Studies

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
damn lies, linux, servers, statistics

Companies:
microsoft



Microsoft's Comparison To Linux In The Server Market Conveniently Leaves Out Free

from the let-me-write-the-definitions... dept

If you get to define a "market" you can create all sorts of misleading results. Take, for example, this recent blog post from Microsoft, where it tried to show off just how big the company was using a variety of numbers. Thankfully, Charles Arthur, over at The Guardian went through the numbers in greater detail to point out where and how they were misleading. One example, highlighted by Glyn Moody is the claims of Linux server market share, and how it supposedly "failed" to live up to expectations. Here's what Microsoft had in its blog post (which I recreated by hand, because, as Arthur notes, Microsoft's HTML is full of ridiculous crap):
24%
Linux Server market share in 2005. [source]

33%
Predicted Linux Server market share for 2007 (made in 2005). [source]

21.2%
Actual Linux Server market share, Q4 2009. [source]
Now, this might strikes some of you as not sounding right. After all, most of have have noticed that Linux servers seem to be pretty damn common throughout the world. Most of the biggest online companies in the world use Linux, and it's difficult to think of an online startup that doesn't use Linux. Charles Arthur breaks down how incredibly misleading this is:
This is a really interesting one, because it is a distortion of reality that would have Steve Jobs applauding at its subtlety. You look at those numbers and think: wow, Linux servers really aren't popular. How odd, because you'll notice that you come across Linux servers all over the place: Google, Facebook (which runs F5's Big IP, which is Linux), Yahoo, Amazon, Wordpress.com (which hosts millions of blogs), Twitter... so why such a small number? (The only major site I could quickly find that runs Windows Server is eBay.)

Answer: because those "market share" figures are for Linux server licences sold. Microsoft doesn't count them - and because the market research companies can't count them - if money doesn't change hands. True, this indicates that companies selling Linux servers (principally hardware) aren't making headway against Windows Server. But what it doesn't tell you is what progress Linux is making overall on the web. For that, you need Netcraft. And that suggests that Linux has a really big market share.
In other words, to make these numbers come out this way, Microsoft is pretending that "free" Linux servers are not competitors. This is a silly sort of willful blindness. Obviously, free Linux is a huge competitor to Microsoft's servers, and widely used in place of it. To ignore those numbers to try to suggest Linux has less marketshare is to deny reality.

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  1. icon
    vivaelamor (profile), 1 Jul 2010 @ 5:08pm

    Re: My Observations as a developer

    "Microsoft has one truly great advantage over Linux: Visual Studio. Although I am still not completely convinced of the usefulness of the .NET framework and Common Language Runtime (CLR), even after developing applications with it for several years, it is a nice development environment and there is nothing in Linux to truly compete with it - unless developing in Java, then the Linux platform is arguably superior (although I find Java libraries like Java Media Framework often more complete for Windows). The usual argument is that more development is done in Windows because there is a larger market. True, but if development becomes easier in Linux (especially if a cross compiler for Windows/.Net is available) and is cheap/free, there will be a lot more Linux development."

    You should take a good look at Qt and Qt Creator, bonus is that it runs on Windows too. Or just use Mono and stick with .NET.

    "Additionally, when (if) OS runtime environments are all virtual and CLR common intermediate language and JRT bytecode are compatible you'll see an explosion in Linux desktop and server use. Of course, MS came up with CLR as a competitor to JRT after failing to usurp Java from Sun and this is unlikely."

    I've not seen many desktop Linux developers seriously consider Java for a long time. Most of the stuff that was previously done in Java tends to be in Python now and I can't see that changing except where android is concerned.

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