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back to article Windows hits the skids, Mac OS X on the rise

According to two different web-analytics groups – NetMarketShare and StatCounter – Windows' market share has dropped to below 90 per cent for the first time since the mid 1990s and the juggernaut that was Windows 95. As SeekingAlpha reports, NetMarketShare calculates that Windows' market share – that's all versions of Windows …

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IMHO, It would be fair

to compare the shares of each OS actually installed by users themselves removing the preinstalled, bundled, non-reimbursable ones. Or, at least explicitly putting them in different categories.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: IMHO, It would be fair

Sounds nice, but hardware differences do not make it as transparent as it should be in order to make such a plan truly commercially viable - it is asking for a support headache if there ever was one. Regretfully this is why manufacturers pre-configure their OS installs - a common base point for tech support and easy OOB experience for the vast majority of customers.

Microsoft's future salvation? "Windows 9" = Windows 7 with a new Explorer shell and a few backend updates :p Microsoft, just as so many other companies, is simply too stubborn to accept the failure of Windows 8 and get with a program of rip-and-replace.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: IMHO, It would be fair

"but hardware differences do not make it as transparent". That was funny, what kind of headache are you having, smoking something, perhaps.

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Boffin

Re: eulampios Re: IMHO, It would be fair

".....the shares of each OS actually installed by users themselves....." Yes, but what about all those trial users that download a Linux variant, maybe run it for a bit, get fed up and then go back to Windows? It happens, I know several people who have done exactly that. I myself over the last dozen plus years have downloaded and tried scores of Linux variants out of tech curiosity, all of which the Linux community would love to claim are individual and persistent "users", but the reality was each was a short-lived experiment that replaced a previous Linux variant, whilst my main desktop and laptop carried on being a Windows PC.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Rip and replace....

From a technical standpoint, Windows 8.1 is better than ever. So why doesn't Microsoft simply give in and provide a Classic Windows mode to boot into (complete with XP, Vista and 7 skins)? People sitting in offices, working on documents, or performing engineering tasks, do not need TIFKAM. As good as the 8.1 improvements are, the modern interface still gets in the way a bit, if you don't have a touch screen or a modern (touch enabled) mouse or trackpad. FFS give the user base a compelling upgrade, with compelling benefits.

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JDX
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Re: IMHO, It would be fair

"IMHO, It would be fair to compare the shares of each OS actually installed by users themselves"

No, that would be deliberately biasing results in favour of the result you want to see. It would also be asinine since uninstalling OSX on a Mac is an incredibly niche thing to do, and people don't uninstall Windows to install a new Windows (you said you wanted to measure people removing pre-installed OS). Probably 99.9% of manual Windows installs are done on machines which came with Windows in the first place.

If we purely focused on % of installs regardless of previous OS, then you'd still see OSX users upgrading to newer versions of OSX but the vast majority would STILL be Windows installs.

And that's even leaving aside the elephant in the room which is that most people are happy with the default OS. Saying anyone who doesn't re-install their OS isn't a relevant data-point is just stupid.

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Gimp

Re: eulampios IMHO, It would be fair

@Matt Bryant - "my main desktop and laptop carried on being a Windows PC."

Just being a masochist or couldn't you afford a Mac?

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@JDX

No, the bias is in this generality that all OSes being counted were obtained the same way. No, they aren't, and we both know this well, don't we?

Probably 99.9% of manual Windows installs are done on machines which came with Windows in the first place.

Yes, let's count all the manual installs.

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Linux

@Matt, Re: eulampios IMHO...

I am sorry sir about you being unlucky with your Linux trials. In my own experience, most of the people that try Linux would switch to GNU/Linux either entirely or at least as a dual boot option, providing they do care about things IT.

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Unhappy

Windows 8.1 is a fine half-an-OS

Once you add Classic shell and go through and disable all the chimes, it is not bad, but leaves a lingering taste in the mouth, and resentment that you've debugged, hacked & fixed something they could have finished so easily.

"it may very well slip into – caducity" is understatement (as anyone who's tried to follow MSF will tell you) caducity is the stage they're at already with windows, but MS is not a frail human body.. they have the power to rebuild it.. but can they be bothered?

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Stop

Re: Talking Scroticus Re: eulampios IMHO, It would be fair

".....or couldn't you afford a Mac?" LOL, more like - having plenty of experience with FreeBSD and Linux - I didn't WANT a Mac. I have two clustered Proliant SERVERS in my attic, kit more expensive than any Mac. The only Apple devices we have ever had in the house are my wife's iPad and my daughter's iPod, both gifts from technically-illiterate people. I have Windows kit because I need proper Office and because the majority of the games I (now infrequently) play are Windows ones, and Linux because it does everything else I need (sorry, I dropped FreeBSD when ZFS was forced on us). Why on Earth would I want a Mac, let alone pay the ridiculous Apple tax to own one?!? Seriously, give me one technical feature not already offered by Linux and Windows and then admit your fanboism is just the result of fashion-driven masochism.

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FAIL

Re: eulampos Re: @Matt, eulampios IMHO...

"....you being unlucky with your Linux trials......" Doh, I see I didn't put things simply enough to penetrate your anti-Windows blinkers. I currently have two Linux systems running, one being a KVM instance hosting RHEL and SLES instances, the one running CentOS. They are on home-built PCs so did not come with OEM Windows installs. I did have a long-serving FreeBSD instance on a third PC that morphed into FreeNAS but that is gone as of version 7 and ZFS's inclusion. I regularly download new Linux variants onto the CentOS PC to test them to see if they offer anything over CentOS (not Windows) and - so far - I've stuck with CentOS. There has never been any real ideas of replacing the Windows systems. Now, the FOSS crowd would love to count all those trial downloads but the reality is they shouldn't count as they did not represent actual systems in long term use, and none of them replaced a Windows install.

"....In my own experience, most of the people that try Linux would switch to GNU/Linux either entirely or at least as a dual boot option...." YMMV. In my experience, the only time I have managed to switch anyone off Windows was when I gave them Darkstar Linux which could be configured to have a WinXP-lookalike desktop. Since Darkstar is now dead that option is not likely to be happening again.

"....providing they do care about things IT." Seriously? Get over yourself.

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Linux

@Matt: reasons to switch away from Windows

are aplenty for geeks and ordinary clueless users. Money is pretty much the last one, I suppose. I now experience them all when need to help a friend with his/her Windows problem. Such as

-- an annoying trojan/virus

-- slowed down system due to fragmented or "out of control" registry, or filled up disk (windows folder is known to grow with time), or some other unknown reasons

-- "irrational" problems (like this one) not resolved by MS, OEMs, nor the so called "windows geeks" -- all offering their own mutually perpendicular solutions/workarounds , none of which would finally resolve the issue. My last shock was that an ntfs filesystem can be wiped out completely without any warning on a healthy hdd after playing a game

My own reasons include:

-- a proprietary, effectively non-modular architecture, that is, you can't separate, substitute various pieces of the system, like the kernel from gui, utilities, shells etc; one is a mess you might run into when a kernel patch won't let you boot, unlike with a typical GNU/Linux distros with multiple kernel versions option.

-- less flexibility and configurability: would like to trim a system to my needs, build my own kernels, make my own persistent live media with ease

-- lack of decent, proper IT culture around MS Windows and plenty of mouse-clicking clueless Windows "geeks" that know nothing but "reinstall Windows" solution to every problem.

-- lack of a central repository full of most software with tested security mechanism (Win8 store was too late and still got very few) , like apt for Debian system; this should also be wise enough to take care of dependencies and able to prevent installing and running multiple copies of the same libraries

-- etc

I did like and run FreeBSD up to the version 8.1-RC. It was a nice learning experience that let me study an alternative Unix system. Stopped using it when the FreeBSD foundation had gone awry with their GPL intolerance and view of all support from the patent troll in Cupertino, CA

In your turn, I haven't heard any argument from you, rather than you want to use a "decent Office suite", that is MSO from your other comment. Why LO/OO isn't decent enough for you? Is it a ribbon UI or a pivot table that you can't live without, or is it something else. The fact that the code of MSO is not portable is one big minus in my mind.

As far as I am concerned, I rely much more on GNU Emacs , which is available on most OS'es, however, there are some oddities and less control when running it on Windows.

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Trollface

@Matt "sorry, I dropped FreeBSD when ZFS was forced on us"

Come on Matt, you don't need to be shy on El Reg's forums - everyone here knows you use Solaris on the desktop and simply like to protesteth too much :)

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Re: Talking Scroticus eulampios IMHO, It would be fair

>Seriously, give me one technical feature [in OSX] not already offered by Linux and Windows and then admit your fanboism is just the result of fashion-driven masochism.

That's the point. OSX isn't sold on *technical features*, it is sold on 'features for the user'. Apple might take a bunch of technical features and give them a polished GUI, like TimeMachine, or no GIU at all like FusionDisk. The user doesn't have to understand how they work, so a simple name will do. Easy to market.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Matt: reasons to switch away from Windows

>.Why LO/OO isn't decent enough for you?

Technically, I'm sure they are good. But some other programmes are dependant on Excel. Solidworks, far example.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Rip and replace....

"So why doesn't Microsoft simply give in and provide a Classic Windows mode to boot into "

They do already. Since the 8.1 update, you can select to boot by default into Desktop mode, and to show Desktop apps first in Modern view (effectively providing your old Start Menu).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Matt: reasons to switch away from Windows

Technically, I'm sure they are good. But some other programmes are dependant on Excel.

I think that pretty much sums up the MS Office fanbois.

It's all because they have been locked in, they don't want everyone else do use something else because they're afraid they'll be locked out, since Office doesn't handle open standard formats.

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Re: Rip and replace....

Since the 8.1 update, you can select to boot by default into Desktop mode

Oh cool! Now, there's a company that listens to customer feedback.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Matt: reasons to switch away from Windows

"-- an annoying trojan/virus"

Linux isn't imune - it's just that with a 1.x% share of the desktop market - no one targets it. Enterprise Linux distributions and even the Linux kernel alone have historically had far more vulnerabilities that on average took longer to fix (more days at risk) than with any Windows based OS. If you look at a market where Linux is actually commonly used like webservers, you are actually more likely to be remotely hacked / compromised than if you run a current Windows server based system.

"slowed down system due to fragmented or "out of control" registry"

The Registry (B-Tree ISAM database based approach) is more scalable and powerful than parsing flat text files...

"when a kernel patch won't let you boot"

Yes that's a frequent issue with Linux. You compile the kernel for some reason (like the frequent security patches), and the whole system won't boot - and you have to screw around on the command line rebuilding compressed boot files. Nothing easy like in Windows where you can just select Last Known Good Cconfiguration, or roll back to the last System State snapshot.

"lack of decent, proper IT culture around MS Windows"

Total bollocks. Windows is the most frequently used server (75% market share), desktop and laptop (89% market share) platform on the planet - and the most common development platform too.

"lack of a central repository full of most software with tested security mechanism"

Microsoft Update and WSUS have existed for years. 3rd parties can submit drivers / updates if they wish. With Linux you have no such single central repository - and therfore frequently have to add new respositories and access your software from multiple soures - and you often have no guarantee how trustable they are, or even if the software has been compromised.

"Why LO/OO isn't decent enough for you?"

The vast majority of enterprises require a) documents to be interchanged seemlessly and look the same at source and destination, and b) to use add-ins, high end functionality (as you mention - pivot tables is a good example) and VBA macros, and c) to be able to centrally manage Office configuration via Group Policy - none of which works with the options you suggest. To a large degree, you get what you pay for!

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Re: @Matt: reasons to switch away from Windows

"You compile the kernel for some reason (like the frequent security patches)"

Oh it's you again !

I use Linux all the time and I haven't needed to compile a kernel in - well I can't remember exactly but at least 15 years and my systems are all up-to-date

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Re: eulampios IMHO, It would be fair

"Just being a masochist or couldn't you afford a Mac?"

Given the price/performance/reliability relationship of a Mac, perhaps he's just not a mug.

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Meh

Re: Paul Crawford Re: @Matt "sorry, I dropped FreeBSD when ZFS was forced on us"

".... everyone here knows you use Solaris on the desktop....." Well, plus one for humour. Back in the day, if I had a server project and the boss said I couldn't use RHEL or hp-ux, or even AIX on Power, but had to use Slowaris on UltraSPARC, I'd shrug and go ahead as at least it should be reasonably stable. Whilst I think SPARC-Slowaris was probably the worst UNIX option (just my opinion) at least it was stable and reasonably well supported 24x7. Today, if the boss insisted I had to use Oracle Slowaris on Dell or hp Xeon server I'd grumble but accept it. But if he insisted on ZFS I'd tell him to give the project to someone else. Having seen ZFS massively fail in production - destroying data, constant resilvering slowing everything down, dropping and then rediscovering disks which led to more resilvering, simply not working with RAID cards, not clustering, and generally being a shameful pile of crack compared to even FOSS efforts, I would not want it near any production system or even a home desktop, thanks. Oh, and OpenSlowaris was one of those trial downloads that lasted about a fortnight - IMHO, definitely not good enough to replace CentOS or RHEL. YMMV, just don't expect those of us with different needs and experience to simply ignore them to align with your POV. Now, the really nasty question is would I choose Oracle Slowaris with ZFS over the equally unattractive Apple Mac Pro Server......?

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Meh

Re: @Matt: reasons to switch away from Windows

"...The vast majority of enterprises require a) documents to be interchanged seemlessly and look the same at source and destination"

That's MS Office out of the game then.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: eulampios IMHO, It would be fair

"Just being a masochist or couldn't you afford a Mac?"

Who would you buy a mac? the latest mac "news" story I read said they were busy improving "selfie" software with some crap iTunes revamp to cope with it -nothing about making them work better in Business or Enterprise.

If fanboys want to see the precious fruit doing well in obscure stat exercises then split the stats into two groups -Business and Consumer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Matt: reasons to switch away from Windows

"The Registry (B-Tree ISAM database based approach) is more scalable and powerful than parsing flat text files..."

wow.. if you really believe that, then that statement alone demonstrates that you've never ever had to maintain any computer beyond your own personal computer.

If you have, then you're in way over your head, and you bring shame on the rest of Windows us professionals!

The registry is two main repositories. 1 for the machine, the other for the user. That means every time you need to access a key, you would have to search through all settings. That is why it is indexed - not because indexing is great, or a secret power of Microsoft.. but because something searchable at that size HAS to be indexed.

The location of the config files is already indexed by the filesystem (which is scalable). It is parsed once at application start-up, then unloaded. Some applications may write new/all settings back to the file at the end - no indexes need to be maintained - just a simple file output. The "raw" file is in a human maintainable format.

With config files, backing up, restoring, and transferring to another machine, is as easy as file copying (for you, that's a single drag/drop operation). Different config files can sometimes be specified on the command-line, if you wish.

Since applications have their own files, there are no secret values hidden. When the application is uninstalled, the file is deleted. No gradual growth over time, no need for "registry cleaners".

That gives you scale, power, flexibility, and resilience.

I am a Windows user, have been since before the registry.

(btw, tell the IIS team they're doing it wrong)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Talking Scroticus eulampios IMHO, It would be fair

"That's the point. OSX isn't sold on *technical features*,"

Good job and all the more reason to refer to macs as "consumer products".

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Gimp

Re: @Matt "sorry, I dropped FreeBSD when ZFS was forced on us"

Strange - I have several FreeBSD systems running 8/9 and none of them has an unwanted ZFS filesystem. Sure they *support* ZFS, but there's a world of difference there. I'm sure anyone who really hates ZFS could build a custom kernel and omit the ZFS module.

I'm all for complaining about unwanted changes to software/operating systems, but to whinge about something entirely optional seems a bit OTT to me. Reminds me of the grumbling that occurred when the SMP support was first mooted (IIRC)

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Re: @Matt: reasons to switch away from Windows

>I think that pretty much sums up the MS Office fanbois.

>It's all because they have been locked in, they don't want everyone else do use something else because they're afraid they'll be locked out, since Office doesn't handle open standard formats.

Eh? I don't want anybody to be locked out of anything. I'll just use what works for me, here and now. I think that makes me a pragmatist, not a 'Office Fanboi', but whatever.

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Re: AC

"The vast majority of enterprises require a) documents to be interchanged seemlessly and look the same at source and destination"

That only works if you force them all to use the same version of Office and even the same damned printer. Otherwise use PDF as that actually works!

"and VBA macros"

No one wants to use VBA macros. Few really need to use VBA macros, they are 'needed' simply due to legacy lock-in and not even supported on the WindowsRT version of Office. Though I would forgive you for saying that is not a real version of Office...

"To a large degree, you get what you pay for!"

With MS you often don't even get that.

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Re: @Matt: reasons to switch away from Windows

"I think that pretty much sums up the MS Office fanbois.

It's all because they have been locked in"

Yes we have all become locked in, both willingly and by deliberate intent!

I for example could make use of non-MS products, however, some of the really useful tools I use are built on top of the MS Office Suite (aside: my Office suite consists of Office Pro, Visio Pro and Project Standard). So whilst I'm aware of other tools, I would not be able to collaborate with colleagues and clients in the way that I'm presently able to do.

Hence we are now in a chicken and egg situation where people probably would like to change platforms, but are having problems because the tools they use have typically only been developed for a single platform, specifically MS Windows. Also we are still have cross-platform issues, so many are extremely cautious about things - for example I still tend to send out office documents in 97/2003 formats as these seem to be widely supported, with users getting a reasonably consistent representation of the document I intended them to see.

Obviously, as time goes by we are seeing developers beginning to respond to demand (or dipping their toes in the open source pond) and starting to support a wider range of platforms.

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Re: @Matt: reasons to switch away from Windows

> Total bollocks. Windows is the most frequently used server (75% market share), desktop and laptop (89% market share) platform on the planet

Yes, what you say is "Total bollocks".

Windows may have '75% market share' but that is a measure of the _cost_ (or revenue to the OEMs). It says _nothing_ about usage. The thousands of servers at Google, Amazon, and many other huge sites are not counted, corporates and individuals building their own CentOS (or many other) servers are not counted. In any case one could buy several Linux based servers for the cost of one windows server.

It seems that you have no clues about the things you talk of. Frequency of usage is not the same as cost.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Talking Scroticus eulampios IMHO, It would be fair

Two proliant Pentium III's, no less.

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WTF?

Re: Paul Crawford @Matt "sorry, I dropped FreeBSD when ZFS was forced on us"

going from FreeBSD to MS Windows? Wow, what a turn?!

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Linux

Never mind

"StatCounter is only slightly more pessimistic", why not rather optimistic. But I wonder how these two decimal figures are counted. I am fairly sure that none of my Linux machines has ever been counted as Linux. Nor have I filled in even one death certificate (to the proper authorities). What would the number of ppl on the earth be if we believed in heaven on earth. Does it matter, (tears running down my cheek), not really. Let the shit hit Windows and leave me alone as the numbers count according to MS.

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Re: Never mind

> I am fairly sure that none of my Linux machines has ever been counted

Exactly. I run NoScript and Ghostery. Those counters do not include my machines.

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Anonymous Coward

Windows mention share ..

9 mentions of Windows + 8 mentions of Microsoft + 3 mentions of Bill Gates for a grand total of 20 gratuitous adverts for Redmond ..

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Re: Windows mention share ..

...in an article about Windows losing market share. Oh the humanity.

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Holmes

Re: Windows mention share ..

It's straightforward Ballmerization, I say!

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Re: Windows mention share ..

The only thing straight-forward about Ballmerization is the trajectory of the chairs.

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Re: Windows mention share ..

Scandalous... next thing they'll be mentioning Elon Musk in articles about Tesla and Zuckerberg in articles about Facebook.

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How do they count?

If they are counting via flash of Javascript served by ad-brokers, for example, the results would be totally understandable. Most Linux users, for example, don't execute Javascript from sites they don't trust. It's a security feature.

That also would explain the discrepancy between those numbers and what we are all seeing in the real world.

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Windows

Re: How do they count?

"That also would explain the discrepancy between those numbers and what we are all seeing in the real world."

@Christian Berger

I use GNU/Linux on my own laptop. I can imagine using a Chromebook in the future, and might use a tablet for convenient content consumption eventually as I slide into happy retirement.

Plenty of fruity tablets, fruity laptops in cafes along with 15.4 inch consumer channel ones and some netbooks. I've seen a couple of Chromebooks as well. Tablets, phablets, electronic book readers in smaller numbers. The London train is solid Lenovo for the blue-shirted ones and iPads for the others.

My world is pretty proprietary. What world are you in?

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Re: How do they count?

I'm not sure where you get the "most" statistic from.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How do they count?

> Most Linux users, for example, don't execute Javascript from sites they don't trust

More importantly, in my experience most Linux installations (server and non-server) are not even exposed to the internet. They are also not bought pre-installed, and are not reported to anyone in particular, so seems a bit difficult to keep track of those numbers unless via direct surveys.

> That also would explain the discrepancy between those numbers and what we are all seeing in the real world.

Funny, I had the same thought, although I put it down to the sort of work I do.

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The thing that sticks out for me is the low usage of Vista compared with XP. It's as if that OS just slipped away and was forgotten about.

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What is more interesting

Is just how badly Windows 8 is selling compared to Windows 7. Look at the curve when Win7 was launched. By this time in its life it was on about 3 times as many machines as 8 is. It even makes Vista look good.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What is more interesting

You CANNOT compare the curves as the environment has changed too much in the meantime. In particular, the combination of alternative mainstream form factors (tablets, smartphones) plus the general realisation that unlike back then most people have no reason to upgrade any more. Both these facts make any direct comparison meaningless.

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Re: What is more interesting

"You CANNOT compare the curves as the environment has changed too much in the meantime."

I'm sorry, but given that Windows 8 is marketed first and foremost as a tablet-friendly operating system, I'd have to disagree with you entirely. The numbers are indeed directly comparable or, if not, perhaps should be weighted even more than Vista's, given the numerous more devices that should be running Windows 8 in Microsoft's dream world.

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