Here's an eye-popping stat from Canonical's VP of sales and business development Chris Kenyon, speaking at the Ubuntu 12.10 Developer Summit: the free operating system Ubuntu (a flavor of GNU/Linux) will soon ship on 5% of all new PCs.
Side Note #2: Kenyon didn't comment on what percentage of these Ubuntu-loaded PC sales still have users where they run Ubuntu, or namely the actual Ubuntu user count globally. The OEM/ODM count also obviously doesn't count those that install Ubuntu manually or obtain Ubuntu installations via other means. On the down side, when I talk with OEMs and others about Linux pre-loads, I commonly here a "significant percentage" of these Linux pre-loaded systems usually get wiped by their customers and replaced with pirated copies of Windows — especially in the Asian markets, where customers are just going after the Linux PCs due to the lower sales cost.
– At more than 200 Dell stores in China, there is Ubuntu branding present and Dell China employees knowledgeable about Ubuntu Linux.
I upgraded to Ubuntu 12.04 last week, and have been very impressed. The new user interface, Unity, is quickly transforming from a rather piecework and clunky thing into something reliable, fast and elegant.