Thursday, September 11, 2008

Win some, loose some

Two interesting stories from the Linux camp; Lenovo is removing Linux (specifically Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop, or SLED) as a pre-installed OS option for some of its notebooks, and an article on the Linux Devices site shows that Linux on smartphones dropped over 15 percent.

The Distribution That Dares Not Speak Its Name

Lenovo's dropping SLED as an offering on selected notebooks is going to be something of a difficult issue for a lot of people. On the one hand you've got the slavering blood-thirsty hordes led by Boycott Novell screaming for Novell's economic blood over Novell's agreement with Microsoft. That group will see this action by Lenovo as some sort of Divine Vengeance against the Great Novellian Apostasy. And then you've got the other end of the spectrum who stamp their little feet in frustration and shrilly complain, like SJVN, that Lenovo isn't providing enough choice, and they Just Won't Buy Their Product Any More. So there.

Of course the biggest question is why. Especially given the special relationship between Microsoft and Novell, you'd have thought that Novell (and SLED) would have been pretty immune to any Microsoft chicanery. But then again, the complete story is that Lenovo has limited selling SLED on notebooks to the business community. After all the 'E' in SLED is Enterprise, so it makes sense to sell these machines to organizations capable of supporting them to the a level that doesn't require constant hand-holding that the typical non-business end-user requires.

Can You Hear Me Now?

The story about the drop in smartphone share is more troubling. In spite of what the Linux fanbase likes to say, the real future for Linux is in the embedded market. One key high-visibility market is the smartphone. As the article points out Linux was the only environment that suffered a loss in the second quarter year-over-year. Every other environment listed showed a gain, especially Mac OS X (i.e. the iPhone) with an incredible 230.6 percent increase. Yes, Mac OS X went from a dominating 1.0 percent market share in Q2 2007 to an even more dominating 2.8 percent for Q2 2008. Be still my beating heart.

Update 9/14

From Tom's Hardware:
It seems Lenovo has decided to stop selling Linux loaded machines online and instead will only sell PCs and notebooks pre-loaded with Linux through its channel organizations...
The same spokesperson also said that the reason the company was ditching Linux for orders made via the web was because the demand for Linux-based machines from online orders was not meeting expectations.

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