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SuSE Businesses Software Linux

openSUSE Survey Results Online 173

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the liars-damn-liars-and-statisticians dept.
apokryphos writes "openSUSE have announced that the results from the openSUSE survey (PDF) are now online. The survey was live for almost 3 months and more than 27,000 users participated, making it one of the largest Linux distribution surveys ever."
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openSUSE Survey Results Online

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  • by queenb**ch (446380) on Saturday May 05, 2007 @12:54AM (#18999157) Homepage Journal
    The survey data isn't really telling us anything we don't know already about linux users. Linux users are technophiles who still cannot accomplish everything without having to resort to a command line. This means that linux ain't ready for the Windoze using masses. Almost all of you are men, which makes me feel left out again. Many of the applications that linux is deployed in, even in the home, are still not the primary workstation type-uses - router, firewall, web server, print server. You download your disks and you still aren't using it at work all that much.

    There may be more respondents, but the data is still the same.

    2 cents,

    Queen B.
  • Re:KDE vs Gnome (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Saturday May 05, 2007 @12:57AM (#18999181) Journal
    Considering that GNOME is the default on suse, it is amazing. It looks like the more that the distros push GNOME, they more that they shoot themselves in the foot. Hopefully, this survey will stop that crap, but I am guessing that Novell will disregard this part.
  • by gnu-sucks (561404) on Saturday May 05, 2007 @12:59AM (#18999187) Journal
    What really surprised me (besides the large number of female users... haha) is that 36% of the users survayed DO NOT use "non-graphical tools (e.g. YaST text mode, console) when installing or administering your Linux operating system"

    Either desktop linux tools have changed a lot in the past few years, or these people aren't digging that far into their systems.
  • by thrawn_aj (1073100) on Saturday May 05, 2007 @02:04AM (#18999507)

    these people aren't digging that far into their systems.
    Hmm, perhaps they are, oh I don't know, busy folks who have barely enough time to USE their machines towards the purpose for which they bought it :P?

    [sarcasm]

    You know what? I'm a physicist, and I am seriously offended at people who show no curiosity whatsoever about the quantum mechanical theory of the semiconductor (which after all, is the basis of the whole shebang) when they use their computers every day.

    [/sarcasm] Oh wait, that's rather stupid isn't it?

    I have just as much contempt for this flavor of arrogance as I do for the macho idiots who sneer at you if you get an oil change at a shop rather than do it yourself :P.

    [offtopic rant]

    I have used the Linux commandline in numerous stages of my life (as also DOS and even VMS) and I wasn't impressed. Memorizing arcane commands to do simple things (vi as a text editor is an extreme example of its absurdity) is on par with memorizing Clebsch-Gordon coefficients :P. Above all, why it's become fashionable to run these tasks in your own personal RAM (*points to brain*) when the mindless computing machine in front of you can handle them quite easily is a mystery to me. It's all so...twentieth century... that I'm amazed that people actually consider that "advanced". I would rather have the workstation do the things it's supposed to do behind the scenes and spare me the irrelevant details so I can actually focus on the task at hand.

    [/offtopic rant]

  • Re:KDE vs Gnome (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 05, 2007 @02:37AM (#18999617)
    There is, as far as I can tell, only one place in the world where GNOME is more popular than KDE, and that is, surprise surprise, on the Ubuntu Forums [ubuntuforums.org]. Everywhere else, KDE appears to lead my a margin of roughly 2:1. In particular, it is a consistent winner of the LinuxQuestions Members Choice awards [linuxquestions.org]. It's also very popular on the desktops of European government [europa.eu], being used on 10.2% of desktops, compared to GNOME's 5.5% (see page 29).

    It always saddens me to see the Big Distros rallying around GNOME and pouring funds into it as I've always viewed Open Source as a meritocracy, whereas the decision to back GNOME development is quite clearly not based on its merits (or at least, not its technical ones), nor even, clearly, on what the end users want. It also strikes me as a terrible waste of resources: GNOME's shaky technical base and general bureaucratic attitude means that even though money is thrown at it, nothing ever seems to get done, with GNOME's busiest days barely matching [cia.vc] KDE's laziest, while the KDE team are completely shaking up the code and architecture of their massive [blogspot.com] code-base on a shoestring. A real shame, but - c'est la vie, I guess!
  • Re:KDE vs Gnome (Score:3, Interesting)

    by phrasebook (740834) on Saturday May 05, 2007 @02:53AM (#18999673)
    But then, after playing with a 1001 configuration preferences in KDE I wanted to revert back some settings, it took me a very long time to find them.

    Name them. Go on, I dare you.

    Refer to one of my earlier posts [slashdot.org] if you need some help.
  • Re:KDE vs Gnome (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 05, 2007 @05:59AM (#19000323)
    First of all, thanks for the level-headed and fair post: reading my own, I think now that it was rather flame-baity, and I'm glad you responded civilly :)

    You talk about the open source value of meritocracy. I agree that it is an important value. But it is a value for "consumers" to consider, not Novell (the parent company of SuSE and Ximian.) If people were supposed to only support the development of the better software, then there would only be one choice out there. So I don't think it undermines the value of having a meritocracy to have companies fund alternative environments.
    But this is just it: I'm not complaining about the fact that it is funded, per se (frankly, any funding for Free software is welcome in my book, and GNOME technologies quite often benefit KDE, too: see e.g. d-bus and NetworkManager), but about the fact that practically everywhere I have seen, the market has spoken and it has chosen KDE, yet a truly disproportionate amount of funding is directed at the second choice. Does this not strike you as the least bit ... well ... odd?

    Just as an aside, you say that the "Big Distros" rally behind GNOME. That's just false. Until relatively recently, Red Hat was the only Big Distro to come with GNOME as default. They have to consider their interests in doing such: they have been using GNOME for a long time and probably care more about familiarity and consistency than about which environment is better.
    Hmmmm ... I don't know, Red Hat and Novell are the Big Hitters on the business desktop, and Ubuntu is the undisputed giant of the home desktop, and all are GNOME. I think this particular point still stands, to be honest.

    You also mention the Ubuntu forums. Ubuntu uses GNOME as a default and is the most popular linux distribution out there. Couldn't that be evidence that people like GNOME?
    I'm not disputing for a second that people like GNOME; the results show a very solid core of support for it, and as one of the few KDE fans on the Ubuntu Forums, I see heartfelt testimonies to it every day. But to address what I'm going to guess is the question you meant to ask: I don't feel that GNOME need be the primary reason for Ubuntu's success. In order of importance, I'd go for:

    1) Community!

    The Ubuntu Forums number over 200k people, and have a strict anti-RTFM/ trolling code of conduct. They are an immensely helpful resource, and have massive amounts of HOWTO's and documentation.

    2) Nicely printed, professional-looking CDs shipped to your door for free!

    This one pretty much speaks for itself, I think.

    3) It "Just Works" mantra.

    The "If it doesn't Just Work, it is a bug" mantra is very enticing.

    4) Advertising!

    I don't mean to imply that this as a deliberate cynical attempt on Canonical's part, but Ubuntu has a massive grass-roots advertising campaign. For most people, the word "Ubuntu" is their first exposure to Linux.

    5) Glamour!

    You'd be amazed how impressed people are that it is funded from the personal fortune of a millionaire astronaut.

    Or are the statistics only worthwhile when they support your desktop environment?
    Since the Ubuntu Forums statistics are so thoroughly out of whack with everything else I've seen, I can't help but see them as an anomaly. Maybe this is remiss/ dishonest of me; I honestly don't know :/

    Oh yeah -- and of course KDE is getting more commits, etc, than GNOME. They are between major version numbers; GNOME isn't.
    Well ... I can't see how this doesn't reinforce my point that KDE is more active, especially as GNOME have no plans [gnome.org] to embark on a major release.

  • Re:KDE vs Gnome (Score:1, Interesting)

    by oergiR (992541) on Saturday May 05, 2007 @07:02AM (#19000497)

    I think the difference between KDE and Gnome can be explained sufficiently well by two screenshots, taken from random places on the web.

    Copying a CD with KDE [plainblack.com]

    Copying a CD with Gnome [launchpad.net]

    I don't see much explanatory value in talk about "power users". That I am an expert on speech recognisers does not make me want to manipulate zillions of settings when I'm burning a CD. I have better things to do. KDE is not the desktop of choice for "power users", but for people with too much time on their hands.

    Come to think of it, that's exactly the psychological profile of the average Slashdot reader!

  • by greenbird (859670) on Saturday May 05, 2007 @01:37PM (#19002723)

    I bet he's wired differently. As am I. As are the vast majority of people on this planet. We see computers above all else as tools to do things, not something to be investigated in and of themselves. Sure, plenty of people such as myself might be interested in how they work might even program them, but the primary reason to use a computer is to complete a task of some kind, even if that task is just playing a game and having fun. We don't want to research the tools while using them, we just want to use them.

    So I guess knowledge just magically jumps into your head. Must be nice. I know whether it's a GUI tool or the command line I have to research how to configure and do things on my computers. I find a set of clear concise documented tools much easier to use than a maze of undocumented menus, windows and tabs.

    No regular person wants to read a manual either. How would you feel if your power drill disassembled itself each month and you had to read a manual of randomly arrowed diagrams and Korean instructions, would you still appreciate "researching tools while using them"? Because that's what man pages are to the common computer user: an absolute mess of technical terms and presumed prior knowledge that can only be half understood unless you're willing to take your computer use up from casual user to demi-expert. Most users aren't willing to do that, and there's absolutely no reason they should.

    When's the last time you used your drill for to track your expenses or edit a picture or do your taxes or research refrigerators? You know what? I think a computer just might be a just little more complex than a drill. Kind of makes your comparison a little fallacious.

    No useful reference information in MS Word? I haven't used it in a long time but still I find that very hard to believe. Even if by some chance MS Word doesn't provide that info almost any and every other half-decent GUI app does, and in far more intuitive ways than any CLI app I've seen. For one thing the nature of the options is implictly given by the type of control they use (ie. checkbox, editbox, choice dropdown, etc.), the controls are invariably labelled of course, they'll also typically have a context-sensitive help in the dialog itself (in Windows this would be accessible from the "?" button, in GNOME it's just a mouse-over). If that doesn't give you enough information there's always a help file which gives full documentation.

    Reference information? I thought you were the one who didn't feel that kind of thing should be necessary? It's not a matter of using the control. It's a matter of finding the control for what you're trying to change. It's the difference between digging through layer upon layer of menus, windows and tabs to find the checkbox or typing "man vi".

    You can't see how it's unreasonable and unrealistic for regular users to remember the relevant switches for every option of every app they use? Or that it's silly to think they should be happy to read a man page each time they forget one? You don't see how having the relevant options present and labelled and documented up-front is beneficial?

    Don't you think it's a little unreasonable for people to have to memorize which of million or so menu/window/tab paths (do the math sometime) gets them to the thing they want to access with limited or no documentation rather than simple typing "man whatever" to find the switch they forgot.

    a GUI tool often isn't the quick and easiest method of doing things. At least with Linux I have the option of either way 90% of the time. Oh, and the other 10% are mostly things you can't even do on Windows at all.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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