[svlug] Linux has 12% of corporate desktop market

Ian Kluft ikluft at thunder.sbay.org
Sat Jan 11 14:43:39 PST 2003

>From: Jeffrey Siegal <jbs at quiotix.com>
>John Conover wrote:
>>     http://www.vnunet.com/News/1137951
>> where Goldman Sachs, (the investment banking/VC folks,) claim that 12%
>> of the companies in their survey have "rolled out Linux on the
>> desktop." (Its the largest numbers I've seen.)
>It certainly is interesting, but your subject line is misleading.  12% 
>of companies using it doesn't translate to 12% "of the corporate desktop 
>market."  For example, even if *every* company used Linux on 1% of its 
>desktops, that would only represent 1% of the corporate desktop market.

Yeah, I noticed the same thing.  12% of the companies deploying Linux in
an unspecified amount each, doesn't tell us as much about "market share"
as it first sounds.  We need to be careful with statistics.

However, that's official deployments by those companies.  It doesn't include
unofficial self-supported installations by workers.  We know those numbers
are hard to measure but haven't stopped growing.  Even at my employer where
Linux is one of three officially-supported desktop platforms, we can only
guess that unofficial Linux installations are around 3-5 times as many as
the official ones.

But this 12% number is new.  The official rollouts of Linux by large
companies is a different kind of number I hadn't heard quantified before.
Having been in a very small part involved in helping our sysadmins with
the rollout of Linux at my employer, I know that there's resistance to
overcome from IT "professionals" who take MS marketing statements as if
it's gospel.  (That resistance has significantly eroded since 1999 when
we first started.  Today all the Windows sysadmins I know harbor at least
some resentment for MS and are aware of Linux.  But their managers remain
more detached.)  This isn't as simple as just installing another machine.
It takes time to arrange for infrastructure and support for an official
desktop platform deployment in a large company.  The fact that 12% of the
large companies surveyed are aware of their Linux deployments and publicly
admitting they've gone through that process, well, I think that's incredible.

The thing that drove my employer to pursue official support of Linux years
before other large companies was because it was buying a lot of smaller
companies during the boom.  Those companies had their influence since they
were increasingly using Linux for their engineering.  It's reached the
point of nearly all acquisitions in 1999.  Unaffected by the requests from
those of us who had already worked there, even the most hardened managers
went along with the business reason of preserving the investment made in
buying those companies.

OK, that was a lot of rambling.  But it sheds some light on what that
12% number means.  It has undoubtedly taken a lot of efforts to get there.

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