I often come across articles and commentary from people in the open source world that Ubuntu and Canonical are making a difference in the desktop Linux space and they are a “ball rolling down a hill.” Some examples for your consideration are http://www.muktware.com/a/3/2/29/2010/531 and http://www.bangkokpost.com/tech/technews/207859/open-source-has-won-precisely-because-we-no-longer-notice-it. I thought I would investigate the reality of this to see if Ubuntu is really making a dent as everyone thinks in the desktop OS marketplace.
To start my research, I looked for data on desktop OS market share and found this information from July 2010 at http://mayurkshirsagar.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/consistently-linux-failed-to-grab-even-1-of-the-desktop-os-market/:
Even more interesting is the chart showing Linux desktop OS market share over the past 2 years:
I think the fact that Mac OSX only has 5.53% market share with all the publicity and growth that Apple has had over the past few years demonstrates just how strong the Windows monopoly is. I also found a nice commentary (http://www.itworld.com/open-source/127527/open-source-desktops-may-not-happen-small-biz) on how Linux desktop time has passed and the better avenue for open source and Linux is via the cloud and embedded market. I agree with this analysis as the market penetration for Linux in the embedded and mobile marketplace shows a significant Linux impact:
Market/OS Linux Windows Mac OS Symbian Blackbeerry
Smartphones 27% 3% 17% 37% 15%
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems So, it appears to me that the future of Linux is in embedded devices and servers (of course) but not really a factor in the desktop space. Thus, should Linux distributors put more effort into making Linux better for the non-desktop space or continue their seemingly uphill battle in the desktop space? Looking forward to your thoughts