The press (present company included) loves a fight. Or better yet, a war. That's why we're eager to cast two successful competitors—whether or not they're succeeding at each other's expense—as warriors fighting over market share.
The best copy, of course, are David vs. Goliath stories. IBM was Goliath for decades. Davids came and went. There were the BUNCH (there's a memory test) then there was Digital, then Apple. Steve Jobs loved the role of David. After Microsoft took over the Goliath part, the Steve-less Apple made a pathetic David. Marc Andreessen and Netscape put in a much better performance. Now Marc has been replaced by Linus Torvalds.
But Linus isn't following the script. In the server business, Linux is turning into another Goliath, even though Microsoft isn't going away. As the latest IDC numbers show, both Linux and Microsoft are winning, big time. The losers are NetWare and UNIX. The sad news is that IDC lumps UNIX—Sun, HP and the rest of them—into one shrinking non-Linux group.
Between 1996 and 2003, IDC expects UNIX to lose half its share. NetWare was already declared dead by the press back when it led the pack, in 1996 (I remember, because I was working for those guys back then).
On the client side, the story isn't quite as interesting because there are no Davids, including Linux. It's almost all Windows.
Not that Linux is chopped liver. IDC shows Linux edging ahead of Macintosh on the desktop by 2003, leading by 5.5 to 5.2%. Amazingly, it also shows Windows gaining with almost a 90% share.
Doc Searls (firstname.lastname@example.org) is senior editor of Linux Journal and coauthor of The Cluetrain Manifesto.
Percentage of Linux developers who plan to develop applications for internal corporate use: >50
Percentage of Linux developers who plan to develop e-commerce applications: 40
Percentage of Linux developers writing applications for mobile devices: 20
Percentage of the above over the same number from six months earlier: 50
Billions of dollars (US) that will be lost by record labels and book publishers by 2005 from “increased piracy and as artists and authors break away from publishers to go independent”: 1.5 to 3.1
Billions of dollars (US) that will be gained by musicians in the same shift: 1
Billions of dollars (US) that will be gained by authors in the same shift: 1.3
Billions of dollars (US) that will be gained by third-party service companies: 2.8
Billions of dollars (US) in projected on-line sales for the 2000 holiday season: 19.5
Billions of dollars (US) in sales for the1999 holiday season: 10.5
Percentage chance that a potential customer searching an e-tailer's site will make a purchase: 2.7
Percentage of commerce-driven on-line searches that “produced results that failed basic tests such as finding all relevant information or ordering procedures”: 92
Percentage of advertising that goes unwatched by TV viewers using TiVo and RePlay boxes, which both allow viewers to skip over commercials: 88
Size in billions of dollars (US) of the venture fund formed by Bertelsmann for investment in “an evolving media marketplace”: 1
Number of new domains registered every second, as of January 2000: 1
1-4: Evans Research (see http://www.evansdata.com/implement.html/ for the complete data table)
5-8: Forrester Research
9-12: Gartner Group
13: New York Times
15: Internet Software Consortium (http://www.isc.org/) and Doc Searls' page at home.earthlink.net/~searls/dec00/ljindex_dec00.html
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