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- Ubuntu's desktop market share "isn't even measurable" because it's really darn difficult to measure how many people download and install it considering each download might equal any number of installations and that you can get it from a variety of different sources (e.g. the Ubuntu website, bittorrent, a friend...). Not to mention that it's usually installed over Windows, meaning that while those copies of Windows are being sold, they're not actually being used. And then there are the derivatives like Linux Mint and Goobuntu (which is Google's own version of Ubuntu used by over 20,000 Google employees) which use Ubuntu's repositories and therefore are still essentially Ubuntu. A lot of people measure OS usage by Web statistics, but those aren't necessarily accurate since a fair number of Linux users change their browser's user agent to outwit poorly designed websites. Web statistics also only get their statistics from a limited number of sources, often marketing services. And most people I've encountered who use Linux are savvy enough to use ad-blockers or other similar software that would prevent those marketers from seeing them.
I teach at a university, primarily a computer literacy course required for all students. I cover operating systems early in the semester, and always start by taking a survey of what OS the students use on their own computers. About 10% to 15% use Macs, and that has remained pretty consistent over the past few years. But I've seen an increase in students using Linux from maybe one student per semester a few years ago to one or two per class (of 25 people) last semester. And despite doing my best to be unbiased in covering operating systems, I've been having quite a few students each semester ask me to help them install Linux on their computers. So overall, at least as many of my students, if not more, have been using Linux as use Macs by the end of the semester for the last couple of years. I've discussed it with other instructors, and they've been seeing basically the same numbers.
Granted, it's anecdotal evidence, and since they're all college students they're not necessarily representative of the overall population. But it's a decent sample size (a few thousand students per year when you include the other instructors), and the students come from across the country and around the world and are of a variety of different backgrounds and career fields. I have friends working in a number of different fields around the world, and quite a few of them have seen a a significant increase in the use of Linux, from niche applications like using the Raspberry Pi for dedicated systems to complete office conversions from using Microsoft Windows/Office to Ubuntu and LibreOffice.
So based on what I'm seeing, Linux (and specifically Ubuntu) are considerably more popular than a lot of the numbers that I often see mentioned, and that popularity is increasing pretty rapidly. The problem is that it's very difficult to accurately measure that popularity. But just because something is difficult to measure doesn't mean it's not there.Jan 8, 2013
- I currently use Fedora I had to leave 12.04 because of slowness and lag. Shuttleworth has stated that 13.04 was supposed to aim to fix memory and performance .Jan 8, 2013
- Amazing how 60mil people can waste money..Jan 9, 2013
- Wasted on something you love isn't really a waste.Jan 9, 2013
- User agent spoofing absolutely isn't useless, and is unfortunately a necessity for Linux users. I could give you a long list of websites (and in some cases quite popular ones) that will redirect Linux users to a page saying their browser is unsupported and to update to a newer version even though they're already using the newest version of Chrome or Firefox. Even Gmail did this to me for a while. The vast majority of these are probably unintentionally slighting Linux users because the Web developer incorrectly parsed the user agent string and didn't account for OSes other than Windows or OS X. Spoofing the user agent to report the OS as OS X or Windows is a simple fix for these stupidly designed web sites, and every Linux user I know does it, at least occasionally, since it's not always possible to simply avoid those websites. Google would tell you I'm using OS X right now instead of Ubuntu since I got tired long ago of switching my user agent string whenever a came across a browser-specific site that actually wasn't.
Fortunately this is gradually becoming less of a problem as more web developers are starting to get a clue and actually designing their sites using something called "standards" rather than using stupid browser-specific hacks that require them to parse the user agent. The slow death of Flash and Silverlight, the gradual adoption of HTML5, an increasing effort by browser developers to conform to accepted standards, and an effort to educate web developers about the perils of using browser detection instead of feature detection (http://goo.gl/GNNV9) might finally put an end to browser detection, but I doubt it. Stupidity always finds a way to survive.
As far as Web statistics are concerned, if you think they're in any way accurate, you really have no idea how those statistics are derived or how the Internet works. Setting aside spoofed user agents, they're still completely incapable of accurately determining information about individual users due to the nature of the Internet. Some of the stats I've seen are derived from unique IP addresses rather than hits, meaning a thousand users behind a proxy would only be counted as a single user (if a very active one that uses several browsers at once). I strongly suspect this is skewing the stats a bit considering the large number of Linux users on business and academic intranets, such as over 20K of Google's 50K employees (http://goo.gl/EC6xp). (Btw, I think it's quite amusing that Google employees have to ask permission to use Windows due to its "'special' security problems".)
Even if the statistics are based on hits, many of these use marketing or tracking services that use third-party cookies or other web bugs to acquire information across a number of websites, which is good in theory but in practice means that anyone using something like Adblock Plus (which in my experience is most people who use Firefox or Chrome) won't be counted or would be counted incorrectly. If Google or Facebook would release their browser statistics, then we might possibly get something approaching reality, but even then it's only an educated guess.
And before you post another long reply trying to explain how things really work... I have a Master's degree in CS specializing in IS, have worked in web development for years, currently teach college-level CS, and am a long-time Linux user. I'm certainly not saying I know more about what I'm talking about than you or anyone else, because I don't know anything about you or them. Just saying that I might possibly have a little bit of knowledge in this area. Maybe not, but I'd like to think so.Jan 9, 2013
- They are probably counting enterprise/educational licensing. Many large companies and educational institutions pay a yearly fee for access to whatever Microsoft is currently supporting.Jan 28, 2013