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Portables Linux

Linux Reaches 32% Netbook Market Share 389

Posted by kdawson
from the one-third-of-world-domination dept.
christian.einfeldt writes "Linux netbooks have captured 32% of the global netbook market, says Jeff Orr, an analyst with consumer computer research firm ABI Research. The largest share of netbook sales is in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, according to Orr. ABI's latest figures align with a statement by Dell executives in February of this year, to the effect that Linux netbooks comprised about 33% of Dell shipments of Dell Inspiron mini 9s netbooks. These data points cast doubt on claims by Microsoft that Windows XP has captured 98% of the netbook market (a figure Microsoft later revised to 93%). In an interview with DesktopLinux.com, Orr made clear that the 32% Linux netbook market share did not include either user-installed Linux or dual-boot systems, but was confined to just pre-installed Linux shipments."
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Linux Reaches 32% Netbook Market Share

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  • by ZiakII (829432) on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:09PM (#30361102)
    Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. 14% of people know that.
  • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:10PM (#30361108)

    I live in Australia, and find it quite rare to find Linux based netbooks in shops. They are available, but mostly from the more specialist retailers. Even then they only have very low specs.

    I just got back from Singapore, where I was hoping to pick up a cheap Linux netbook to use over there at a conference. Not only were prices similar to Australia for computer stuff, but virtually all the netbooks ran Windows. There were only a couple of places that I came across that offered Linux, and they were not cheap. They also seemed to be older models. I was disappointed.

    That said, anyone who is really interested in Linux would not be satisfied with the simplified versions that come with netbooks. If you are going to wipe the OS to install your own distro, then it doesn't make a great deal of difference what the original operating system is. Any cost savings for having Linux seem to be offset by the premium of buying such a rare beast.

    • I was at the Sim Lim Square a couple weeks ago and enjoyed seeing all the hardware, but pretty much everything cost more than I could get at home in the U.S.A. So I didn't end up picking up anything while I was there beyond some tea mix friends had requested and souvenirs for my kids.

    • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:33PM (#30361260) Homepage Journal

      Go to Officeworks, still half of their ASUS netbooks are Linux based. When the lovely sales assistant starts telling you about the evils of Linux, assure him you know what you're doing and head to the counter.

      Even then they only have very low specs.

      That's the point of a netbook.. and the reason why Linux is so popular on them.

      Of course, you'll probably want to nuke the "linux" on them and put Ubuntu on it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by GF678 (1453005)

        Even then they only have very low specs.

        That's the point of a netbook.. and the reason why Linux is so popular on them.

        Who said netbooks needed to be low spec? The same people who thought netbooks would only be used for browsing and light typing?

        Netbooks are simply small computers. They should have the capability to do whatever we want with them - this argument that netbooks are destined to only be low spec is short-sighted.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by timeOday (582209)
          Netbooks are nothing but the lowest end of laptops. Feel free to disagree, but please provide a link to a high-end "netbook" with it.
          • by GF678 (1453005)

            Feel free to disagree, but please provide a link to a high-end "netbook" with it.

            I can't. Probably because anything I put forward will be disregarded as not being high-end enough (this is how Internet arguments work - you can't win).

            What I was addressing was rather the perception that netbooks have to be low spec, that low spec is all they should be. Given the rate of technological improvements, I don't see it not being feasible for a netbook to house a decent 3D chipset and CPU to compete with mid-range la

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by mysidia (191772)

              Just find a netbook that is equal or better than a "laptop", and you'll have proven that Netbooks aren't low-end laptops, since you have a laptop with even worse specs than a Netbook :)

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Jesus_666 (702802)
              Wasn't the whole point of a netbook to put in components that draw as little power as possible to enable a smaller form factor at a longer uptime for the simple tasks most people want to do? If you want a small, powerful device that's a subnotebook.

              Of course, in the domain of portable computers there is a plethora of ill-defined and somethimes trademarked terms that ensure nobody knows what anyone else is talking about - als The Register commented on [theregister.co.uk] earlier this year. In twelve months "netbook" and "note
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by rrohbeck (944847)

            My Eee PC 1005HA has a slightly slower CPU but twice as much RAM and disk as my 4 year old Latitude D800 which was pretty high end back then. It runs three times as long on one battery charge. Firefox feels about the same (although the wireless driver still has hiccups in Karmic) and OpenOffice feels faster on the netbook than MS Office on the laptop although it takes longer to start. evince definitely feels snappier than Acrobat Reader under XP.
            The display size is the only major drawback. A netbook with 19

          • by AndGodSed (968378)

            Well the smaller sony laptops certainly qualify don't you think?

            Here is an example from a google search: http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&safe=off&q=sony+laptops&cid=13362534904527965375&sa=title#p [google.com]

            (Apologies for the ugly linkage)

            My boss has one he uses while going motorbiking, not identical to this one mind you - his has got the swively touchscreen, GPS and a more powerful processor than that one, a dual core joppie of some kind (I havent worked with that one in a while so the ex

        • by GlassHeart (579618) on Monday December 07, 2009 @11:19PM (#30361616) Journal

          Who said netbooks needed to be low spec?

          For now, physics. Small form factor means small battery, which means the CPU can't be too power hungry.

        • by Mr. DOS (1276020) on Monday December 07, 2009 @11:24PM (#30361640)

          Who said netbooks needed to be low spec?

          Microsoft. Who only licenses XP Home for use on machines below a certain screen size and spec. I think there may be some restriction on Windows 7 Starter Edition as well.

          I know the conversation is "who needs Windows on netbooks?", but it's still at 68% :P

                --- Mr. DOS

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by sznupi (719324)

            W8, did you together with GlassHeart above you just just come to conclusion that the existence and practices of MS are as inevitable as laws of physics? ;/

        • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @01:02AM (#30362200)

          Netbooks are simply small computers.

          There is small, cheap and powerful.

          You can only pick two. Netbooks are small and cheap, if you want small and powerful then you aren't looking for a netbook.

        • by antdude (79039)

          Can it play Crysis? :P

      • Go to Officeworks, still half of their ASUS netbooks are Linux based.

        Thanks for that. Their website doesn't list them at all. I will go check out my local store later. I have found some of the staff in my local one to be surprisingly knowledgeable.

        That's the point of a netbook.. and the reason why Linux is so popular on them.

        Wow, good point. I hated the way the netbook morphed into the slightly larger subnotebook market. People didn't seem to understand point of the cheap, tiny computer. Now I find I have fallen into that trap myself! Still, 32GB SSD seems like a nice minimum point without going to a full hard drive.

    • by bcrowell (177657) on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:36PM (#30361292) Homepage

      If you are going to wipe the OS to install your own distro, then it doesn't make a great deal of difference what the original operating system is. Any cost savings for having Linux seem to be offset by the premium of buying such a rare beast.

      I just don't want to put money in Microsoft's pocket for an OS that I have no intention of using. That would mean caving in to the worst kind of abusive monopoly.

    • by Cimexus (1355033) on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:59PM (#30361480)

      Huh? That's weird...I also live in Australia and was going to post that I'm not surprised that APAC seems to be a successful market for these Linux netbooks. The Linux netbooks are displayed quite prominently (along with the Windows ones of course) in quite a few retailer. JB Hifi springs to mind ... the one near my place has the linux netbooks right there on the ends of the aisle ... actually ~more~ prominently placed than the Windows ones now that I think about it.

      Must be one of those things that varies depending on the particular store and demographic. The area I live in is quite 'young and techy' so perhaps the Linux netbooks do well here compared to other places in Australia.

      • by Cimexus (1355033)

        Yeah replying to myself.

        Just wanted to clarify that the 'linux' on these machines I'm talking about is some awful custom distro that noone in their right mind would keep. But the point is - they are in stores and you can just take them home, reformat, and install distro of your choice.

      • by xquark (649804)

        I'm guessing you live in Coonabarabran

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DarkofPeace (1672314)
      I agree with the low spec comment. When I was looking for a netbook, the only way to get the extra ram or larger harddrive was to buy the windows version. Just because I like linux does not mean I want it only on the cheapest hardware.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fyoder (857358)

      That said, anyone who is really interested in Linux would not be satisfied with the simplified versions that come with netbooks.

      That's true of the Aspire One anyway. The graphical environment that came with mine was a joke compared to even xfce. Prior to that I figured claims about people exchanging Linux netbooks on mass for XP were exaggerated, but on seeing it I had to wonder. If my only choice was that or XP, even I'd want XP, and I'm a registered fanatical Micro$oft basher. Fortunately it wasn't difficult to put xubuntu on it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mjwx (966435)

      I just got back from Singapore, where I was hoping to pick up a cheap Linux netbook to use over there at a conference. Not only were prices similar to Australia for computer stuff, but virtually all the netbooks ran Windows. There were only a couple of places that I came across that offered Linux, and they were not cheap. They also seemed to be older models. I was disappointed.

      Singapore is the most western city in Asia, what else can you expect.

      Kuala Lumpur on the other hand, I found plenty of Linux la

    • by hweimer (709734) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @03:03AM (#30362750) Homepage

      That said, anyone who is really interested in Linux would not be satisfied with the simplified versions that come with netbooks. If you are going to wipe the OS to install your own distro, then it doesn't make a great deal of difference what the original operating system is.

      Not quite true. If it comes with some variant of Linux preinstalled then you know that all hardware components will work right out of the box, even if you install a different distro. No hassle with obscure drivers or poorly supported devices like the much-dreaded winmodems.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by pjt33 (739471)

        If it comes with some variant of Linux preinstalled then you know that all hardware components will work right out of the box, even if you install a different distro.

        If you "know" that then you're wrong. I'm still kicking myself for not getting as much detail as possible on what drivers were running on my AspireOne before I installed Deb stable on it. The basics all work fine but there are driver issues with wireless and the webcam, and I think something's up with USB in general.

  • I bought an EEE pc 1005HAB and just put linux on it.

    It was a better deal than dell who wanted to charge me more and were charging the same price as a machine that came with XP.

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      I ended up installing UNR (ubuntu netbook remix) 9.10 on my hp mini 110; I needed it in a hurry for my trip so I had to buy it retail with XP. But apparently netbooks don't come with restore CDs so I've been hunting the torrent sites for a copy of Windows XP Home ULC (i.e. netbook edition) because HP wants $15 "shipping and handling" for the disc that should have come with the device in the first place =/

      UNR 9.10 takes some getting used to, and I sorely miss the "switch to traditional desktop mode"

  • by baileydau (1037622) on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:26PM (#30361208)

    Here in Australia you are quite hard pressed to purchase a netbook with Linux pre-installed.

    I got my original eeePC 701 with Linux, but my newer S101 *had* to come with Windows. At the time the only machine I could find with Linux was a single Acer Aspire One unit. However my wife had her heart set on the S101 ...

    It now has openSUSE (currently 11.2) installed and everything Just Worked (TM), but that wouldn't be included in anyone's statistics (except mine).

    Speaking of statistics, I RTFM, and I couldn't actually see where / how they came up with this statistic. Did I miss something??

  • by pecosdave (536896) * on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:28PM (#30361222) Homepage Journal

    I've tried and I've tried to find an Athlon Neo system WITHOUT Windows and I flat can't do it. Sure, a lot of the Intel ones have Linux, but even most of those have Windows on them. Seriously, if I can't find an Athlon Neo system without Windows it's not telling me people want to buy the Linux versions, it's telling me they "settle" for Linux, and I don't like that.

  • by putaro (235078) on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:32PM (#30361250) Journal

    All the ones I see in the shops are running Windows. I've even tried asking and got a blank look. Rinikusu? Nan desu ka (what's that)?

  • I'd love for this to be true - but frankly, I think this casts more doubt on the veracity of Mr. Orr. This really is a ridiculous number.

  • 32% of netbook buyers have at least seen the name Linux, and probably are even being exposed to the fact that it's an alternative to Windows. That's far more than the desktop market.

  • by RichardDeVries (961583) on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:36PM (#30361296) Journal
    I'm a Linux user myself, but I just installed XP on a common desktop box tonight and it was painful. Wifi, sound didn't work out of the box, you have to wait ages for all of the updates and SP's to download and install, reboot far too many times and then you have a empty OS almost without useful apps. Some things were hard to get working (Radeon driver installer throwing errors, Wifi driver refusing to work).
    I wonder how many 'average' users would get XP, Vista or 7 working on a desktop, let alone a netbook.
    • by whoever57 (658626) on Monday December 07, 2009 @11:39PM (#30361738) Journal

      I'm a Linux user myself, but I just installed XP on a common desktop box tonight and it was painful.

      I totally agree with this. I have done a number of installations on hardware that pre-dated XP-SP3 using an XP disk with SP3 streamed in. Lots of hardware is not supported. I have even come across a laptop where the standard sound driver from the chipset manufacturer will work -- as long as you don't want to use the built-in speakers. The last install I did left me with a system with no working NICs. I ended up booting into Linux so that I could download the Windows network drivers onto the system.

      After installing XP, you then have to install some applications, update it multiple times to get all the updates. Most Linux installs are way easier.

    • by hitmark (640295)

      nah, unless they build their own computers, they dont.

      they just select what windows they want at first boot, and then make use of the hidden rescue partition image whenever there is a virus or similar that cant be pried out by the typical norton package that came bundled.

    • I wonder how many 'average' users would get XP, Vista or 7 working on a desktop, let alone a netbook.

      None. But it doesn't matter, because it comes preinstalled anyways.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I'm a Linux user myself, but I just installed XP on a common desktop box tonight and it was painful. Wifi, sound didn't work out of the box, you have to wait ages for all of the updates and SP's to download and install, reboot far too many times and then you have a empty OS almost without useful apps. Some things were hard to get working (Radeon driver installer throwing errors, Wifi driver refusing to work).
      I wonder how many 'average' users would get XP, Vista or 7 working on a desktop, let alone a netbook.

      XP is dated now, and its built-in "let me search the Internets" driver thingy doesn't really work (in all my time using XP - which is since it still said it's "Whistler" - I haven't seen it find anything even once). Hence the installation hell you describe.

      Starting with Vista, this changed a lot. First, a lot of drivers was baked into the base OS (XP was distributed on CD, Vista on DVD - a lot more free space on the latter for the drivers). This means that, most likely, wireless will work out of the box.

      Onc

      • Thanks for the insight. I'll not be installing Win7, unless for friends, but I'm glad MS's got this ironed out.
    • Indeed, installing XP is a pain, especially the tens of reboots. It goes better if you have drivers, either on manufacturer's CD or pre-downloaded or on a different HD partition. I always keep an "install" dir with loads of drivers/utils on my data partition. Tip: you don't HAVE to reboot after each and every driver + app install, you usually can just reboot once after having installed everything.

      I've been more successful at it than at installing Linux, though.

      I've given up yet again on my yearly "I'll try

  • by bombastinator (812664) on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:42PM (#30361342)
    Funny that their favorite computer is the Dell Mini 9. It's not a very advanced machine, to the point that it een got discontinued once.
    They brought it back though because it is very popular for the single reason that it has a reputation as being the most hackintoshable netbook there is. This implies that a lot of these netbooks are running more MacOS than linux.
  • Dell Mini 9 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dancingmad (128588) on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:45PM (#30361364)

    How many of those Mini 9s ended up getting OS X installed on them? That was the only reason I was planning on getting a 9 and since the Windows version costs more, the Linux version is a no-brainer.

    Being sold on the machine and being kept on the machine are two different things.

  • My experiences (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GF678 (1453005) on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:47PM (#30361384)

    Some people say "Yay! Linux on netbooks means more mainstream acceptance!" From what I've seen however, this isn't the case. Linux netbooks, from what I've encountered, are

    * Generally more expensive than their Windows counterparts (with identical specs)
    * Running some dodgy Linux distro that does nothing to help sell the benefits of running Linux and only provides headaches
    * Often simply not available

    With this being the current situation, I don't see there being anything to be proud of. Yes, it's better than several years ago when Linux wasn't available anywhere mainstream. That doesn't mean things are going well either.

  • by srothroc (733160) on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:54PM (#30361440) Homepage
    From the article: "Nearly one-third of the 35 million netbooks on track to ship this year will come with some variant of the free, open-source operating system"

    That's pretty vague. Are they including those pre-boot/fast-boot linux distros that seem to be all the rage? I'd hardly count that as a "linux netbook" since the primary OS is still Windows.
    • by Gudeldar (705128) on Monday December 07, 2009 @11:21PM (#30361628)
      I realize I'm posing on Slashdot but I thought we at least read TFS here.

      In an interview with DesktopLinux.com, Orr made clear that the 32% Linux netbook market share did not include either user-installed Linux or dual-boot systems, but was confined to just pre-installed Linux shipments

      Just to clarify in case that isn't clear it DOES NOT include pre/fast boot installs (which would be dual boot systems).

  • One would assume that 32% of Dell's sales does not equal 32% of the Market or is that an inconvenient truth for the story
  • Chrome is going to run on top of Linux...makes me wonder what Malware looks like in the cloud *snicker*
  • The numbers don't add up.

    About 35 million netbooks [xbitlabs.com] are on track to be shipped in 2009.

    That's about 20% of all shipments.

    If linux is a third of netbook volume, overall linux market share (through netbook sales alone) is about 6%.
    Add 2% for Linux on regular desktops and notebooks.

    Linux share @ 8% of all new PCs shipped calls for celebration. But I doubt it.

    • Of shipped PCs, but the existing installed base of computers is likely well over a billion. Even if 100% of PCs (175 million by your estimation) shipped in 2009 had Linux preinstalled, overall Linux market share would probably still be perhaps 10-15% at most.

  • Because I think the big flaw with the methodology behind the 30+% figure for Linux netbooks is that it ignores the fact that Microsoft Wish Granting Pony .NET 2008 is an inustry gold standard application for measuring market penetration.
  • is that full screen flash + GMA950 + intel linux driver + crappy adobe linux flash = FAIL

    aside from that, Ubuntu Netbook Remix is mighty impressive,

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