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Linux growth: The Asus connection

By   |  November 7, 2008

Asustek is not a name most people know. The Taiwan-based hardware maker traditionally operates in the PC-board sector. But a few years ago the company began to make its own notebook PCs. Branded Asus, the initial slew of notebooks escaped most people’s attention, except geeks who already knew of Asustek’s good reputation in the PC-board market.

It wasn’t until the company released the first EEE PC, a diminutive portable notebook that kick-started the netbook market, that most people really paid attention. The first things that impressed about the EEE PC was the size – a tiny 7-inch screen and just usable mini keyboard – and the low cost. The other, that geeks picked up on, was the fact that the first EEE PCs shipped with Linux as the operating system rather than a version of Windows. And it is this that potentially makes Asustek so important to the Linux world.

EEE PCs are no longer only sold with Linux. In fact, most of them ship with Windows XP, but the numbers of Linux-based PCs are potentially enough to alter the market. Take a look at the numbers.

This year Asustek expects to sell around six million notebook PCs. The most interesting part though, as reported by ComputerWorld, is that Asustek expects that 3 out of every 10 of those will run Linux.

While 3 out of 10 doesn’t sound like a lot in most circles, 30% is a great deal higher than most other metrics that pin Linux adoption at around 1% globally. Apple, by many good metrics, accounts for just 8% of the desktop operating system market.

Which means that typically around 90% of the desktop OS market is owned by Microsoft.

So the fact that Asus expects to ship close to two million PCs with Linux in the coming year is big news for the Linux world. And with another two million users getting some hands-on experience with Linux the potential for future growth is significantly improved.


14 Responses to “Linux growth: The Asus connection”

  1. Dario
    November 7th, 2008 @ 5:43 pm

    Could you please state if what Apple accounts for 8% of the desktop market is *in the US*? Because I’ve been living in Spain and South America and I think I didn’t see more than 20 people with Macs in my whole life. They don’t even have selling points in most places. How could possibly almost 1 out of 10 computers be Apple then? It doesn’t make any sense.

  2. Alastair
    November 7th, 2008 @ 6:01 pm

    That would be 8% of the global market. There are a few sources for this. One would be this from Net Applications.

  3. john
    November 7th, 2008 @ 6:19 pm

    Month by month ASUS is dropping Linux in favor of XP and next year Windows 7. Microsoft has made ASUS an offer they cannot refuse. Windows on netbooks will grow and Linux will shrink.

    Thanks ASUS :-(

  4. Vwbond
    November 7th, 2008 @ 7:07 pm

    Good article. Window Vista memory hog issues and be ended by using a Linux distro.
    I just spent and hour working on removing a virus virus from from a 03 server.

  5. aronzak
    November 8th, 2008 @ 2:13 am

    Interestingly, they are also taking up splashtop like crazy on heaps of their notebooks.

  6. L4Linux
    November 8th, 2008 @ 10:05 am

    W3counter says that Linux market share is 2,1% from 2% last month. The graoth rate is phenomenal. 2 of my colleagues installed Ubuntu this month as dual boot and 2 others bought Acer Aspire one with Linux. 1% is a thing of the past…

  7. LAS
    November 8th, 2008 @ 10:43 am

    Aside from Splashtop, Linux will continue to get good netbook oportunities with different vendors. I believe that the initial versions of Linux were crippled and not very appealing. Once they get Ubuntu mobile and others going on netbooks things will start to change. Windows 7 will be the same DRMd, insecure system Vista is. Windows netbooks will always need anti-virus software and will have the same tendancy to kludge up and slow down. Linux has no such problems and consumers will start to notice especially when they see how good the interfaces are.

  8. Roy Schestowitz
    November 8th, 2008 @ 2:02 pm


    You’re echoing some FUD there. Net Applications is rubbish.

    “As I recently reported, there is an order of magnitude difference between the market share of Linux “out there” in the world, and the market share of LInux on and on this very blog. Subsequently, I was trolled by my very own brother “… so, when is Luniux going to reach 1% market share?….” and this item has come out on ZDNet (which we all know is essentially funded by Microsoft, right?): Linux – Still chasing that elusive 1% market share.


    So I went and looked. Here is the description of the database used by the Market Share service that everyone seems to rely on:

    We collect data from the browsers of site visitors to our exclusive on-demand network of live stats customers. The data is compiled from approximately 160 million visitors per month. The information published is an aggregate of the data from this network of hosted website statistics. The site unique visitor and referral information is summarized on a monthly basis.


    Is this supposed to be some kind of unbiased sample? But wait, there’s more…


    The complexity of this problem is actually rather large. But I can tell you one thing: If you were my graduate student and you came to me with this sampling strategy, I’d send you back to kindergarten. (If I had that power.) ”

    Here is something to keep in mind:

    “Windows-powered personal computers account for more than 90% of unit sales,. Linux 4%, Gartner says.”

  9. GoblinX Project » Newsletter Issue 173, News & Note
    November 9th, 2008 @ 11:43 am

    […] Linux growth: The Asus connection […]

  10. Boycott Novell » Links 09/11/2008: Another Country Abandons Microsoft, Linux de Facto E-Book Platform
    November 9th, 2008 @ 12:23 pm

    […] Linux growth: The Asus connection […]

  11. Me Again
    November 13th, 2008 @ 2:04 pm

    I own an Eee PC and I’m very happy with it (it runs Ubuntu-EEE). I also have an Asus F5 laptop (Core 2 Duo, 2 GB of RAM etc). I have Ubuntu 8.10 on it, but I cannot get the wireless to work. Bummer…

  12. Herman
    November 14th, 2008 @ 1:20 am

    and not to forget the 40 Million cell phones running Linux sold each year. Nevermind the 300 Million embedded devices produced each year.

  13. For 'Me Again'
    November 17th, 2008 @ 12:56 pm
  14. David T
    November 17th, 2008 @ 9:19 pm

    @Me Again:
    as highlited in the great documentation here :

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-intrepid-generic

    EeePC 900s and 701s require “blacklist ath_pci” added to “/etc/modprobe.d/blacklist” to enable wireless.

    sudo -s
    echo blacklist ath_pci >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist

    then reboot and your wireless will work

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