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Thread: Who are the Linux desktop users?

  1. #1
    Head Honcho Administrator Reverend's Avatar
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    Who are the Linux desktop users?

    Analysis -- A typical Linux desktop user is a guy in his twenties who's computer savvy but may very well not be an IT professional. Those are some of the conclusions you can draw from the just-released openSUSE survey results.

    The survey, published by OpenSUSE.org (PDF download), was run for almost three months, and more than 27,000 users participated in it. Novell and the openSUSE group will be using the results to make openSUSE, and its commercial big brother SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) better.

    Professionally speaking, an openSUSE Linux desktop user tends to be a student. Since a plurality of users are in their twenties, it seems safe to assume that most of them are undergraduate or graduate students. For those who are working full time, the greatest number, 21.4 percent, work as system administrators.

    However, while 32.9 percent of openSUSE users said they make a living by working on computer-related jobs, the single largest group of openSUSE users, 35.7 percent, describe themselves as experienced users but without any great technical skills. These users can set up openSUSE the way they like and keep it updated, but they don't consider themselves Linux experts. Perhaps the term "power user" could best describe them.

    What these users look for in an operating system is -- in order of ranking from most important to least -- stability, security, hardware support, and usability. The first two items are on almost eveyone's list of why Linux is an important operating system. The latter two are on almost everyone's list of areas where Linux could stand some more work.

    Interestingly, the least important criteria for these users is technical support. Yes, they like good documentation and easy administration, but the current openSUSE users, at least, aren't looking to have their hands held when they're using their favorite Linux distribution.

    The single best thing about openSUSE, the users agree, is its price: free. A whopping 75 percent give openSUSE an excellent score on this. They also like its security, stability and ease of installation. Interestingly, the area that the most users felt needed some work was technical support.

    Although they may want better support from the community-based distribution, very few of them actually work on the distribution. 84.7 percent aren't involved in the openSUSE project, except as users of the distribution.

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    Nobody knows I'm a dog. TZ Veteran petard's Avatar
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    It's all Geek to me.

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    In my opinion Linux OS's are more personal toys than anything else. While they are great for home use, Linux just doesn't fit in to the IT professional world. As an IT manager, I could never see implementing linux into our network for many reasons:

    1. Training (most all uses have no idea of what linux even is)
    2. Hardward support compared to Windows
    3. Range of business applications available
    4. Technical Support
    5. Scalability
    6. Compatibility (ties in with applications available)

    While the cost would be a huge benefit, all of the other issues above would counteract that cost AND take up the most limited resource available, time.
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    Nobody knows I'm a dog. TZ Veteran petard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gamedango View Post
    In my opinion Linux OS's are more personal toys than anything else. While they are great for home use, Linux just doesn't fit in to the IT professional world. As an IT manager, I could never see implementing linux into our network for many reasons:

    1. Training (most all uses have no idea of what linux even is)
    2. Hardward support compared to Windows
    3. Range of business applications available
    4. Technical Support
    5. Scalability
    6. Compatibility (ties in with applications available)

    While the cost would be a huge benefit, all of the other issues above would counteract that cost AND take up the most limited resource available, time.
    You've clearly not done your research.

    As an IT manager for a large government contract, Linux and UNIX comprise over 65% of our computing environment. Linux scales much better to the intel platform than Windows. The overhead is substantially less thus allowing for more dedicated CPU cycles to the critical processes and services. Linux supports a clustered server environment much better than Windows. Most mission-critical business applications run on UNIX and Linux servers.

    There are several "supported" Linux distributions (ie: RedHat) that offer technical support for the OS as well as the many supported applications that comes with it. One has to adapt to the different business model of Linux support verses Windows support but the costs savings will support it.

    There is plenty of Linux training and certification and accreditation courses out there. A simple Google search will display thousands of results. All of the large computer training companies offer substantial Linux training.

    Most of the main Linux distributions support the mainstream hardware currently offered by the leading computer hardware manufacturers. While some of the top-end video cards don't have specific Linux drivers, etc, eventually they do evolve.

    Linux "IS" lacking in the desktop arena. Although the main Linux distributions are making great gains in supporting the latest desktop hardware, especially laptops. However, it's very hard to compete with Microsoft and the Microsoft Office Application Suite. Microsoft has owned the desktop for years and is firmly entrenched in the business world as well as the home. Microsoft has more of a threat from Apple than Linux right now.

    OpenOffice is moving closer and closer to 100% compatibility with Microsoft Office. Granted there's no substitute anywhere for Visio - not on any other platform (mac and Linux/UNIX).

    If I were interviewing you for one of our IT management positions and you made your statement above - you wouldn't get the job. In the real business world, you'll find Sun servers and Linux servers right next to the Windows servers.

    Many thanks to egghead for the cool .sig

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    Old and Cranky Super Moderator rik's Avatar
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    All 20 of our servers are running Linux in 1 form or another. either in Virtual Machines or as the base OS. Plus we have a Sun 4600 running ESX and as we speak I am installing Solaris 10 on 1 of my home systems so I can better learn it. We are looking at running Sun Thin Clients off of a Sunray server based on Solaris. Some of our servers are running Win2k3 Server but even those have VM Ware installed with Red Hat running in Virtual Machines.

    Linux\Unix and Solaris are here to stay.

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