The results of DesktopLinux.com’s 2006 Desktop Linux Market survey are in, and the roughly 15,000 votes are all tallied. In the first article of a series, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols offers a perspective on how the various desktop Linux distributions fared, and why. Read his analysis here.
Desktop Linux Survey Results Analyzed
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2006-08-30 6:11 pmrcsteiner
All online surveys are somewhat self-selecting, and Steven mentioned this fact in his article:
“Well, if you take a look at which distributions did well, you’ll see they have one thing in common: they’re all community-based distributions. I think what we’re seeing with our survey is that the people who’ve invested something of themselves in their Linux desktop are the ones voting. The people who simply use the Linux that’s set in front of them, or just buy it, have less invested in it and so are less likely to vote.”
2006-08-30 7:06 pmsbenitezb
“The people who simply use the Linux that’s set in front of them, or just buy it, have less invested in it and so are less likely to vote.”
The people who just use Linux don’t read desktoplinux or OSNews, that’s why they don’t vote, not because they are not interested in voting. Somehow Steven thinks that all Linux users end reading Linux forums/sites, and that’s just not true.
2006-08-30 10:31 pmma_d
I bet he had more unique hits than votes. But you’re right, there are those who will never heard of this survey and won’t vote, but a large number of them probably didn’t hear and wouldn’t vote; and that lack of interest is why they didn’t hear. But for some it’s a lack of time more than interest (lack of time to check these sites, not time to vote).
2006-08-31 12:40 amsbenitezb
“But for some it’s a lack of time more than interest (lack of time to check these sites, not time to vote)”
I would say lack of interest or lack of knowledge about these sites, more than lack of time. Lack of time means there are Linux users that know about these sites, but don’t have time to check them out. You would be really self-centered if you think that all Linux users (not geeky, but those that inherited or acquired a Linux computer somehow) would check your sites as if knowing about the existence of your site among other millions out there is a must. I can think of lots of Linux users that actually care about googling for poetry books, or flowers, or pets, or whatever. Not necessarily a Linux user has to read OSNews or be interested in all us geeks/techies are interested in.
The same goes for Windows users. How often do you find a sister, grandmother or other non tech. users reading Windows sites? Or OSNews? Almost never.
Edited 2006-08-31 00:47
2006-08-30 10:29 pmma_d
By that argument so is democracy in general. Most countries will brag if they hit a 50% vote rate (not that that’s something to brag about anyway).
Everything ends up working this way: Only the “geeks” are vocal and so only they get really heard. Sometimes these “geeks” are as they are because of a monetary interest and sometimes it’s intellectual. Linux, I imagine, has more of the intellectually interested individuals than those with monetary interests.
You do what you can.
2006-08-31 12:46 amsbenitezb
“Everything ends up working this way: Only the “geeks” are vocal and so only they get really heard.”
Measuring Linux desktop usage is difficult. How many offices are using Linux, how many schools, how many new PC users that acquired a Linux PC? Those are most certainly not going to vote; it’s not they are not interested. We couldn’t possibly know, because they never got to that survey because they were probably browsing internet to find things not related to Linux (i.e. everything else, and that is a lot of things to better check out until they magically come to desktoplinux.com and take the survey).
The basic question is: is there any possibility to get some reliable numbers in the future that definitely tell us how many users use which distro? No, as we will hardly manage to get all … how much? … 1 million, 2 million, 5 million? linux users voting on one single site. 15.000 votes is not bad, but it reflects only a very small percentage of Linux users. And company admins probably didn’t vote (which is why Red Hat ranked to poorly).
As it is mainly “geeks” that voted there, the high percentages Gentoo and Debian got is not that surprising for me.
If someone would ask me which distro is most widely used, I would perhaps say: There is a bunch of distros that is very close to each other, namely Fedora, Ubuntu, Debian, Mandriva and SUSE, in no particular order. Let’s face it: Gentoo, Arch and Slackware are only used by a rather small group of Linux users as most users are still unable to set those systems up properly.
Most popular desktop Linux:
1. Ubuntu — Fair enough. Not what I’d choose but we all know how popular it is.
2. Debian — WTF? It’s a great distro and whatever your favorite desktop is, Debian has it. But it’s not a great desktop OS out-of-the-box. It needs to be repackaged like Knoppix, MEPIS or whatever.
3. OpenSUSE — Fair enough.
4. Gentoo — Come on now people, that’s a hobbyists system. Again it’s great but it’s not what you want on your desktop.
Some fanbo^H^H^H^H^Hpeople just don’t read the question.
2006-08-30 7:47 pmMamiyaOtaru
Some fanbo^H^H^H^H^Hpeople just don’t read the question.
WTF? “Which Linux distros do you use on your home or office desktop system(s)?” I use Debian, so I checked off Debian. 12% of the others who responded did as well. The question was not “which distro is the easiest to use on the desktop (for the most people),” or “which do you think is the most popular/widely used” it was simply “which one do you use.” You seem to be the one who misread the question.
It’s interesting when the answers defy expectations. The linked article has a good explanation why community distros like Debian did so well.
2006-08-30 9:05 pmMichael
The article said “best desktop Linux”. I guess that phrase should be “most used Linux”.
I still stand by my decision not to RT-enitre-FA.
So what’s the good of knowing which distro the readers of a given website use? There’s about a million of these surveys and they’re never even nearly scientific enough to extrapolate anything from. This is just what distro Linux hobbyists use.
2006-08-30 10:54 pmpostmodern
Gentoo now ships with a GTK and Ncurses installer. Care explaining how Gentoo is only for hobbyists, and those who use Gentoo are hobbyists?
2006-08-30 11:24 pmtwickline
I believe you meant to say a GURU system didn’t you?
Really useless survey, because it only counts geeks and techies votes. There are a lot of non tech linux users that never knew of this survey, and probably wouldn’t vote.