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Ubuntu a minor player? Not outside the States

(Christopher Dawson, Zdnet) There are a lot of people outside the United States doing a lot of incredibly innovative things in education and many of them are doing it cheaply with Linux.

So-called “emerging markets” (which, at this rate, won’t be emerging for long, and will quickly become “overtaking markets”) are rolling out a variety of operating systems and engaging in really progressive learning models. Worldwide, there are 13 million active Ubuntu users with use growing faster than any other distribution. Check out these trends from Google gauging online interest (with breakdowns by region).

In many places, people (far more than the 300 million in the US) are buying their first computers with no preconceptions about what an OS should be. As these markets explode, one has to wonder if our perception that the US is the only market that matters to operating system vendors will change. Microsoft gets it; they are putting incredible amounts of pressure on governments in Brazil to compete with Metasys and are largely proving unsuccessful (this is only one example, of course; Microsoft is working very aggressively in countless other markets).

In China, Ubuntu is gaining traction quickly since, due to rampant piracy, Windows is essentially free in that country. New users are choosing operating systems based on merit rather than price, since price is largely irrelevant in that market.

So perhaps Ubuntu, and Linux in general will struggle to gain market share on the desktop in the States for now, particularly since Windows 7 looks to be a decent operating system. We need to remember, though, that the US is not the only PC market in the world. In fact, it’s a shrinking, saturated market. When many of the international partners with whom we work in this global economy find Windows and Linux to be equally legitimate (or even favor Linux because of its openness and low cost or free software).

 
 
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