The news is clear...according to the numbers, desktop Linux is dead.
It is dead because after years of being stuck at 1% of market share, it started to shrink. Now, Linux dropped to 0.8%.
Yes, the dream is over...Linux desktop is DEAD!
Still, some Linux advocates tried to defend their beloved, but dead penguin. They said that Linux is not dead because server Linux and super computing Linux is alive and well (actually, it is Windows the one who is cold as a meatloaf there).
However, that reasoning is faulty because supercomputing and server computing are completely different from desktop computing. Remember, the premise here is that DESKTOP LINUX is dead. Period. Sometimes the truth hurts, yes.
You just have to go to the nearest mainstream computer store and count how many computers sold there come with Linux preinstalled...
WAIT A MINUTE!!! This way of thinking is fallacious, too. It is as fallacious as counting servers to say that desktop Linux is alive!
We are talking about DESKTOP LINUX, remember? What does that mean? Well, that is pretty self-explanatory: it means desktop computers that RUN Linux. We are not talking about sales figures here. We are talking about desktop computers. Sales figures are sales figures; desktop computers are desktop computers. These are different concepts as the realities they embody.
You may say that sold computers with Linux preloaded are almost inexistent and you may be right. But that does not mean that desktop computers running linux are inexistent. That's as false as saying that pirated Windows copies that can be downloaded are an urban legend because no sales figures reflect their existence. Are you reading this from an inexistent pirated Windows computer, by any chance? Well, I wrote this from an inexistent Linux computer! How about that?
Well, what about the information taken from monitoring sites online? We have two problems there: how can we tell if those computers online represent faithfully our reality? You may go to the park and count all the pigeons there and say that the stained ones are the majority, but you cannot say that they account for all the pigeons in the world, can you? The other problem is worse: online traffic depends on the content of the site. Taking the numbers of those sites as true would in turn enable me to say that most computers in the world run Linux (most of my visitors use a Linux computer...maybe because this blog is about Linux? Nahh!)
Back to the market, people usually think that it is the only true reality. What about those who have no money to be part of the market? They do exist, in case you didn't know, and they are not dead, either. They struggle every single day to beat their harsh reality. Ganesh Prasad stated that the market is now the politically correct way to solve all problems. But the market, as we have seen, doesn't recognise the existence of those who have nothing to offer as suppliers and nothing to pay as consumers. They are invisible people. They may be invisible to the market, but they do exist and are millions.
Well, it's pretty much the same case with Linux. It may be invisible to the market (although those figures are still questionable), but even so, being invisible to one reality does not mean being dead in all the others. How many people buy a Windows computer (because they have no option,as it is in my country) and then wipe that OS away to replace it with Linux? That counts as a Windows computer to the market, sure...but we are talking about desktop computers, not about sales. What OS does the computer run? If it is a desktop computer and runs Linux, what is it, then? Not hard to tell, huh?
Again, the truth does hurt sometimes.