Market Share

I consistently find myself looking up statistics for OS market share around this time every year. Every year numbers change. Every website reports different numbers from the last, and the only thing that one can assuredly deduce is that it is impossible to accurately gauge how many systems are running a specific OS. With that said, market share does matter.

For software engineers, time is very limited. It takes much of one’s limited resources to make quality software, and it takes quite a bit of time. This means that choosing target platforms is very important if you plan on being successful with a certain product. It would be folly to write server software for a system that will not succeed in the server market. Likewise, it would be folly to write entertainment software for a system that will never succeed in the entertainment world. Strangely, Linux is only a large force in mainframes and super computers. There Linux is not only a contender, but is instead the only contender. In the server realm, we can reliably say the until rather recently Linux and BSD were the strongest. Microsoft has caught up quickly and can now claim roughly 40% as can Linux, and everyone else makes up the remaining 20%.

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