Apple Mac OS X: the most popular Desktop Unix?

Apple does it again: explosive growth in the computer market, no doubt in part to its Macbook/Macbook Pro line of laptops. As Ars Technica points out:

As predicted last quarter, however, Apple broke its tie for third place with Gateway by shipping 1.33 million units and growing by a whopping 37.2 percent (double that of any other US vendor) from third quarter 2006 to claim 8.1 percent of the US market for the quarter. These numbers also continue the company’s trend of steadily gaining market share every two quarters for at least the past year.

Here’s the graph of the figures:

Is it the most popular desktop UNIX? No, as until Leopard comes out it is not officially a UNIX stamped and sealed POSIX compliant system; but then again neither is Linux. Apple has the benefit of reporting numbers with hard sales; something thats impossible for Linux. With estimates of 22 million Mac users, compared to Ubuntu and Fedora (the two most popular user-friendly distributions) which reported 8 million dynamic IP’s updating from mirrors (16 million total). That doesn’t include SuSe, Red Hat, Slackware, Debian, Mandriva and other popular distributions, which means Linux has most likely a bigger install base, although Apple is gaining ground fast. As Rob Malda (founder of popular geek news site: Slashdot) said:

Linux will have a strong position on the server for a long time, but as GNOME and KDE bickered with each other, Apple came along and gave the world a great desktop UNIX. It’s sad, but true, and there’s a huge lesson to learn there.