Linux Market Share Jump

Linux market share as measured by Net Applications has been growing fast this year. From 0.35% in January it increased to 0.42% in February (20% growth) and then jumped to 0.57% in March (35.7% growth) and 0.80% in April (22.8%). Unless it’s a fluke, it seems like Linux is finally starting to gain some momentum.

At the same time, Windows Vista has been gaining about 1% per month since February: 0.18% in January, 0.93% in February, 2.04% in March and 3.02% in April, or roughly 12% per year. Windows XP was released on October 25, 2001, and by the end of 2004 it commanded 65.07% of the market. Even assuming that the adoption was linear, that translates into over 20% per year. In reality, early adoption rates are probably higher, translating into possibly 30% market share for Windows XP by the end of 2002.

I do wish success to Microsoft’s competitors. If more people begin to use software that conforms to open standards and not Microsoft’s proprietary protocols and features, Microsoft-only standards will become marginalized and Microsoft will be forced to use open standards itself in order to inter-operate with others’ products. This will bring more competition and choice to the market, leading to improved quality of software, lower prices and real innovation such as BumpTop, for one small example.

Ubuntu Continues To Impress

Last weekend I tried Ubuntu 7.04 on my Fujitsu S2020 laptop, also with great results. Everything worked right out of the box, with one problem: I could not figure out hot to get WPA-PSK to work. There is no option in the GUI, and although the wpasupplicant package that promises WPA and WPA2 support is installed, somehow it is still not usable by mere mortals. So I’ll wait a little longer.

My previous experiences on this laptop with SUSE and Debian were less than pleasant: unacceptable boot times, scores of configuration problems and painful troubleshooting sessions. Cluttered interfaces with overabundance of useless options while all configurations that really matter are done old school by editing text files, with little documentation support; too many choices for a novice user (do I really need three text editors from the get go?), tacky KDE names and so forth.

Writing this from Ubuntu 7.04…

This is the first time when I actually liked the Linux experience almost right out the box. The machine is HP Compaq dx2200 with 3.06GHz P4 and 1GB RAM, some of which is used for video buffer. I had to download and install the ATI video driver and add a line to a configuration file to get the audio to work, but the troubleshooting information was easy to find and the fixes easy to apply. Everything else is nice and clean, I was able to browse shares on a Windows 2003 server, browse the Web etc., so far I am very pleased. If you are interested, head over to Get Ubuntu page.

UPDATE:
To get audio to work, edit the /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base file and add

options snd-hda-intel model=3stack

to the end of it. To edit the file, launch Terminal and type

sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base

The internal speaker will not work but external speakers and headphones will.

The driver for Radeon Xpress 200 is provided by a “restricted” package xorg-driver-fglrx. You can download and install it as follows:

sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install xorg-driver-fglrx

More information available here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BinaryDriverHowto/ATI

If You Need A Linux PC…

I was looking to buy a computer with pre-loaded Linux so that I wouldn’t have to mess with drivers etc. and came across http://system76.com/ Funny thing is, once you customize it to have reasonable specs, the price makes you think whether you should add $150 and buy an iMac instead.