One thing many of us would like to know, I am sure, is how many people out there use Linux? The usual numbers, those from Net Applications, would indicate that less than 1% of people use Linux. More recently, though, there have been some more optimistic numbers. Canonical is claiming that 11% of businesses use Ubuntu. (If that is the case, just imagine how many use Red Hat or Suse.) Gartner says that Linux’s market share is 4%, putting it about even with the Mac. And Context says that almost 3% of PCs sold in the UK have Linux pre-installed.
While none of those numbers are huge, they mean the difference between Linux and Mac OS X being about equal and Linux being a speck of dust in the sea. The fundamental problem is that it is really, really hard to know how what the marketshare of Linux, or any open-source software, is. After all, one download might never be used, or only be used for a short time, and another might be used to install Linux onto 100 computers.
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When shopping for a new computer, your mind is probably spinning with considerations: price, reliability, speed, software capabilities, security, and other specs. Perhaps the hardest part is choosing an operating system on which everything will run. To get a good idea of what capabilities Apple’s OSX Tiger/Leopard, Windows Vista, and Ubuntu Linux have to offer, check out our 15 point report card that compares the levels of protection you’ll get with each of them.
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Posted in Apple, Linux, Microsoft, Technology, Ubuntu
Tagged Apple, Leopard, Linux, mac, Microsoft, OS X, OSX, Tiger, Ubuntu, Vista, windows
Here’s a question that I received from yesterday’s mail bag:
Apple’s a lot easier to understand when you stop looking at it as a religion and instead see it for what it is – a multi-billion dollar consumer electronics company
Now, I have checked and I’m pretty sure that this email isn’t from Steve Jobs, but it’s an interesting question nonetheless. Apple is, without a doubt, a successful company and is returning strong data quarter after quarter. For years, the darling for investors was the iPod, the first of Apple’s products to hit critical mass and make it big (some might say that it was the first piece of branded consumer electronics to go critical mass, but personally I wouldn’t take it that far). Now it seems that Apple has managed to put the Macs under the iPod’s halo and dramatically improved desktop and notebook sales. Sales are strong, but you have to put this into perspective. CNET’s Tom Krazit does a good job of crunching the numbers:
The numbers seem simple: Apple has sold more than 120 million iPods to date, and Mac shipments are growing much faster than the overall market.
But Hewlett-Packard’s worldwide shipments are growing twice as fast as the overall market. Acer’s worldwide shipments are growing at nearly four times the overall market. Even in the U.S., where Apple does the majority of its business and is the third-leading PC vendor, everyone but Dell is growing much faster than the overall market. HP might have a brand name in printers, but nobody, even HP, has a consumer product with nearly the cachet of the iPod.
But like Krazit, I’m not so convinced that there’s a correlation between iPod sales and Mac sales:
But I’m not convinced that you can draw a direct line between iPods and Macs. Are you more likely to buy an HP PC because you own (and like) your HP printer? Are you more likely to buy a Sony television because you’ve spent thousands of quality hours with your PlayStation 2? Maybe, maybe not.
OK, but let’s get back to the original question – What could/should Apple do to take sales and profits to the next level? Simple. Release an Apple branded Windows-based PC. I know, I know, this kind of talk is bound to upset the hardened Apple fanatic, but it makes perfect sense. One of the things that’s undoubtedly helped boost Mac sales is Boot Camp. Now there’s no punishment for switching platforms because you can take your old platform with you, but just as some people got tired of paying the Microsoft tax when they wanted a PC to run Linux on it, people who want Apple hardware in order to run Windows on it will eventually see the Mac OS as an Apple tax. Why doesn’t Jobs and the crew at Cupertino just skip that whole Apple tax step and offer customers a choice of operating systems. Since Windows is the dominant OS at present, that’s a good place to start, but if Apple really wants to offer the customer real choice, Linux would also be great.
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Posted in Apple, Hardware, Linux, Microsoft, Technology
Tagged , Apple, Boot camp, Hardware, iphone, ipod touch, ipods, Leopard, Linux, Mac OS, Microsoft, Microsoft Windows, OEM, OS X, OSX, PC, Religion, Steve Jobs, windows, Windows-based
The final release of Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) will be released shortly and Dell has indicated that it will be pre-installed on some of their Notebooks and Desktop PCs. It will include GNOME 2.20 and the default installation of NTFS-3G, which provides read/write access to Windows (NTFS) partitions. Also included is Compiz Fusion, the 3-D window manager and desktop effects package. Improved plug and play printer support and a host of other features. However the story of success does not rest in the fact that Dell is offering its support to Ubuntu. The big question is the marketing and advertising of Ubuntu Linux. As far as I am concerned Ubuntu is still the best Linux distro available, for the commoners. However, why is there so little advertising of Linux? Is there a reason why Dell is not fully backing Linux? Ubuntu has a chance on becoming a big player for Linux enthusiasts and possibly people who want a PC, but for online and basic home PC usage. But, the progress will continue to be a slow one, as long as no particular hardware vendors helps in marketing the product, in the same way Microsoft Windows is pushed. I sense that Dell does not want to fully upset the Microsoft behemoth. Dell is now offering XP as a downgrade (of upgrade – depending on how you see it), for users that do not want Vista. Vista has experienced extremely bad press, along with a host of problems. The question is since Microsoft is not coming out with a new OS anytime soon; why not help push the Ubuntu Linux cause? Is there more at play than we know? Dell may simply be riding the Linux wave for free, while not helping (spending too much) to promote Ubuntu, at the expense of XP. Also, Linux is still not mainstream in the public eye. At a recent event the subject of Microsoft Vista was brought up. These are not “technically inclined” individuals; however they ALL had nothing good to say about Vista. Many said that they would buy a Mac. Some said “a Mac is hard to use” (did not get that one). However at the price, they could probably purchase 2-4 basic low-end PCs, with Microsoft XP. Only a few knew about Linux, however they said that “it was for nerds and programmers”. Well at least they knew something about it! A little education brought them up to speed, however more work needs to be done. While HP, Acer and others are contemplating Linux ventures, Dell has an opportunity, with its marketing knowhow, to boost the general profile of Linux. I hope Dell jumps on the opportunity, which should help to change the technical landscape for years to come.
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Posted in Dell, Linux, Technology
Tagged 3-D, 3D, Acer, Apple, Compiz Fusion, Dell, GNOME, GPL, Gutsy Gibbon, Hardware, HP, Linux, Linux distros, mac, marketing, Microsoft, Microsoft Vista, Microsoft XP, NTFS, OS X, OSX, PC, support, Ubuntu, vendor, Vista, XP
While the industry is distracted by the ongoing tussle between Microsoft and OpenOffice.org over document formats, the KDE project is quietly preparing the next generation of its own office suite, KOffice, for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.
KOffice 2.0, to be released sometime in the first half of 2008, will be cross platform like many other applications in the KDE suite built with the Qt4 GUI toolkit.
Spokesperson for the KDE project Sebastian Kugler told Computerworld there is a community building around KDE on Windows and KDE e.V., the non-profit organization that represents KDE financially and legally, sponsored a meeting to help people get the port to Windows going.
“The by-product [of Qt4] really is that it became possible, now people are taking advantage of it,” Kugler said.
That said, Kugler admits KDE on Windows is “not really a steered effort” but is being done because there is interest in having KDE software run on Windows, and because KDE was developed to be platform-independent in the first place, it is possible.
People involved in the Linux and open source communities have often expressed conflicting views on whether free software on Windows benefits, or detracts from, the adoption of free operating systems, particularly on the desktop.
Kugler believes it is “hard to say” one way or another if KOffice 2.0 on Windows and Mac OS X will benefit KDE on Linux.
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Posted in Linux
Tagged 2.0, 2008, free, GPL. Open Office, GUI, KDE, KOffice, Linux, mac, Microsoft, Office, OpenOffice.org, OS X, OSX, windows