Ok so Windows is still the number 1. 95% of computers shipped from manufacturers have windows on it. Apple Mac is number 2 with a massive marketing budget and a massive fan base for the way that Apple does things. Linux comes somewhere way way underneath that at the moment. In my opinion there are several reasons for that?

Linux has always been synonymous with geeks. Although the modern Linux distro has a great user friendly gui that almost anyone can pick up.
People don't know about Linux. It is not commonly shipped on pc's except for odd occasion on ebuyer and the odd netbook. Why would anyone who doesn't really know what Linux is choose it.
Linux is open source and so therefore doesn't have the massive budgets that Windows and Apple have. Have you ever seen a Linux advert on TV?

According to Wikipedia Windows has an 87.1% share of the market, Apple around 11% and only 1-2% of people opt for Linux which is absolutely marginal by comparison.

Will Linux ever be a mass market product?

Will Linux ever gain more than the 1-2% share of the market? I personally think yes for the following reasons;

People are hearing and understanding about the open source GNU Linux network due to Android phones. Phone manufactors see the benefit in have free quality software on the phones especially as there is no pre conceived idea of what phone software should look like.
Kids coming up through school at the moment are all becoming more computer literate. Every child from primary school age now has regular access to a computer and is being taught how to use it. A stark contrast from 10 years ago.
In recent years the functionality and usabilty of Linux distros such as Ubuntu and OpenSUSE has come on massively. Even non experienced windows users can now easily get around the latest Linux distros.

But linux is already mass market

In the server world Linux is already the number one choice for most providers for a multitude of reasons already discussed in Windows VS Linux. So why does it succeed in the server market but not the home pc market? Simple reason for this is because large companies who host servers are aware of the awesome power of Linux and that for a free product does absolutely everything that Windows does and most things better. You can run on a simple command line and for instance to configure a web server it is all installed out of the box very simply.

Conclusions

I think it will take time for Linux to break the desktop pc/laptop market, potentially 10-15 years but I do think it will happen. I think in 2012 and the coming years people are tightening there purse strings and a Linux PC might be the new cheaper alternative to keep the manufacturer costs down when shipping out new computers. Also I think that with the open source nature of Linux that Linux users will always get what Linux users want. This is not always the case for Windows users who pretty much get what they are given.

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John Doe                   gnulinux.ro
John Doe
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