Mac OS vs. Linux: Who's #2?

So, who holds the number 2 spot in terms of desktop computer market share, Apple, or Linux? It seems the answer depends entirely on who you talk to. HP claims that its new Linux-based laptop will sell like hot cakes, helping Linux to displace the Mac OSis current number 2 position., while IDC, a market research company, says Linux desktops have already push Apple out of the number 2 spot.

Not so fast. Wired Newsi Leander Kahney talked to several analysts in an attempt to come up with a comprehensive answer, and posted his findings in an article titled Mac Keeps Lead on Linux. As you may have gleaned from the title, Wired has found that the Mac platform still retains the number 2 spot, according to many analysts, but could drop to number 3 in 2005. From the article:

"Linux captured the No. 2 spot as desktop operating system in 2003," IDC analyst Dan Kusnetzky told IDG News Service. Kusnetzky predicted Linux will have 6 percent of the desktop market by 2007. Kusnetzky couldnit be reached for comment, and Wade couldnit explain the difference between IDGis and HPis projections.

However, other analysts were skeptical.

"I think those numbers are dubious," said Tim Deal, a financial analyst with Technology Business Research.

Peter Kastner, an analyst with Aberdeen Group, said the Mac has roughly 3 percent of the desktop market, and the Linux share is considerably lower than that.


Market research firm Gartner may have the answer. According to Gartner, forecasts need to distinguish between the OS the machine ships with, and the OS that is installed right after itis unboxed.

There is much more in the full article, including more comments from more analysts, information from Google, comments from HP and Red Hat, and more. The article also says that itis Microsoft, not Apple, who is losing desktops to Linux. You can read the full article at Wired News, and we recommend it as a very interesting read.