Who's afraid of embedded Linux? Microsoft

Microsoft is running scared of embedded Linux. It should be. It's fighting a losing battle.

Microsoft has 32 percent of the embedded software market, but apparently fears Linux's 8 percent (and rising) share.

...[L]ast October, VDC released the results of a survey in which embedded developers overwhelmingly said that they planned to use either free or licensed versions of Linux on their next projects instead of proprietary operating systems. "Linux remains an attractive operating system choice for a range of embedded development teams for a number of reasons, including: royalty-free runtime costs, advanced networking capabilities and technical features, [and] the large base of engineers familiar with the Linux operating system," the research firm said.

In response, Microsoft is reshaping and expanding its line of embedded Windows products.

Good luck. The embedded market is perfectly suited to open source, and not to a license-driven model like Microsoft's. Here's why.

I used to work for embedded-Linux vendor, Lineo. The embedded market is characterized by savvy developers who want to view and modify source code; low price points that approach (and reach) $0.00 per unit (royalties are frowned upon until they vanish); and the need for design flexibility. Open-source Linux has this in spades. Windows? Not so much.

Where Microsoft does lead is in software development tools, which is useful for Asia-based OEMs that are strong in hardware expertise but tend to be weaker in software expertise.

Even so, Microsoft is fighting a losing battle here. It's like gravity. Eventually you just stop fighting and learn to accept it. Even Microsoft.

Tags:
Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

    Join the discussion

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Don't Miss
    Hot Products
    Trending on CNET

    HOT ON CNET

    Want affordable gadgets for your student?

    Everyday finds that will make students' lives easier: chargers, cables, headphones, and even a bona fide gadget or two!