PDA

View Full Version : Serious question - how many people run desktop Linux?



potatan
October 13th, 2009, 09:32 PM
So.... my university is rolling out Microsoft's Live@Edu email system. Basically Hotmail with some University personalisation, throw in a 25Gb SkyDrive, all fancy singing and dancing new email system to replace a load of Exchange servers.

The new system supports IE, Firefox, Opera, etc. but if you happen to be running the latest versions of those browsers within Ubuntu/Linux rather than Windows.... then you get the reduced functionality version of Outlook Web Access. So I get a vastly reduced "email experience" just because I run Linux.

Okay, I can mess around with ie4linux, with browser identification strings, etc. etc.

but what I'd like to say to my University is that by rolling out an essentially Microsoft tie-in email system, they are excluding all the people who happen to run a non-Microsoft OS.

So what percentage of Linux desktop users are we talking about? Is it comparable to the base of Mac users? I've tried to find these figures but there are various excuses as to why they are not available (no Linux registration, licence activation, licence sold with new hardware etc.).

One of my drivers is that it is now possible to buy Netbooks with Linux pre-installed (and I just bought one for college) - any idea how many are being sold with Linux on them?

Basically - how many of us are out there? In percentage terms?

Any objective figures?

Cheers
Potatan

OlsenCNC
October 13th, 2009, 09:39 PM
I read an article recently that stated a little under 2 percent of computer users use Linux, but I can't remember the source. One thought, if it supports Firefox, it should support Firefox in Linux.

blur xc
October 13th, 2009, 09:44 PM
I read an article recently that stated a little under 2 percent of computer users use Linux, but I can't remember the source. One thought, if it supports Firefox, it should support Firefox in Linux.

I googled "operating system market share" today, and found a site that listed Linux at 0.95%, with I think apple iPhone os right behind it at 0.35%.... Mac was at ~5%...

I don't know what it does to the desktop pc percentages to include smart phones in the survey. It's not like smartphones displace the use of a desktop os. I never took, nor intend to ever take a statistics class.

BM

potatan
October 13th, 2009, 09:48 PM
So if I tell Uni they are excluding 1% of their user-base, they'll probably just laugh me off and say "deal with it"

Damn Microsoft tie-ins, get the students hooked from age 18

rampageoberon
October 13th, 2009, 09:51 PM
Hi,

Can't vouch for the reliability of any of these but the following links may help giving an indication of use.

http://marketshare.hitslink.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=8
http://leb.net/hzo/ioscount/data/r.9904.txt

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1038076/firefox-grabs-19-per-cent <-- may help for firefox

Hope this helps.

PS: In my experience the outlook web access on windows\firefox is limited too. Its a shame that only internet explorer gives full functionality, don't expect any better from MS now. Again it would be good for your uni to know that they are disadvantaging users using Non-MS OS's - regardless of what percentage use it. I personally don't want to install ie4linux.

halitech
October 13th, 2009, 10:09 PM
Unfortunately, because of the way most people obtain *nix, there is no reliable way of saying that *nix has 1%, 5%, 50% market share but I think the numbers are higher then 1% but thats just my gut feeling based on the amount of users here and in the IRC rooms but, gut feeling doesn't proove anything.

If the new roll out is also affecting MAC users, you may have better luck using that arguement then affecting the "fringe" users that use *nix. You could also try to get a poll or survey set up on the university website to find out out many are affected and what OS people are using, especially if you have a friendly ear of 1 of the network admins that run the network.

also, to answer your question, I have 2 machines that I run Debian on but I support 10 users that only run windows although 1 may be switching their server over to Linux.

Penguin Guy
October 13th, 2009, 10:19 PM
Have you tried the wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_desktop_operating_systems)? They have a rather nice pie chart (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b5/Operating_system_usage_share.svg).

unutbu
October 13th, 2009, 10:24 PM
According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_computer:
"As of June 2008, the number of personal computers in use worldwide hit one billion".

According to http://www.techspot.com/news/32243-ubuntu-has-over-8-million-users-says-canonical.html: As of October 2008:

Ubuntu has around 8 million users and around 25% of the marketshare in Linux desktops.
So that would imply 32 million Linux desktop users.

So the percent of Linux desktops to total desktops is around 32/1000 ~= 3%.

swoody
October 13th, 2009, 10:25 PM
You could also try to get a poll or survey set up on the university website to find out out many are affected and what OS people are using, especially if you have a friendly ear of 1 of the network admins that run the network.

I would really urge going this route. Even if 1% of all computer-users in the world are *nix users, that statistic may not be relevant to your school in particular - which is the issue in this case. Without getting info specific to your school's student population, there's no real way to estimate how many users there run *nix. It may be a lot higher percent if your school is known for it's IT programs, or if there is a higher number of technology-related students. It could be a lot lower if your school has a lot of business programs, and most students use Windows for compatibility reasons. I think you should delve deeper into your student community and attempt to find out more accurate statistics for your student body.

leomelo
October 13th, 2009, 10:29 PM
"In April 2009 Aaron Seigo of KDE indicated that most web-page counter methods produce Linux adoption numbers that are far too low given the system's extensive penetration into non-North American markets, especially China. He stated that the North American-based web-measurement methods produce high Windows numbers and ignore the widespread use of Linux in other parts of the world. In estimating true worldwide desktop adoption and accounting for the Windows-distorted environment in the USA and Canada he indicated that at least 8% of the world desktops run Linux distributions and possibly as high as 10-12% and that the numbers are rising quickly. Other commentators have echoed this same belief, noting that competitors are expending a lot of effort to discredit Linux, which is incongruent with a tiny market share"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_adoption

Hospadar
October 13th, 2009, 10:33 PM
Here's what I suggest:
Install the user agent switcher addon
Set your user agent header to microsoft windows
Get full functionality from your university's dumb email client!

This sort of thing is a classic move on the part of lazy-*** programmers. If you hack down the feature set for the less-used system and say "sorry we don't support that" you don't have to deal with testing or anything like that. The idiotic part is that a site which works well will 99.9% of the time work well in firefox on linux, and if the developer just didn't screen for OS, and let you go ahead with your "untested" os, then you'd probably be fine.

bodhi.zazen
October 13th, 2009, 10:48 PM
Moved to the cafe as it does not seem to be a support thread.

ConXtionS
October 13th, 2009, 11:22 PM
My daughter attends indiana state university where us parents were allowed to buy a laptop off ISU that is setup to be able to do everything she needs that year... If it breaks she can take it to some dude on campus and get it fixed right away bla bla bla. While the price for the lap top was OUTRAGOUS to me we bought it anyway so she wouldnt have any excuses other than she drank to much.

The operating system is microsoft, and I guess I dont blame them for that, like it or not microsoft has deals with all the manifactures so that pretty much any machine coming off the line is a winbox. Dont get me wrong, I am not against that.. I love my windows.

However, while the OS is windows... Most if not all of the software installed on it was LINUX... the Office suite and such was linux.

I believe the standard browser was firefox not win.

So.... while linux clearly doesnt have a huge market share with universities, at least they are making inroads. The linux office suite is clearly as good as the windows version and people are USING IT.

Perhaps that is a better way to change the world... Make something just as good ....

just my 2 cents

Jim

halitech
October 14th, 2009, 08:40 PM
However, while the OS is windows... Most if not all of the software installed on it was LINUX... the Office suite and such was linux.

Just to point out Jim, Open Office and Firefox are not Linux, they are open source programs that are native to linux but they are not linux itself. Linux is actually just the Kernel of the OS, everything that runs on top of it is part of the GNU project (which is why you will often here it referred to as GNU/Linux) and then there are the applications themselves like OpenOffice, Firefox, etc.

Not to nitpick but just wanted to clarify for you :)

t0p
October 14th, 2009, 09:13 PM
Just to point out Jim, Open Office and Firefox are not Linux, they are open source programs that are native to linux but they are not linux itself. Linux is actually just the Kernel of the OS, everything that runs on top of it is part of the GNU project (which is why you will often here it referred to as GNU/Linux) and then there are the applications themselves like OpenOffice, Firefox, etc.

Not to nitpick but just wanted to clarify for you :)

Actually, Jim's mistake was a bit more fundamental than that.

He said:


However, while the OS is windows... Most if not all of the software installed on it was LINUX... the Office suite and such was linux.

I believe the standard browser was firefox not win...If the OS on the laptop is Windows, then the version of Firefox and Open Office on that laptop must be the Windows versions of those apps.

Anyway, back to the OP:

For argument's sake, let's say the Linux user base is 1%. And let's assume your university has 5000 students. That would mean 50 students are not being catered for.

Maybe that sounds like small potatoes. But consider this: if 50 of the students were paraplegic, would the uni think "Screw 'em, we don't need to provide wheelchair access for 1% of students"? I think not.

Now I'm not trying to equate Linux use with paraplegia (though some Microsoft enthusiasts may think it's apt...). But it is a thought.

murderslastcrow
October 14th, 2009, 09:26 PM
Well, let's put it this way. We know Fedora has over 18 million users worldwide, and I think it's safe to say Ubuntu has more users than Fedora.

https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Statistics Here's a reference for you.

So I'd have say there's no certain number, but there certainly are MANY. And Mark Shuttleworth has recently been quoted as saying, "we aren't going to release an unpolished Gnome 3 to 10 million users," so we have at least that much just for Ubuntu.

Sorry to say we don't have a more concrete estimate, but that's good for a minimum. So I don't think it's a stretch to say we have as many users as Apple. I mean, unless you're buying a Mac because it's cool, you usually run into Linux before you get on the Mac-train.

Lemmy's Wart
October 14th, 2009, 10:23 PM
It depends on who you ask. The most realistic statistics seem to point to between 3 to 5 %.


If you ask someone who is dependent on Microsoft (a great many people) the same question then they will most likely reply “What's Linux?”.

SlickRick
October 18th, 2009, 01:26 AM
http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_os.asp

I'm not sure what these numbers represent but the person that showed this to me says that these are statistics fro computers using the web.




Anyway, back to the OP:

For argument's sake, let's say the Linux user base is 1%. And let's assume your university has 5000 students. That would mean 50 students are not being catered for.

Maybe that sounds like small potatoes. But consider this: if 50 of the students were paraplegic, would the uni think "Screw 'em, we don't need to provide wheelchair access for 1% of students"? I think not.

Now I'm not trying to equate Linux use with paraplegia (though some Microsoft enthusiasts may think it's apt...). But it is a thought.

I agree with this somewhat but even if it's only one person, the uni shouldn't under privilege them.

Sam
October 18th, 2009, 01:52 AM
http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_os.asp

I'm not sure what these numbers represent but the person that showed this to me says that these are statistics fro computers using the web.

No this is only the stats for w3schools.com. If you read further on this page:

Statistics Are Often Misleading

You cannot - as a web developer - rely only on statistics. Statistics can often be misleading.

Global averages may not always be relevant to your web site. Different sites attract different audiences. Some web sites attract professional developers using professional hardware, while other sites attract hobbyists using old low spec computers.

toupeiro
October 18th, 2009, 03:38 AM
"In April 2009 Aaron Seigo of KDE indicated that most web-page counter methods produce Linux adoption numbers that are far too low given the system's extensive penetration into non-North American markets, especially China. He stated that the North American-based web-measurement methods produce high Windows numbers and ignore the widespread use of Linux in other parts of the world. In estimating true worldwide desktop adoption and accounting for the Windows-distorted environment in the USA and Canada he indicated that at least 8% of the world desktops run Linux distributions and possibly as high as 10-12% and that the numbers are rising quickly. Other commentators have echoed this same belief, noting that competitors are expending a lot of effort to discredit Linux, which is incongruent with a tiny market share"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_adoption

You hit on something that I feel is very true, and has really bothered me about published usage statistics. Microsoft includes ALL versions of windows running on desktops that support high saturation numbers, even if they are pirate, or given away to compete with linux. They do not poll the same basis when they consider Linux desktop saturation. They mainly focus on OEM.

teet
October 18th, 2009, 06:12 AM
Here's what I suggest:
Install the user agent switcher addon
Set your user agent header to microsoft windows
Get full functionality from your university's dumb email client!


My school just switched over to windows live mail...I guess it's a win-win for most people. The school's IT department doesn't have to mess with email servers/support anymore, students get a much larger email inbox size (from 50 mb to 5? gb at my school) with a better web interface, and Microsoft gets vendor lock-in.

In any event, I noticed the reduced functionality on firefox under windows versus linux. I assume the user agent switcher thing would work but I haven't bothered to try. I just have all the mail sent to my windows live account automatically redirected to my gmail account. I also have my gmail account set up to automatically set the "reply-to" address to the same address it was originally sent to. I heart gmail.

-teet