[linux-elitists] Market share figures for 2001?

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Sun Aug 11 11:39:59 PDT 2002


on Wed, Aug 07, 2002, Don Marti (dmarti@zgp.org) wrote:
> begin Nick Moffitt quotation of Wed, Aug 07, 2002 at 12:48:32PM -0700:
> 
> > So I read something that got me to thinking.  Do you remember those
> > market share calculations that IDC used to do?  They documented the
> > rise of GNU/Linux in the server arena, and showed it slowly but surely
> > overtaking the other OSes .  In 2000 they showed Linux at about 30%
> > and Microsoft stuff at about 40%
> > 
> > So where the hell are the data for 2001?  It's like they got a big
> > payoff to just not publish it this year.
> 
> Just called them.  They're saying there was a 5% decline in Linux
> _revenues_ from 2000 to 2001, but as for number of Linux servers
> actually installed, who knows.
> 
> "IDC expects spending on Linux operating environments to increase
> over the next five years from $80 million in 2001 to $280 million
> in 2006"

Old hat for most of us here, but...

Revenue comparisons are largely moot as this represents both a sorely
inaccurate count of either systems or developers, and a core strength of
GNU/Linux -- unit costs are lower, unit multiple uses are higher, and
distribution channels far more varied, than the proprietary competition.

Far more useful would be to see a mix of total revenues, unit sales, and
some other measure(s) of penetration (e.g.:  the Netcraft "what's that
site running" webserver survey).

Revenues are important in the business sense, as they provide some
measure of how large a market can be supported, and/or how that market
should be structured, for direct sale of software or bundled sale of SW
and services.  But for a set of tools which largely exist largely at a
remove from the market[1], the numbers have little relationship to the
number of developers, including developers who are directly supported by
their work in this area, or of the userbase.  

Much business press, and most Microsoft FUD, tends to present revenue
figures as a measure of strength of free software.  This notion needs to
be actively corrected, and the converse benefit (low cost, high quality
software) made clear.

Peace.


----------------------------------------
Notes:

1   By "at a remove from the market", I mean that there is relatively
    little FS development that is supported on the basis of one mainstay
    of the proprietary market:  boxed set or other unit sales of
    software.  Some developers are supported by independent or "body
    shop" consulting.  Others work within academia.  I'd suspect the
    majority however work for an employer, deal with free software in
    the course of their work, and make some of the fruits available to
    the community at large.  Thus, while there is an economic connection
    (the financial support isn't nonexistent), the linkage is indirect.

    I've held for years that this isn't an additional cost to businesses
    who support free software, so much as it is an efficiency gain --
    staff would otherwise be encountering and identifying problems
    (usually the hard work), but due to lack of code and/or rights to
    modify, are unable to rectify the problems themselves.  Free
    software removes this barrier.

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
   Übersoft:  It's Not Our Fault.
     http://www.ubersoft.net/
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