OpenSUSE Profiles Linux Users. Uses Macintosh to Report.

A mam­moth sur­vey that com­piled the rat­ings of some 27,000 users to pro­file "Linux users".

Novell's open­SUSE has been get­ting some press lately. To move along their gam­ble for enter­prise Linux, they con­ducted a mas­sive sur­vey (of sorts) in which they have com­piled the rat­ings of some 27,000 + users and have come up with a pro­file of the folks who use Linux.

No, wait. That's not truly *all* Linux users. It's only open­SUSE users. Sam­ple bias and all that. To quote the questionnaire:

"Thank you all for your par­tic­i­pa­tion. With your input we all are able to make open­SUSE bet­ter and better."

And then, there's the fun in not­ing the "Doc­u­ment Prop­er­ties" of this PDF file:

openSUSE Survey PDF File Settings -ha!

Is it just me or is there some deli­cious irony in that? :)

Any­way, so, basi­cally, this Apple Mac­in­tosh cre­ated pdf file is a *gen­eral sur­vey* of opin­ions and usage expe­ri­ences of open­SUSE for the devel­op­ers and those work­ing in and around open­SUSE. Noth­ing more, noth­ing less. It shows that the major­ity of users are males in their 20's who con­sider them­selves com­puter savvy (quick, act sur­prised). How­ever most are not IT types the sur­vey con­cludes. But some of the inter­est­ing facts the sur­vey came up with were:

  • Some 70% of users Dual boot both Win­dows and open­SUSE Linux. (This means not even the peo­ple who have jumped on the Linux band­wagon have alto­gether aban­doned Windows).
  • Almost 90% have a DSL/Broadband inter­net con­nec­tion. (Which is use­ful as most Linux distro’s need updat­ing right after instal­la­tion – how's that for an end-user OS?)
  • Over 70% chose the KDE inter­face instead of Gnome when using Open­Suse Linux. (Good to know. Haven't we had it with Gnome lovers – guys, Gnome just looks butt-ugly.)
  • Over 85% indi­cated that they have no involve­ment with open­SUSE and don’t even file bug reports. (Ha!)
  • Over 60% use Open­Suse Linux was pri­vate use. (Not sur­pris­ing, because open­SUSE is the non-enterprise ver­sion. Who con­ducted this survey?)

A quick glance at the grand sur­vey will reveal sev­eral odd­i­ties. For instance, "Ques­tion 4. What's your pro­fes­sion" ? Now just about any­one who can spell Linux knows the num­ber one pro­fes­sion among Linux users…um, and it's the one pro­fes­sion that can legally get away with being 98% male (a good friend of mine is 98% male), with an age of around 25 – 30. Duh? Some of the final ques­tions in the sur­vey were inter­est­ing – about var­i­ous aspects of the OS, such as hard­ware sup­port, sta­bil­ity, secu­rity, soft­ware and so forth. On a scale of 1 to 5 most scored the OS in the 3 to 4 range. The high­est rat­ing 4.56 was for price. Is that indica­tive? Hmm. For a free OS..

This is a clas­sic (and moronic) PR dam­age con­trol after the flak that Nov­ell picked up by get­ting in bed with Microsoft. A sur­vey clearly writ­ten for cor­po­rate clients, reap­plied and repack­aged for open­SUSE users as a ruse to appear com­mit­ted to open-source and Linux.

Want to see the full PDF gen­er­ated by an Apple Mac­in­tosh machine? Click here for the full open­SUSE Sur­vey [PDF]
  • http://francis.giannaros.org Fran­cis Giannaros

    > To move along their gam­ble for enter­prise Linux, they con­ducted a mas­sive sur­vey (of sorts) in which they have com­piled the rat­ings of some 27,000 + users and have come up with a pro­file of the folks who use Linux.

    No, this isn't true at all. For one, say­ing that Nov­ell is 'gam­bling' with its SUSE Linux Enter­prise Linux is pretty false when you start con­sid­er­ing how the project is man­aged, how insanely large their Linux team is, and how much money and resources are going into it. It's a busi­ness, and one that's mak­ing profit; hardly a gamble.

    Sec­ondly, the sur­vey had noth­ing to do with SUSE Linux Enter­prise (as you even quoted your­self). The sur­vey was about *open­SUSE*, specif­i­cally open­SUSE 10.2, with feed­back for upcom­ing open­SUSE releases. It was never meant to be a sur­vey for an overview of all Linux users, nor was it one for the enterprise.

    The infor­ma­tion pro­vided has already been tremen­dously help­ful (not only to open­SUSE, to oth­ers out there as well; don't believe me? Use Google and see how many peo­ple blogged about being happy hav­ing the results), so you'd do well to not dream up another sense­less con­spir­acy the­ory that it was a PR stunt.

    Nov­ell hardly have to "re-establish their com­mit­ment to open source", and say­ing that just com­pletely ignores the insane amount of con­tri­bu­tion that they have made in the past, and the con­tin­ued and increas­ing con­tri­bu­tion that they are mak­ing. Please read some FAQs

  • / snip­tools

    Hi Fran­cis,

    Thanks for the note.

    > To move along their gam­ble for enter­prise Linux

    Yes, the open­SUSE is a big project. Novell's non-trivial hope how­ever is enter­prise Linux, which makes money. May I politely point you right back to the very source you sug­gested – Google – to get innu­mer­able opin­ions on where this stems from. open­SUSE is a limited-version soft­ware at best.

    Nov­ell cer­tainly has to re-establish its com­mit­ment to open source in the pub­lic mind after its recent over­tures toward Microsoft. Again, a num­ber of sites from Slash­dot to Lin­ux­world will have opin­ions from every­day Linux users. In sign­ing the MS deal, Nov­ell has delib­er­ately and disin­gen­u­ously cir­cum­vented one of the key ele­ments that ensures the con­ti­nu­ity of the GNU Gen­eral Pub­lic License, ver­sion 2. The GPL states that you can­not encum­ber the license with addi­tional terms (patent lim­i­ta­tions, for exam­ple), because that would work against the the prin­ci­ple of the FSF's four free­doms: to study, copy, mod­ify and redis­trib­ute software.

    Nov­ell inked a deal with Microsoft that did an end-run around this lim­i­ta­tion by agree­ing not to sue Novell's cus­tomers for patent infringe­ment. This makes a sce­nario pos­si­ble in which an unsus­pect­ing com­pany or indi­vid­ual could use GPL soft­ware, assum­ing that they had every right to do so, only to have Microsoft sue them later for breach of patent. As long as they're not Nov­ell cus­tomers, MS would be per­fectly within their rights to do so.

    It stretches belief to imag­ine that Microsoft didn't know they were sub­vert­ing the essence — if not the let­ter — of the GPL with this deal. But we've known for years now that Microsoft sees the GPL as a threat, and that they are work­ing actively to defeat it using both fair means and foul.

    As for the sur­vey, of course it was meant only for open­SUSE desk­top users? Was it pre­sented that way? Not quite. Read the main­stream press and how it quotes the grand sur­vey con­ducted by Nov­ell. You and I know it's only open­SUSE users, main­stream media is less coher­ent. Many peo­ple read main­stream media – the peo­ple who buy enter­prise Linux.

    I've been a SuSE user/admirer/evangelist for much longer than it flit­ted past Novell's view. And Nov­ell needs to stop delud­ing itself about how much sup­port it has from the mar­ket. Espe­cially after the stuff that Ximian's team has done to how SuSE was orig­i­nally structured.

    If there's any­one truly devoted to the Linux cause today, it's Ubuntu (or in my case, Kubuntu). Here's a com­par­i­tive guide of the two Nov­ell offer­ings, may I draw your atten­tion to "Secu­rity patches".

    In any case, thanks for stop­ping by and shar­ing your thoughts.

  • http://francis.giannaros.org Fran­cis Giannaros

    > Yes, the open­SUSE is a big project. Novell’s non-trivial hope how­ever is enter­prise Linux, which makes money. May I politely point you right back to the very source you suggested—Google—to get innu­mer­able opin­ions on where this stems from. open­SUSE is a limited-version soft­ware at best.

    How does any of what you have just said here fol­low? A few facts:
    (i) Nov­ell is com­mited to the enter­prise (through SUSE Linux Enter­prise) and through the aver­age con­sumer (open­SUSE)
    (ii) no, open­SUSE is not "lim­ited soft­ware at best". open­SUSE has longer secu­rity sup­port than most Linux dis­tri­b­u­tions (2 years, whereas i.e. reg­u­lar Ubuntu releases only pro­vide 18 months; they've also got a way, way big­ger secu­rity team).

    > Nov­ell cer­tainly has to re-establish its com­mit­ment to open source in the pub­lic mind after its recent over­tures toward Microsoft. Again, a num­ber of sites from Slash­dot to Lin­ux­world will have opin­ions from every­day Linux users.

    If that is really what you think "the Linux com­mu­nity" is then your con­cept needs a lit­tle re-evaluation. Those are only spec­tac­u­larly vocal peo­ple who so fre­quently jump on the trailer of being swooped away by neg­a­tive head­lines, with­out even know­ing about the deal. Case in point:

    > In sign­ing the MS deal, Nov­ell has delib­er­ately and disin­gen­u­ously cir­cum­vented one of the key ele­ments that ensures the con­ti­nu­ity of the GNU Gen­eral Pub­lic License, ver­sion 2.

    Did you check out that FAQ link I pro­vided? RMS and the FSF have all explic­itly stated that there is absolutely no GPL (v2) vio­la­tion with the deal. What more do you want?

    > This makes a sce­nario pos­si­ble in which an unsus­pect­ing com­pany or indi­vid­ual could use GPL soft­ware, assum­ing that they had every right to do so, only to have Microsoft sue them later for breach of patent.

    Do you think this was an impos­si­bil­ity before? If it wasn't, then what has changed for that per­son, or that company?

    > As for the sur­vey, of course it was meant only for open­SUSE desk­top users? Was it pre­sented that way? Not quite.

    You couldn't be more wrong. The sur­vey title was called "open­SUSE user sur­vey", the PDF is called "open­SUSE 10.2 Sur­vey Results", the offi­cial announce­ment said "open­SUSE user sur­vey". Which part of this pre­sen­ta­tion is unclear? Hon­estly, your con­clu­sion there is quite unbelievable.

    Again, even if some ran­dom site cited it as a grand sur­vey con­ducted by Nov­ell, again…what? How exactly is that down to any evil from Nov­ell or open­SUSE? It couldn't be clearer from the way the sur­vey was done, announced, and pre­sented that it was an open­SUSE user survey.

    > I’ve been a SuSE user/admirer/evangelist for much longer than it flit­ted past Novell’s view. And Nov­ell needs to stop delud­ing itself about how much sup­port it has from the mar­ket. Espe­cially after the stuff that Ximian’s team has done to how SuSE was orig­i­nally structured.

    No, SUSE Linux Enter­prise is dif­fer­ent because of the Ximian team; open­SUSE is still fully com­mited to KDE, but I'll talk fur­ther about that in a second.

    > If there’s any­one truly devoted to the Linux cause today, it’s Ubuntu (or in my case, Kubuntu). Here’s a com­par­i­tive guide of the two Nov­ell offer­ings, may I draw your atten­tion to “Security patches”.

    Please stop kid­ding your­self. Ubuntu is nice, and so are other dis­tri­b­u­tions, but please don't try to sug­gest that Ubuntu is some type of Linux cham­pion. You're talk­ing about Kubuntu, KDE: open­SUSE spon­sor more peo­ple to work directly on KDE than _anyone_ else (this includes 3 of the 7 on the KDE Tech­ni­cal board). Peo­ple that prob­a­bly wouldn't be able to ded­i­cate much time to it at all, now can, because of openSUSE.

    Apart from the crazy amount of Linux ker­nel, OpenOffice.Org, KDE, GNOME, etc etc devel­op­ers that it con­tin­u­ously spon­sors and employs to make Linux pos­si­ble, it also con­tributes in the way of inno­va­tion to the main­stream Linux com­mu­nity, such as with the open­SUSE Build Ser­vice, the OIN (Nov­ell is a found­ing mem­ber), etc.

    Ubuntu is mainly a dis­tri­b­u­tion just pack­ag­ing things from Debian (and hence a lot of their work is already done), with less of a stress on inno­va­tion (though they inno­vate some things, like Launchpad…though that's pro­pri­etary), and a huge stress on mar­ket­ing. openSUSE/Novell are the ones actu­ally inno­vat­ing and one of the things that really makes Linux a real­ity, and pos­si­ble, in the real world.

    I'm not that sure why you're annoyed by the open­SUSE and SLE com­par­i­son. If you want Linux for your home, get open­SUSE, if you want unri­valled sup­port and secu­rity (and hence for an enter­prise), then go for SLE.

    I really rec­om­mend that open­SUSE FAQ on the MS-Novell deal though, really. :)

  • lame­duck

    Not sure if this com­ment will go through because the com­ment­ing sys­tem on this site/blog seems bro­ken but is this the same Microsoft we are talk­ing about?

    http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS8462761823.html

  • / snip­tools

    Well, here's an inter­est­ing video on the subject–

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YExl9ojclo

    'Lame­Duck', the com­ments are work­ing for me. What error did you get?