Thursday, August 28, 2008

Is the Linux picture wrong?

People get roasted in religious wars, and I try to avoid them. I think the existence of linux is really important for the IT industry, and I personally use Linux servers for a couple of sites. However, sometimes the rhetoric overtakes reality. For many ordinary users, Microsoft Windows and the products that run on it are just what they are looking for. It's now emerging that Brazil may sell lots of Linux desktops (the Government is concerned about an economy dependent on windows), but over 90% those machines end up running Windows within a very short time.

Brazil: An emerging market faces challenges - CNET
A big part of this has been a government-backed "PC for all" program that subsidizes the interest rate for some models, though only those with Linux qualify.

"They do not accept Microsoft," Clarke said.

That said, some estimates show as many as 18 or 19 out of every 20 machines sold with Linux ultimately are converted to some form of Windows.

"There was a retailer in one of the countries that sold their systems with Linux," said Gartner analyst Luis Anavitarte. "They made a survey of clients within the first 30 days; 95 percent were already on Windows."

You will find global PC makers such as Hewlett-Packard and Dell, though the country also has some homegrown brands, most notably Positivo. Among the less well-known brands is Itautec, actually an offshoot of a leading Brazilian bank. According to Wikipedia, it was Itautec that was the first PC maker in Brazil to sell Windows 3.1 preinstalled and localized in Portuguese

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