Although the Linux Foundation 2007 Desktop/Client survey does not actually finish until the 30th November, there would seem to be little point adding your opinion to the thousands who have already done so as the results appear to have escaped. The web is already buzzing with reports that participation levels are twice as high as last year, more than 20,000 people are said to have taken part so far. Cutting to the chase, it seems that most people who want to take part have done so as the numbers have tailed off significantly. Enough, in fact, for the Linux Foundation to have started crunching numbers and inevitably those numbers have leaked out.
So we can say with some confidence, for example, that 35.8% of those taking part were from the US while the majority were based in Europe. We can reveal that Linux is most popular in the SoHo market where there are less than 100 machines (usually a lot less) which equates to some 68.4% of Linux desktops according to the leaked figures. Interestingly, the majority of people are not using Linux desktops exclusively, with a fairly high 59.6% admitting they have Windows installations on more than half of the PCs they use.
When it comes to Linux though, people cannot make their minds up as regards which distro is best and most respondents have more than one desktop installed. The survey suggests that Ubuntu rules the roost with 54.1%, closely followed by Red Hat on 50.2% with Novell SUSE trailing with 35.2% in third place. At least as far as business users go, when you switch to see what the hobbyist or home user is up to things change. Ubuntu goes up with a loyalty score of 55.4%, Debian enters the fray in second place with 22.2% and Gentoo comes third on 10.2% with an honorable mention on 7.1% to Knoppix.
The advance of virtualisation has meant that Linux is no longer the plaything of developers and engineers for the most part, instead Linux installations have become embedded in the home as a standard usage PC.
So what is bugging Linux users then? The lack of native Linux software mainly, notably Photoshop, DreamWeaver and AutoCAD.
And finally, perhaps the most important question the survey asked was: "Do you have enough confidence in Linux today to use it for mission-critical applications?" If the leaked figures are correct, over 90% said they would trust it or were pretty sure they would...