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The Win, Fail and Meh of Open Source in 2008

Dec 23, 2008, 22:31 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dj Walker-Morgan)

"Meh - The Disappearing Linux Netbook - When the first EEE PC launched, it ran Linux, giving Linux a 100 per cent share in the netbook market. By the end of 2008 though, reports of Linux's market share in the netbook market put it at anywhere between 30 per cent and 10 per cent. What happened? Microsoft turned up with a cheap XP licence which was trimmed and fitted for the specifications of the new netbooks. This has lead to the netbook market coming into line with the general laptop market. Part of the blame lies with the Linux distributions on netbooks, which are still maturing. By next year, we should see packages of the next Ubuntu Linux release, tuned for particular netbooks, but it is probably much too late for Linux to go back to a dominant share of the market.

"Win - GPL victories - The GPL had a good year, thanks to the Software Freedom Law Center and their well thought out process of engage, negotiate and litigate. A number of successes on behalf of BusyBox has lead the FSF and SFLC to now go after Cisco, a company they consider a major offender. The year also saw the appearance of guides from the SFLC on how companies should deal with GPL software and violations of the GPL, making the legal situation much clearer. GPL V3 and the AGPL also had a good steady year of winning acceptance, and a lot of small wins make a big win."

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