by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
damn lies, linux, servers, statistics


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):
Linux Server market share in 2005. [source]

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

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, (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
    TtfnJohn (profile), 30 Jun 2010 @ 11:41pm

    Re: You need to have a "market" before you can have a market share

    A market, actually, includes things such as free and gifting because if you exclude that you distort the market.

    Then, of course, you proceed to distort the market.

    "Most SME's use a windows based server system, for their internal networks and data systems."

    If my SME you mean subject matter expert then I'll challenge that one right away. Many companies use variations of 'Nix out there and Microsoft only for the last jump where they do at all. Conmpanies, and there are many, universities and governments who lease facilities and the expertise of IBM are Linux from beginning to end. No one in their right mind would run a MS server and certainly NOT IIS on the perimeter. Novel offers beginning to end Linux solutions and is doing well by it.

    The server business on Linux is huge and not dominated by MSCEs which must the the most looked down on certification available.

    All telephone switching is done using a variant of 'Nix, either Linux or BSD because they have to be survivable which Windows, for all it's advances, isn't and never will be as long as it relies on the "registry" to function. And the manufacturers "roll their own" versions and variations and most give back to the community. Same for key systems and switchboards.

    The Mars rovers are Linux cause NASA can "roll their own" to their own needs and specifications something they cannot do with Windows.

    The most powerful supercomputer on the planet is runnig Linux. Not bad for a failure.

    The backbone servers of the Internet are, now, only Linux and most DNS severs out there are Linux or NetBSD.

    "Which means there are really no commercially viable product coming from FOSS"

    MySQL anyone?

    "...the only prodct worth using from from is the free stuff. And often even then its not worth it.

    Your better off paying good money for good product, and that is what most people do."

    About now you're reminding me of a couple of ZDNet trollers, one nicked Loverock Davidson and the other one known as NoAxeToGrind. Like them you resort to fantasy if reality and facts don't suffice.

    Incidentally the spelling and grammar would indicate Lovey though by now he'd be on his screed about having to compile all FOSS from scratch and so on.

    The guy writing the blog cited by Mike is a PR guy. Statistics are probably well beyond him. They're beyond you too.

    One more time, repeat after me, the "market", an undistorted one, includes the free, the gifted and the donated. It certainly is not confined to paid product all the time.

    Actually, those who use Linux don't just use if because it's nominally free they use it for any number of reasons going from that it's far more secure than Windows, it's customizable unlike Windows, it's scalable from small (devices) to huge (mainframes) from slow (a watch) to fast (a supercomputer).

    And this is for intelligent people not Windows fanbois or ZDNet trollers.

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