There is an alternative to Windows, but its not the Macintosh: Freeware sensation Linux grew a whopping 212% in 1998, outpacing Windows NT, NetWare, and all other versions of UNIX by a wide margin. The number of people using Linux--estimated at 7 to 8 million a year ago--tripled in 1998, making Linux the only credible alternative to Windows. Linux is used as a server OS on over 4.4 million systems now, giving it 25% of the server market. Windows NT has 36% of that market while NetWare has about 24%.
"NT shipments are growing quite nicely. Are they growing as fast as in the past? The answer is no," said IDC analyst Dan Kusnetzky, whose company issued these figures. "A lack of scalability has forced Microsoft to push a functional server approach rather than the multifunction server approach offered by Unix suppliers. This forces organizations to buy more copies of Windows NT than they would if they were assigning the mission to some other operating environment."
What's really amazing about these figures is that they do not include the versions of Linux that were downloaded over the Internet--arguably, the most popular way to get the operating system--because there's no way to accurately detect whether it was installed.