Posted on Monday 6th of August 2007 at 06:49 in Linux

Linux Usage Statistics - Dell holds the key, W3C shows decline

I've been very quiet recently (as regulars will have noticed) having not made any blatently obvious statements about open source software for a couple of weeks now. In this time I've toyed around some more and read plenty of content about open source gains in developing nations.

The burning question for me today is why does it matter? Linux can progress plenty throughout the Western world without trying to create this early dependance on the way it operates.

There's so much talk at the moment of whether the Linux desktop market is visible or not and I'm not certain that's an issue at the moment - however interesting a metric it may be. I was reading on the Business Standard about the potential shares that Linux has in the ever prosperous Indian computing market. The figures were estimated at being ~5% of desktop shares. But why does that matter?


The metric I care about
I'm eagerly anticipating the sales reports from Dell's high profile Ubuntu mission. From what I've heard things have been going quite well but there will seldom be any clearer declaration of how openly the maintsream is accepting an open source way of live. Ubuntu is the right foot to step forwards with - I'm not denying that - but trying to offer metrics such as "12% of government computers in Delhi are running [x]" is not of use at this moment in time.

Any stats on offer?
Well, reported that Fedora 7 has snagged more than 300,000 users since it's release which is a nice indication. However, Fedora Core 6 received around 400,000 in the same period upon release - maybe hinting that Fedora really is slipping to Ubuntu.

W3CSchools show Linux decline
A slightly odd metric to use but W3CSchools publish their website statistics (as available here) and they clearly show Linux has dropped 0.2% since January (as of June 2007). While this isn't much it's not showing the steady level of growth that the Mac has. Or Vista for that matter.

dell ubuntu

Dell sales stats
Dell haven't published any. However they did say that they expected Ubuntu machines to constitute around 1% of total sales, yet once they started selling them they exclaimed that sales were "beyond their forecasts". So this indicates that Ubuntu sales have been beyond the predicted 1% of total sales? (US only I assume).

So until Dell are able to publish some conclusive stats on how enthusiastic the uptake of Ubuntu has been we're never really going to know what the usage stats are going to look like. Websites aren't a good indication and there isn't really any other way of measuring it beyond sales. Sales? Yes, the selling of Linux is the only real way to get an understanding of what's happening. Therefore I ask you to join me, sitting on the floor staring puppy-eyed at Dell until they give us what we want - some real figures.


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