In 2009, I started this blog to track the decline in market share of the Microsoft Windows operating system, Internet Explorer browser product, and MSOffice office suite product. As we approach 2019, we see the platform of the infrastructure as a service cloud emerging as the primary platform, not the computer itself. Microsoft has re-branded itself to care more about Azure and 365 than its mainstay flagship desktop products. At a casual view, this is a win for team Linux. After all, the majority of Azure compute is Linux. With a deeper look, however, vendor lock-in should be a concern of a customer of any public cloud provider. I have long preferred Linode for this reason. Linode has always used KVM to manage their workloads. By being transparent in their choice of a free software virtualization technology it means easy in and easy out. The majority of IT directors who have gone public could have made less free choices. At the time of this writing, Microsoft is second to Amazon. Linode does not have a significant market share. IBM is one to watch with their acquisition hopes of Red Hat, although it only holds 3% of the market.
This blog has been about Microsoft and its market share.
Specifically, on June 2009 I bet my friend Nick that Microsoft would lack a majority market share come June 2011. We discussed the three products that HAD the majority market share as of the summer of 2009:
- Microsoft Internet Explorer for browsers
- Microsoft Office for office suites
- Microsoft Windows for operating systems
Due to personal reasons, we did not conclude this project properly.
It was too time intensive to research the true market share of Microsoft products. It is without question that Microsoft no longer holds the majority market share on browsers, now with about 30% of the market share. The office suite question is still under debate due to Google Apps. Also under consideration is if tablets replace the desktop.
In summary, the question all along should have been “What will we count?” as office suites and operating system platforms instead of “What will we use?”
Without question, Microsoft is struggling to stay relevant as revenues plummet. Indeed, upon 2011 year close Microsoft is a different company. It is sad. I do not want Microsoft to fold. Competition is good even for the Apple and Linux-based products I prefer using.
After-all, I am a MSFT stock-holder.
John Sullivan, Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation, has asked the membership a question…
By what measures do you judge the success of the FSF’s public advocacy campaigns, and how do you think they have been doing?
Below is my reply. Comments, as always, are welcome.
Dear Mr. Sullivan,
First of all, congratulations in your new role.
You asked for comments and criticism on FSF campaigns, so here is it.
How do I measure a campaign’s success? Does it result in market share change? Is there positive brand recognition? Does the general public come away thinking good thoughts about Free Software or are they lost in scary geeky confusion?
With the rest of this letter, I will discuss several FSF campaigns and mantras. Where the FSF does well and areas that could do a little better.
I would like to see The FSF to be a beacon for all of Free culture. Specifically, work more with obvious allies like MediaWiki, Archive.org, Xiph.org, and Creative Commons. I loved the film “Patent Absurdity” and your collaboration with the Software Freedom Law Center. Any time you see allies, I want to see FSF to think Win-Win as I saw in that film.
I want to see FSF to not hold such harsh criticism to those who use semantics that you do not agree with. You can gently continue to remind people who say “Open Source” or “Linux” without the GNU. Refusing to go to events or help projects by people who do not use your language is a missed opportunity to gently make your point. The current posture is elitist and “my way or the highway.”
The “GNU/Linux vs Linux” argument is the very reason that I was convinced from 1999-2009 that the FSF wouldn’t even want me to be a member. Eventually I became a member anyhow since my freedom is much too important.
It is cool that the FSF continues to use “GNU/Linux.” Depending on the audience, or the level of specificity I need, I will say “GNU/Linux” too. But, when talking to the general public I say, “I use Linux.” I get two typical answers to that “Oh, my friend uses Ubuntu!” or “Gee, I’m not a computer wiz like you.” I’m sorry but “GNU/Linux” is not brand-recognizable in the world domination scale.
In this day in age, it is difficult enough for products based on the kernel such as Android or WebOS for me to shout from the mountaintops “Linux is winning” let alone, “GNU/Linux is winning.” Some desktop distributions such as Fedora have dropped the word “Linux” purposely from their product name. Would the FSF rather that no one would say “Linux?!?”
Furthermore, would you rather people who say “Open Source” not become FSF members? We spend so much time using of neutral terms such as “non-proprietary” or acronyms such as FLOSS so that we don’t offend the Free Software Foundation’s hard line. When someone does say “Open Source” instead, a pedantic argument ensues, making both sides of the argument look childish to someone who has not yet committed to freedom. By the 20 times effective frequency theory, the “Free Software” brand nor the “Open Source” brand will sound appealing, even after they’ve heard it 20 times after all this negativity.
I actually jealous of those whose native language isn’t English because they are less likely to hear the “Open Source” bashing. We all get enough FUD from proprietary software, and our great foe Microsoft. Free Software has won in emerging economies such as Brazil and powerhouses such as France, Russia, and China. It is time we focus on what is important.
I would rather the FSF focus on unity. I loved the “working together” campaign. Build on where we all agree. Politely say, “excuse me ‘Free Software'” when someone says “Open Source” and move on. Check out Open Respect. There is a respectful way to assert your point of view so please for heavens sakes, drop the anger. I know we can all be friends. Really.
Finally, a conversation about The Free Software Foundation’s campaigns would not be complete without mentioning “The Party of GNO.” Yes, I agree that Windows 7 is “sinful” and that iPhones are “defective by design.” I understand these things because I am I freedom loving person. Someone who does not yet understand freedom yet sees the FSF as a group of judgemental purist freaks who make Free Software sound non-fun.
I would rather campaigns that promote the advancement and use of Free Software. Software Freedom Day is awesome. Funding GNASH as a high-priority project is great. I want people to want to use Free Software because it is the most beautiful, the most useful, the most fun software out there. No one should have to compromise their freedom for that one application or driver. Sadly we are not there yet, but we are oh so close.
Please focus on bridging gaps where there are not great Free Software options and the celebrating success of outstanding Free Software projects. That is the the Free Software Foundation I want to support.
Thank you for taking the time to have this discussion with your members. I’m really looking forward to your thoughts after your Mid-May contemplation.
Beth Lynn Eicher
Personally, I have enjoyed a career of using, supporting and deploying Linux technologies for the past twelve years. Lately, I’ve been getting phone calls and emails that suggest the ways not of Microsoft are in high demand. If you too don’t use Microsoft, I suggest you check the new What Will We Use website: http://wedontusemicrosoft.jobamatic.com
The following is a guest post from Jean Watson, Advertising writer webhostgear.com Ms. Watson will discuss how you can use a Virtual Private Server (VPS) to leverage the power of the Linux cloud for a dollar a day… or less! The ‘cloud’ simply means that wherever the Internet is, you are and VPS’s make that possible. Individuals, small businesses, and non-profits can use a VPS for an Internet server, hosted by professionals, without hardware or broadband costs. Go ahead and host a website, email, and community management system for everyone who works with you….or achieve location independence by hosting your files in one central location. With Linux and Free Software, you can escape the Windows desktop environment and achieve higher heights.
The Benefits of a VPS and Linux
Numerous types of web hosting services are available to webmasters. However in terms of cost effective operation and high quality performance a Virtual Private Server in conjunction with Linux operating system is the best option. VPS servers offer a high level of safety and control over the management aspects of your web hosting situation. They also work seamlessly with the easy to use and flexible Linux environment.
A virtual private server is basically a physical web hosting server partitioned into individual servers. These individual virtual servers each serve an individual user and are not affected by the other sections of the main physical server. Since each server acts independently it carries many of the same benefits that a high end dedicated server provides. However the cost of a virtual private server hosting package is more similar to the less expensive sharing hosting option.
A list of benefits offer by a VPS includes:
Since resources are dedicated to a single user, overall performance is increased in terms of page load speeds. Shared hosting which constantly allocates resources between different users cannot match the dedicated server setup of VPS. Multiple domains hosted by a shared hosting account can normally absorb a great share of performance capability. VPS can handle multiple websites much better because resources don’t have to be shared with other hosting customers simultaneously.
Shared web hosting supports a number of user accounts on the same server, opening up the possibility of a security breach from a neighboring website hosted on the same machine. With VPS each virtual server operates exclusively as a single operating system. This eliminates the possibility of hackers gaining access to your server through another user account on the same machine.
Virtual private server hosting operates as an independent system. Any software modifications or other changes made to websites by other hosting customers will have no impact upon your own website and hosting account. Your virtual private server’s resources are not drained by sudden surges of activity by other hosting accounts.
Flexibility VPS offers you complete control over the type of operating system you wish to use. The size of your VPS server can change to your exact requirements. You have the option to add or remove any software or other applications you want.
Linux offers an array of advantages that other operating systems used throughout the world cannot match. It excels in security features, multitasking, network compatibility and performance capabilities while at the same time staying user friendly. The wide array of individual programmers and groups of developers associated with the advancement of Linux make it a versatile, expandable and powerful operating platform to run. Due to the large community of support available surrounding Linux, an answer to almost any question concerning the operation and use of Linux can be accessed. Linux offers the security, scalability and flexibility to run on any type of web hosting server ranging from the most expensive high end servers platforms to the least expensive low end server options.
The Google Android Linux powered Motorola Atrix is now in AT&T stores. It is the first mobile device to be a legitimate contender for a desktop replacement with laptop-style display and keyboard, one gig of RAM, 48 gig of storage, and a dual core 1 gig processor.
Watch the video and decide for yourself…
What will we use for a desktop operating system come June 30, 2011? Android is inevitable.
From wplug.org visit of the Red Hat labs of The Gates Center of Computer Science cs.cmu.edu
Behold, for all to view… the numbers which show Microsoft will lose a majority market share in operating systems this Summer…
For those wondering the answer: What will we use if Microsoft is not the majority market share?
The answer is iOS and Linux. Apple and Google Android tablets will be the back to school computer of choice as of this summer creating a devastating trend for Microsoft.
Bug One Resolved at the Gates Center of Computer Science Carnegie Mellon Universtiy thanks to Red Hat Inc.
From where I stand, I see Linux and Apple-based products winning big in the months ahead. How can I hold such unwavering optimism? Over ten years I have a decent salary supporting Linux products, with my career starting at Carnegie Mellon using Red Hat products. A combination of UNIX workstations including Red Hat, Fedora, Solaris, IRIX, and MacOSX held a majority of the desktop market share at the CMU School of Computer Science during the time of my employment of 2001-2006.
Microsoft is unable to buy market share at top Computer Science universities such as Carnegie Mellon. Despite a 20 million dollar grant from the Bill and Melinda Foundation, desktop users still prefer Linux to Microsoft Windows. Inside the very house that Gates built, you will not find a single Windows computer in their labs. Red Hat fixed that by funding computer labs there.
I will personally pay a visit to the Red Hat labs at Carnegie Mellon University on Monday March 7 – and you are welcome to join me. Just sign up!