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Linux Foundation's Desktop Linux Survey Results 172

DeviceGuru writes "While the Linux Foundation's third annual desktop Linux survey doesn't officially end until November 30th, the number of daily respondents have shrunk to a trickle and the Foundation is working on analyzing the results. They now have up an early look at the raw data. For starters, almost 20,000 self-selected users filled out this year's survey compared to fewer than 10,000 in 2006's survey. Not surprisingly, the Ubuntu family of Linuxes is the most popular among organizations, at 54.1 percent. This was followed by the Red Hat family — RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux/Fedora/CentOS) — with 50.2 percent. The Novell SUSE group — SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) and openSUSE — came in third, with 35.2 percent."
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Linux Foundation's Desktop Linux Survey Results

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  • Re:No Debian? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by yog ( 19073 ) * on Thursday November 22, 2007 @04:46PM (#21448417) Homepage Journal
    Ubuntu is based on Debian so you could argue that Ubuntu has gotten Debian out to the masses. My home workstations have progressed from Redhat to Fedora to Suse to Ubuntu and I feel that they are all fine distributions with their particular strengths, but Ubuntu definitely wins on the plug-and-play aspects. I put it on a Dell laptop and except for having to manually download and configure ndiswrapper to handle wireless networking, it practically required no technical knowledge. The most recent release in fact does away with the ndiswrapper step, I believe. It's not surprising that Ubuntu wins. I hope that the other distributors learn from the success of Ubuntu and make their next releases "just work", thus undercutting one of Microsoft's main arguments against Linux.
  • "Family"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bo'Bob'O ( 95398 ) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @04:51PM (#21448457)
    Family? I guess that make sense. Ubuntu of the Debian Order, Linux Class, UNIX Phylum. I guess that would make the Genus the particular type (server/home), and the species it's version number.
  • Re:Ubuntu (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2007 @05:04PM (#21448555)
    if linux is going to get anywhere, idiots must be able to use it, as they are the dominant portion of the populus.
  • Re:%139.5 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grcumb ( 781340 ) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @05:18PM (#21448651) Homepage Journal

    Well, I could have believed %100 Since this survey was filled out by linux users, but %139.5 ?!!!
    Am I the only one who sees a problem with the math here?

    Yes. If you bothered to RTFA:

    "Yes, that does add up to more than 100 percent. It would seem that groups using Linux in the office have not standardized on a particular distribution, or even a distribution family."

    Linux users are - amazingly - capable of using more than one OS at once. I know this is anathema to those who believe that the only alternative to white is black, and for whom anything less than perfect logical symmetry causes cranial asplosion. But hey, we got into weird territory right from the moment we put 'Linux' and 'Desktop' in the same sentence, and left out both 'doesn't belong' and 'the year of'.

  • by mmcuh ( 1088773 ) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @05:19PM (#21448659)

    Unless Linux and other UNIXes are seriously simplified for new computer users, their market share will never really rise. Even us nerds have headaches trying to get simple hardware working, and most people I know had never even heard of Linux or any other UNIX variant (apart from, occasionally, Mac OS X) until I brought up the subject in conversation. There needs to be a serious publicity campaign around this issue.
    Why? Does it matter what other people use?
  • Novell downturn? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brejc8 ( 223089 ) * on Thursday November 22, 2007 @05:29PM (#21448725) Homepage Journal
    I keep reading how this MS/Novell agreement is gaining customers but here I can see that:
    in 2005 Novell/SUSE got 28%
    in 2006 Novell/SUSE got 16%
    in 2007 Novell/SUSE got 11.7%
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2007 @05:50PM (#21448913)
    They are gaining customers but the other distros (especially Ubuntu) are gaining more customers faster.
  • Problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2007 @05:53PM (#21448935)
    If you fill out the survey, it asks you about anti-virus, and specifically porting bigname AVs to linux.

    A few questions I pose:
    1) Why do we want the bloaty, slow, pieces of crap that are windows AVs ported to linux?

    2) Why do we want to port these, encouraging turning a blind eye to security and letting the AV do the work(such as it is on windows)?
    3) Why not just improve support on say, ClamAV?
  • Re:%139.5 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bladesjester ( 774793 ) <slashdot AT jameshollingshead DOT com> on Thursday November 22, 2007 @06:11PM (#21449069) Homepage Journal
    WTF kind of math is that? Shouldn't it really be:

    Ubuntu = 2/4 = 50%
    Red Hat = 2/4 = 50%

    No, it should be just as it was written. It's the percentage of *users* who answered the survey, not the percentage of all answers that were a particular answer.

    Given your sample data, ~67% of *users* use each of the operating systems.
  • Re:Proof enough (Score:3, Insightful)

    by webmaster404 ( 1148909 ) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @06:42PM (#21449305)
    Yet MS products which give you just about 0% of control are still dominant so It is not surprising that most are Ubuntu, Debian or SUSE based because those give you better hardware detection, plus, Gentoo, LFS, Source Mage, and Arch Linux despite being great distros, lack commercial support that you can get from Red Hat, SUSE and Ubuntu. Also, the fact that you have to rebuild every update from scratch is a real pain on Gentoo, despite it being great for a home user, having 1-2 hours of 100% CPU usage in a business means that 1-2 hours employees can't work.
  • by dermoth666 ( 1019892 ) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @07:55PM (#21449749)
    I just took this survey earlier today, and after looking at the results it is obvious that it is totally biased.

    I'm writing from my phone so I won't go in-depth, but two things that bug me the most:

    1: It looks like many home users took the survey, but are being categorized as SOHO's

    2: At first it looks like the survey adress both desktop and server usage, but then the questions begin assuming repondent are using Linux on the desktop workstations. This isn't the case in my company, but he results to these questions are being used to show Linux desktop penetration.

    I also responded to some questions thinking "servers only" but it end up being both servers and workstation. In an organisation with more employees than servers, all running Windows, this obviously change the result!

    I'm not a Linux detractor, quite the opposite, but I'm being honest here. When you do surveys, please ask the right questions and make sure anyone responding to the survey won't bias it if the're not the targetted audience. To me this survey says almost nothing...
  • Re:No Debian? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nazlfrag ( 1035012 ) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @08:14PM (#21449863) Journal
    How the hell Microsoft gets to play the 'just works' card is beyond me. Unless, of course, by 'just' they mean 'barely', like 'it works, but only just.' Apart from the overly heavy handed authentication that breaks on trivial hardware changes, the godforsaken registry from hell and lets not forget their latest innovation in insanity, you can [Accept] windows 'barely works' or live in [Denial].
  • Re:Proof enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jlarocco ( 851450 ) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @09:27PM (#21450207) Homepage

    Please stay with Gentoo I don't want users like you infecting the other distros.

    I think you've got the infection backwards. If you're ever having a problem on Linux, 99.999% of the time your best bet is to ask a Gentoo or Slackware user.

    Snicker at their elitism, but fact of the matter is your average Gentoo user probably knows 100x more about Linux than your average Ubuntu user.

  • You're right. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Almahtar ( 991773 ) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @09:47PM (#21450331) Journal
    No single year will have credit because the change is happening slowly but surely.

    Is Linux ready as a desktop? Hell yes.

    Are all the 3rd party apps necessary for every customer available on Linux? Hell no!

    Is that changing day by day, app by app? Yes.

    It's only a matter of time. Standard consumer needs are already being met by desktop distrobutions. Before long the application base will increase and fringe cases will be covered. At that point, an OS will actually have to give you a reason (not "all the apps you want only run on our OS!") to spend money on it. Wouldn't that be nice - them having to earn their money.
  • Re:Ubuntu (Score:3, Insightful)

    by civilizedINTENSITY ( 45686 ) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @11:02PM (#21450729)
    The commandline isn't about "hardcore" or "my dick is bigger" it is about efficiency. Likewise vim vs. notepad (or vi keybindings vs. mouse). Freshman and sophomores all want visual studio or eclipse. Juniors/Seniors/Grad.s start being more concerned with how fast they can work than how easy it is to work slowly.
  • by slash.duncan ( 1103465 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @01:31AM (#21451391) Homepage
    While the word I'd use is "skewed", I'd basically agree with you.

    There was an original announcement of the survey in the Linux-covering media, and I looked at it but didn't take the survey then, as it seemed only interested in business use. Later, there was additional coverage, asking where all the North American users were, as there had been relatively few such responses to the survey at that point. Most were and still are European, altho the North American response percentage increased from about 10% to about 40%.

    Anyway, since they wanted N. Am. responses, I went ahead and filled it out then, doing the "choose the best fitting answer" routine, even where the obvious answer for home users was entirely missing. The best available fit classification was small-office/home-office use, with 1-100 machines. I then had to pick an annual income range, with I think the low end being a million or less. Well, millionaires aren't as uncommon as they used to be, but that's still rather ridiculous for a low end choice on individual income. Again, it's obvious they think all Linux users are corporate, since the announcements asking for participation said nothing about business use only, only Linux use. Later, they asked a question of what my primary business was. Using best-fit logic, I think I originally chose health care, as I reasoned as an individual, the most basic purpose will be to maintain my own health and survive. That ended up conflicting with an answer later, so I went back and picked something else.

    The survey is therefore incredibly skewed, because it makes an invalid assumption, that all Linux users are business users, and/or that the home-only user response will be so tiny (due to discouragement based on the obvious slant if nothing else) as to be ignorable.

    The non-biz response may have been low enough that the home-user response assumption may have actually been the case in times past, due both to coverage and to obvious slant, but I think this year's was obviously skewed by the second round of coverage, asking for more North American user responses. Given the coverage I saw (including user comments on the stories), I believe it reasonable to assume that at least half of that response rate increase for N America alone was home users. That would work out to ~20% home users, minimum, dramatically skewing the results since it's incredibly obvious they were essentially ignoring the home user when they designed the survey, and didn't intend for home users to respond. Well, then why /ask/ them to respond in general community coverage?

    IMO, they therefore got the skewed results they asked for and that could have been predicted given where and how the thing was publicized. No WONDER their SOHO segment jumped so dramatically! No WONDER some of the results don't follow previous trends!

    Maybe next year they'll include a home user option and home user appropriate options to the further questions as well. Even if they are entirely uninterested in that segment (it doesn't spend enough money, maybe, because much of it simply downloads the free versions, and doesn't spend on the ISVs either), providing options for it would be wise, as doing so would then allow clean separation of what they consider "noise" from the signal they are really interested in, the big-money corporate accounts.

    BTW, I was one of the Gentoo respondents, and put in the comments something else the ISVs etc they are apparently targeting the results for aren't likely to like -- that as far as I'm concerned, if it's not freedomware, if it doesn't allow full use of the four freedoms equally to all users and potential users, it's not a solution I can or will consider. So much for the Adobes of the world and their Linux ports. They might as well be un-wine-able MS-platform only, at a price of a trillion dollars a seat, for all I care -- if they aren't freedomware, they are that far out of usable-here solution scope. (It's a legal matter, see. I no longer sign away my rights, including the right to redress for security issues if I can't see and use the source for software running on my machine, so I can't agree to the EULAs, and the software is therefore not a legally viable solution, even if I DID wish to use it.)
  • Re:Proof enough (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fellip_nectar ( 777092 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:28AM (#21452291)

    ACCEPT_KEYWORDS="~x86" CFLAGS="-09 -march=nocona -pipe=65536 -funroll-every-loop -mrice -mabi=rice -omg-optimized --disable-all-instructions -DREENABLE_FAST_EXECUTION" emerge -av witty-reponse
    I, for one, find it hard to believe that a Gentooer could break their system. Therefore, it must be entirely the fault of the distribution if it breaks.
  • Re:Proof enough (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2007 @11:51AM (#21454195)
    I don't understand why are you all putting gentoo and slackware in the same basket.

    slackware is an old stable distribution without any of the 'enterprise' nonsense, and especially, without any of the package dependency idiocies that plague most linux and bsd systems. That contributes greatly to its usability, as proved by the hordes of more or less skilled sysadmins that wouln't even consider switching to something else.

    gentoo instead is a thing with an agenda, deliberately targetting the 'elite' user, and if you have no time to understand its 'philosophy' and the beauty of Python you're pretty much wasting your time with it, since the distribution would rather stay in your way rather than help you with your work.

  • Re:He has a point (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wanderingknight ( 1103573 ) on Friday November 23, 2007 @12:11PM (#21454333)
    If you never educate the users about the fact that they have a choice, how the hell do you expect them to choose? That's the beauty of Linux: Freedom. You're not tied to a single GUI. It's not about desktop environment competition (even if some few people seem to think it is), it IS about choice. The problem is, the regular public is not educated to choose, they're educated to use whatever comes with the PC. It's no wonder that Microsoft's greatest strength are OEM retailers, because people don't choose: they buy whatever comes with the "Computer". Hell, they don't even know what an OS is, and most Joe Averages that have ever heard about a Mac seem to believe there's some kind of voodoo magic that makes them not a PC (and, sadly, Apple exploits this and makes use of it in their advertisement campaigns).

    People need to be educated. They must learn there ARE choices.

Forty two.