GNU/Linux Just Became Topper


One of my favourite sites for anyone benighted enough to believe that Windows is in any sense superior technology to free software is Top500. As its name hints, this is simply the top 500 supercomputers in the world, with an analysis by location, vendors, processor architecture – and, of course, operating systems.

Windows is pretty dominant on the desktop, holding probably 90% market share there. As we know too well, that means that it has a total stranglehold on that sector that is probably going to be very hard to break. Now consider the latest stats for the supercomputing sector. Here's the breakdown by operating system families:

Linux 89.20%

Windows 1.00 %

Unix 5.00 %

BSD Based 0.20 %

Mixed 4.60 %

Yes, as this shows, GNU/Linux is just as dominant in the supercomputing world as Windows is on PCs. However, unlike Windows on the desktop, which is slowly losing market share (not much, but a little), GNU/Linux is actually *gaining*: six months ago it had 88.60%. Windows, by contrast, remains stuck at a rather pathetic 1% - that's just five machines in the top 500.

That's pretty incredible, not least because Microsoft is throwing considerable resources at this market with its Windows HPC Server product. “Resources” in this case include the usual “here, take this software for nothing – oh, by the way, you need Windows Server HPC to run it....” Not that Microsoft is desperate, you understand.

So, next time someone tells you that GNU/Linux isn't able to run enterprise-level tasks, or lacks innovation, or will never become a market leader, just point them in the direction of that Top500 list...

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