone. And you can also try out many of them without affecting your hard disk by booting from a "livecd" version of the distro you're interested in.
> My opinion is that Linux needs to become easier to install applications
Er, how much easier can it get - telepathic installers, perhaps?
With KUbuntu I can select from a shedload of the more popular applications available within the provided installer GUI - even select multiple packages - then click one button to install them or, with Ubuntu being Debian-based, having downloaded a .deb file I can select right-click|install on its dinky little icon in the GUI - or failing any of these, I can search the list of oooh, 20,000-odd goodies shown at https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/feisty/i386 using basic search parameters ("mp3", "DVD player" etc.) and having found the package name, at a console type a whole 21 characters followed by the package name to get it installed.
Last time I checked, plenty of other Linux distributions provided similar one-click installation methods too - SUSE certainly did 5 years ago, and a rudimentary but usable GUI method existed in a 2001-vintage Redhat distribution.
Where *have* you been, man??!!
I'm not a nurd, but I often put computers together in my own inimitable way...so when I needed a "normal" computer for my girl friend, in order to get some perceived compatibility with the rest of the world I purchased a new pre-configured Windows machine with XP-home. That was a big expense and not really worth it. I'll never do that again. It mostly works, but when I went to copy the disk to run XP on another machine everything went wrong. I kept getting messages which obviously had nothing to do with the hardware. I eventually gave up and just installed a convenient version of Linux. For an old guy who knows little about computers except DOS and hardware, windows is extremely difficult. You need to know a lot of non technical stuff. I don't know much about Linux either, but ALL the linux distros I've installed since I gave up on DOS 5 years ago, have had installation scripts so I didn't need to. Nor did I have to know anything about company business models or popular politics. (What the **** is a product key and what does it have to do with computers?... anything?) People who say that Windows is easy and Linux is hard are not telling the whole truth. They find it that way because they are used to the style and they understand the business model. They are not including a huge skill set which they already have. Not everyone has the basic skills to understand MSWindows. People are different. Call me stupid, but I can't for the life of me figure out what a "EULA" has to do with computers or electronics, or anything else that I might have an interest in. I think that sort of thing is for lawyers and hairdressers, Each to his own, but if I have to learn about that kind of crap then I'd rather just donate my computers to a museum (or art gallery) and find something more interesting to do.... or just load linux and be done with it because I honestly don't care how many other people are useing it.
although some might say it has been trending down for some time now.