Usually the market share is measured by all internet users who are surfing in the internet. Less than 1% of the users have the Linux operating system installed. But the real market share is much lower. If we are observing only non-developers then the market share of the Linux desktop is 0%, which means zero point zero percent. Or to speak more direct: nobody is using Linux. Instead the people have installed Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 10 and sometimes Mac OS X. Mac OS X and Windows are the preferred operating systems for non-developers. And absolutely nobody is thinking about Ubuntu, Fedora or ArchLinux.
But there is also a second group, called programmers. In absolute numbers they are around 20 million worldwide. And here is the market share a bit different. According to the last survey of Stackoverflow (which is in my opinion realistic), 50% of the programmers are using WIndows, 25% Mac OS X and 25% have installed Linux on their machine.
These raw numbers seems to be surprising because 75% of all developers have decided against open source software. But that is the reality. The average programmer isn’t familiar with Fedora but he uses Visual C# under Windows 10. Or he is programming PHP extensions under Mac OS X. Even in the group of developers Linux is some kind of esoteric operating system. In absolute numbers we can say exactly how many users have installed Linux on their desktop: 25% of 20 million programmers are 5 million people. The reason why the number is low has many reasons. The first question is why are so few developers worldwide there? 20 Million is very few compared to the world population. The second question is why the market share among programmers is only 25% for Linux. I would guess the problems are non technical nature. A current Linux distributions runs very well on a Windows PC and on modern Mac computers. All the hardware is recognized by the kernel, and the WLAN device works out of the box. The more important question is, what the learning situation of the programmer is. In most cases he isn’t familiar with computers at all. He have started programming 6 months before and the only written code so far is a hello world application programmed in Visual Basic and in Visual C#. Some of the advanced programmers are also familiar with Delphi and that’s it. All the threads on stackoverflow are about these topics, or at least most of them. That means, the average programmer is fully occupied with learning Visual C# that he has no time to watch for something which is better, cheaper and more powerful. So he stays on Windows and everything is fine. There is no need for change and Linus Torvalds speaks only for a minority. Linux has no support from the developer community, most of them are not interested in Opensource software and the GPL license. The community of programmers had conspired against the Linux operating system and they hope that the remaining 25% of the users will switch also to Xcode and Visual Studio. Torvalds doesn’t recognized that the game is over, no one likes Linux except the mainstream media. They have produced lots of documentary about how great free software is, and that Richard Stallman has started a revolution with inventing the GNU compiler. The reality is, that Linux doesn’t fit to the needs of programmers. They are feeling not lucky with the bash command line, and they don’t like the C/C++ ecosystem. Today’s programmers are more comfortable with visual programming environment and managed languages like Swift and .net And if somebody doesn’t work, they simply buy an upgrade from the supplier.
Microsoft isn’t the enemy
An often told myth is that Microsoft would boycott the Linux operating system but all the endusers and developers are fans of Linux. So it would make sense to win against Microsoft and unlock the full potential of a free society … The reality is a bit different. Microsoft was never a topdown company managed by somebody else. Microsoft was from the beginning user driven. That means, the end user decided which products they want. If the end-user didn’t like the new version of Windows 10 or Visual Studio he wouldn’t buy it in the store. It is a free decision, which forces Microsoft to do what their customers needs. Most energy invested by Microsoft is to talk with the customers and they doing a great job. Today’s products are better suited to the user needs then ever before.
In contrast, Linux is a system which ignores the need of the enduser. And that is the reason why his market share is so low. Linux isn’t able to fullfill the needs of the programmers and that is the reason why 75% of them decided against Open Source software. LInux is simply not what today’s developers need. In contrast to Microsoft Linux is fighting against his own user base and it misinterprets their wishes. This ideology of ignoring the customer is called by Opensource advocates freedom. Linux makes everything the wrong way. If the user wants a gui, he becomes a textinterface. If the user want’s running games, he becomes Tuxcart, if the users wants plattform indevepend apps he becomes glibc and so forth. Microsoft will win, if all the users are happy, Linux will win if he lost all his users. The secret goal of Linus Torvalds is to loose as much programmers as possible to Microsoft and Apple and reduce the Market share of Linux on the desktop.