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-prec.... 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-faile...
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-h...) 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%
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
Stephen Spector is the community manager of the open source OpenStack cloud platform community which develops solutions and technology for public and private cloud infrastructures. He is responsible for all things OpenStack, except for the software itself.
Stephen is an old school C developer for Real-Time embedded systems and a long time alliance and developer program manager longing for the good old days when technology upheavals only occurred every six months. You can follow him on Twitter and the OpenStack blog.