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The Secret Lives of Ubuntu and Debian Users

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the self-selected-statistics dept.

Debian 501

jammag points out a look at statistics from the Popularity Contest projects on Debian and Ubuntu. These projects track the download and upgrade habits of their respective distributions' users, revealing — no surprise here — that Ubuntu users are more likely to be newbies than Debian users. The numbers reveal, for instance, that 86 percent of Ubuntu machines use the proprietary NVidia driver, where only a mere sliver of Debian machines do. Likewise, Debian users are far more eclectic in their software choice, less likely to use any default options. The article concludes with a look at the limits of what conclusions can be drawn from statistics like these. "In general, Debian users seem more eclectic in their use of software than Ubuntu users, and less likely to use an application simply because it is included by default. Debian users also seem more likely to be concerned to maintain a free installation than Ubuntu users — a conclusion that is hardly surprising when you consider Debian's reputation for freedom, but is still interesting to see being supported by statistics. ... To what extent last week's figures are typical is uncertain. Very likely, studying the figures over a longer period would produce different results. Possibly, too, those who participate in the Popularity Contests are not typical users of either Ubuntu or Debian. "

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Do you really want to know? (5, Funny)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481317)

Seriously, do you /really/ want to know what they do behind closed doors?

Because I certainly don't.

Re:Do you really want to know? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481333)

Obviously they are scheming to prevent people from taking online courses. Haven't you paid attention to the news?

Re:Do you really want to know? (2, Insightful)

not already in use (972294) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481479)

On that note, congratulations to the Linux community! You have exposed yourselves as pretentious twats that you are, and generated tons of great press (sarcasm) for your cause. Morons.

Update to the original story here [wkowtv.com] .

Seriously, with all the attention this story has gotten, all sorts of normal people will not want anything to do with Linux now. Way to F'n go.

Re:Do you really want to know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481511)

Did you actually READ the update?

Re:Do you really want to know? (4, Informative)

not already in use (972294) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481629)

Umm, yes, did you?!

That's also when the comments - many of them angry, rude, and hateful - started pouring in. Some Ubuntu users accused 27 News of "unscrupulous reporting," hitting a "new low for local news," and writing an "atrocious article." Many Ubuntu users also wrote very personal attacks about the young lady who was having trouble using the operating system. They called her "lazy," "a dumb girl," and "not worthy of a college degree." The young woman also contacted 27 News to report she's being harassed on her Facebook account by Ubuntu users.

Re:Do you really want to know? (1)

Darundal (891860) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481637)

What is more surprising is that generally the Ubuntu community is more accepting than the communities around other distros. I am scared to think about what would have happened if it were a distro with a less open and accepting community.

Re:Do you really want to know? (1)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481885)

It would've made zero difference. The story hit all sorts of pro-linux sites, and foaming-at-the-mouth zealots in all of them gave their feedback. It only takes reading through the comments posted here in /. to guess what the people posted there.

Re:Do you really want to know? (1, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481639)

"unscrupulous reporting" is a pretty good description of what the so-called journalist did.

Although a more accurate description would be amateur.

The "journalist" clearly didn't examine the facts before publishing.

The bit about "accidentally buying Ubuntu" just takes the cake...

Re:Do you really want to know? (1)

not already in use (972294) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481709)

The bit about "accidentally buying Ubuntu" just takes the cake...

So you're saying she purposely bought Ubuntu? The chick had no idea what Ubuntu is, what makes you think it was a conscious decision to purchase it?

Re:Do you really want to know? (4, Insightful)

not already in use (972294) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481747)

I suppose I should clarify my comment. She bought a computer with Ubuntu on it. Yes, I understand what you're saying. Clearly the journalist what no tech expert, which obviously the Linux community has no patience for. So next time you're in getting your car fixed and you don't know what a lower control arm is, I hope they call you an idiot.

Re:Do you really want to know? (2, Funny)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481823)

So next time you're in getting your car fixed and you don't know what a lower control arm is, I hope they call you an idiot.

I certainly would. If you don't know what something means, you can find out. If you don't, and you get ripped off, then you've only got your own lazy self to blame.

Re:Do you really want to know? (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481863)

Why? Because Dell doesn't exactly make it easy on you.

Anyone that bothered to fact check this story would see that right away.

Something like this should leave the random user knowing something
they didn't before, something meaningful rather than just being
sensational.

This is a key difference between journalism and trolling.

What would Murrow do with this story?

Re:Do you really want to know? (5, Funny)

jason.sweet (1272826) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481923)

I can say now, with absolute certainty, that 2009 will be the year of the linux desktop.

Re:Do you really want to know? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481371)

They buttfuck each other, taking occasional breaks to ass-to-mouth 69. Debian users are typically older, fatter, and have beards, whereas ubuntu users are generally younger and may be skinny dork nerds.

Re:Do you really want to know? (1)

Mystra_x64 (1108487) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481531)

Your personal experience is simply astounding.

Ezmode (2, Informative)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481413)

These guys do the same stuff that everyone else does, except they do it with style because they use Linux.

Re:Ezmode (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481611)

These guys do the same stuff that everyone else does, except they do it with style because they use Linux.

Everybody else sits in their parents' basement eating Cheetos and masturbating to Japanese tentacle porn? And how do you do that with style?

Re:Ezmode (1)

laejoh (648921) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481775)

The same thing we do every night, Pinky, Try to take over the world!

Re:Ezmode (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481869)

It's either:
"These guys do the same stuff that everyone else does, except they do it with style because they use OS X"
or
"These guys do the same stuff that everyone else does, except they do it without style because they use Linux."

Since the story is about Debian, I suppose the latter is the correct fix.

Re:Do you really want to know? (2, Funny)

pooh666 (624584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481457)

ok raise hands, how many people wash, EVERY day. Ok, now how many people read Slashdot every day?

Re:Do you really want to know? (2, Insightful)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481795)

Seriously, do you /really/ want to know what they do behind closed doors?

That's funny, don't get me wrong, it is.

But if Microsoft had published this kind of data on users downloading habits, this would have been published under YRO.

I use Ninnle instead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481351)

Ubuntu and Debian cannot hold a candle to Ninnle Linux on the desktop. Ninnle is far more configurable, yet far more user friendly than either of these other two.

Except for the Ninnle BSOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481803)

Ubuntu and Debian cannot hold a candle to Ninnle Linux on the desktop. Ninnle is far more configurable, yet far more user friendly than either of these other two.

Too bad Ninnle is the only distribution that rivals WinME for BSODs. BSODs! In a linux distro for fuck's sake!

I've been using linux since the mid nineties. (4, Insightful)

arudloff (564805) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481359)

I use ubuntu and love it. Some of us aren't worried about free as in whatever debates and more interested in usable *nix, and for that ubuntu is fantastic.

Re:I've been using linux since the mid nineties. (5, Insightful)

domatic (1128127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481465)

Even though I won't use a sackcloth-and-ashes-free-only computer, those issues are important. "Pragmatism" in the short term is anything but in the long term. If effort isn't exerted to keep platforms from being closed and replacements developed for things that are closed but commonly used then eventually it will be others who dictate how you compute and what sort of computing is permissible. Myself, I prefer to own my own media and hardware and to connect (ethically) to whatever machines on the Internet I see fit, use whatever protocols I see fit, and adapt any device I own to any purpose that I might desire. Annoying as they may often be, we ignore the proponents of openness and freedom at our peril.

Re:I've been using linux since the mid nineties. (4, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481881)

I use the latest Ubuntu on my desktop, stable Debian on my server. I expect my desktop to just work, I expect my server to be secure.

Re:I've been using linux since the mid nineties. (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481951)

Annoying as they may often be, we ignore the proponents of openness and freedom at our peril.

And they serve a useful purpose even if no one agrees 100% with them: it's much easier to be middle-of-the-road if there's a bright neon sign indicating "extreme --> this way".

If you go read the ideological principles behind the Debian project, they're as close to Free As In FSF as you can get; I hear it's what RMS uses. You can say bad things about Debian (it's not as easy to use as Ubuntu, the software is old, the software is buggy, the mozilla icemonkeybird thing is stupid), but you can't say it isn't doing whatever it can to preserve software freedom for its users.

And I don't hear anyone calling the Debian people loonies.

And if you go read the Ubuntu Free Software Guidelines, they're $(sed 's/Debian/Ubuntu/g' DFSG.txt). Nobody is calling Ubuntu over-the-top crazy about Software Freedom.

Re:I've been using linux since the mid nineties. (5, Insightful)

pzs (857406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481497)

Agreed. I've also been using Linux since the mid 90s. I think people underestimate how much even experienced users appreciate a slightly more polished and easy-to-user product.

I love Linux and would still use a raw distribution if I really had to. However, the fact that Ubuntu has an effective GUI, updates "just work" and that installing new software is so easy is a massive bonus. Now I can get on with actually getting my work done rather than dicking about with configuration files and Make for hours.

All modern desktop distros are easy (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481725)

All modern desktop distros are as functional and easy to use as Ubuntu. We have moved past the days of dicking about with autoconf and makefiles for hours just to get X11 to start up. Ubuntu is not really special; the Ubuntu team just got lucky, because Mandriva was on the verge of collapse right at the time when Ubuntu was getting started, so they rushed in to fill the void of "easy desktop linux." Fedora also works out of the box now (and yes, before someone gives me an Ubuntu-worked-Fedora-didn't story, I have plenty of stories of Ubuntu not working when Fedora did; so what?), Mandriva is back on its feet, OpenSUSE is less of a pain, etc. Seriously, why do people focus on Ubuntu?

Re:All modern desktop distros are easy (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481755)

Because they like to say SALLLLLLLLSAAAA... I mean Ubunnnnnnnntu.

Re:I've been using linux since the mid nineties. (3, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481905)

I love Linux and would still use a raw distribution if I really had to.

Debian is not "raw" in the least. In fact, when I did a fresh install of etch recently, I was honestly surprised at how easy the installation process had become (the last time I did a full reinstall was probably 2002 when I bought the machine that I was replacing).

I am not going to claim that I walked uphill both ways when I started with Linux but after looking at the differences in installing Debian in 2002 vs 2008, it certainly made Slackware's 1996 install and RedHat 5.2 for Alpha look like a fucking walk in the park.

Re:I've been using linux since the mid nineties. (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481925)

Err, the 2008 Debian was a walk in the park compared to RH 5.2 and Slackware in 1996. It's too early to be posting shit about Linux installs to Slashdot I guess.

Re:I've been using linux since the mid nineties. (0, Offtopic)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481955)

Yes, it works! Now just how do we keep the grasping claws of government completely out of Linux? How many controls will be imposed? To what degree will any government tolerate free and open communications between people at home or around the world? Fight for every inch of freedom even when the excuses for censorship seem reasonable.
                I give the following example: Years ago in chemistry class while working with some sulfer and carbon compounds the teacher gave very clear warnings that if we made certain mistakes we would be creating a bomb and risked serious injuries to ourselves. Today if we gave an on line course we could not issue those warnings as the law would claim that we were giving bomb building instructions and that would put us in prison.

Re:I've been using linux since the mid nineties. (4, Interesting)

Psiren (6145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481561)

Second that. I've been using Ubuntu for about 2 years, before that it was Debian. Frankly I haven't got time to piss about, I just want it working. I don't have a problem with binary only drivers like NVidia. I support the idea of free software as far as possible, but if it doesn't do the job, then I'm not going to go without.

Re:I've been using linux since the mid nineties. (4, Interesting)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481833)

These days there are a number of OSs derived from Debian and Ubuntu that should be considered. Mint is superior. Also Mepis, I believe is now based upon Debian.
              I suspect that many Ubuntu users who try these lesser known derived distros would prefer them.

Odd stats - (3, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481363)

"GNOME is installed on 85% of Ubuntu installations and 50% of Debian installations, and has been used recently by 78% of Ubuntu users and 55% of Debian users."

Does this mean that they track per user rather than per box?

I'd also be interested in architectures, does Ubuntu support anywhere near the same range?

I'm a bit of a die-hard debian user because for me it works well and doesn't try to hide settings and operations like ubuntu sometimes does. This is one of the things that put me off windows and I don't like it replicated on Linux in the name of ease of use. I also realise this puts me firmly in the "geek that likes to tinker" category.

Re:Odd stats - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481455)

"I also realise this puts me firmly in the "geek that likes to tinker" category."

Don't worry eventually that gets boring and you will want a distro that just works and tinkering will be secondary. I have downloaded and used many different Distros in my years. I was always in the same boat as you . I wanted to have total control and choice of the OS and applications. I wanted to be able to "tinker" with everything.

Eventually you will get to the point where you just want it to work. Don't get me wrong. I still like to mess around once in awhile, but functionality comes first. That is why I like Ubuntu. For the most part it just works, but I still have the options to play when I get the urge to.

Re:Odd stats - (4, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481505)

Debian *does* just work, for me, because I can see what's going on.

Ubuntu has hidden more stuff so that when it doesn't work it's hard to figure out. For me, a professional Software Engineer with a penchant for *nix.

I'm not missing any functionality either.

Re:Odd stats - (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481811)

I had the same experience. I installed Ubuntu on a machine I didn't care to configure as I would my regular machine, but after battling with Ubuntu for several weeks; I apt upgraded to something sensible: Debian. Ubuntu was getting in my way more often than it was helping. Maybe it is because I have previous expectations of what a Linux box can and should do, and Ubuntu just didn't act as I expected.

Re:Odd stats - (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481839)

Same here. I recently moved from Ubuntu to Debian. I eneded up moving some of the options around (like putting the Application\System menu entries where Ubuntu has them and put the power button next to the clock in the upper right. There are some things Ubuntu does that I do like. I just realized that I still need to figure out what the Pidgin compatible drop down is that 8.10 has on it's upper bar though.

I did it all the wrong way though... I don't suggest that anyone replace the default repositories in Ubuntu 8.10 with Debian Lenny Experimental. The part I love about the Linux mentality in general though is that I just had to wipe all the folders but /home, install Debian and when I booted up the first time, I retained all my settings, email, bookmarks, window colors...

Re:Odd stats - (3, Insightful)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481509)

I'd also be interested in architectures, does Ubuntu support anywhere near the same range?

I've got little experience with Debian, but can compare Ubuntu to Fedora and say that Ubuntu sacrifices bells and whistles that a "tinker" like yourself would prefer so that it can deliver ease-of-use. The most glaring difference that I've noticed is right at the very beginning while you're installing it... Fedora presents you with a list of hundreds of packages/application to install and Ubuntu (if I recall correctly) just sets you up with a system that's good for "most purposes" without giving you the same wide options.

As my choice for a computer that's doing anything besides web-browsing, word processing, picture editing, and music playing... I'd avoid Ubuntu. However, I'm proud to run Ubuntu on my laptop because that's all I use it for.

Re:Odd stats - (1)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481575)

The whole package selection options is dependent on the LiveCD technology. You can't deselect packages when you install that way, because it's just copying over the entire filesystem. If you install using the Ubuntu alternate CD, you have a few more choices. Conversely, if you use the Fedora LiveCD, you get the same lack of package selection. I do wish Ubuntu would make DVD images available like Fedora as well; they're a nice feature. Debian has them, but they're not as handy installation-wise.

Re:Odd stats - (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481603)

I don't use mine for much more. I have Debian on a couple of (ARM) servers and ran Ubuntu on my laptop for a while, until X started bombing out when it was in nVidia mode and attached to its dock. Tried all the available driver versions, including brand new betas, no joy, gave up. Went back to Debian and it "just worked".

I probably couldn't actually put my finger on what's different between them, in general, as user of debian testing.

Re:Odd stats - (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481673)

pppffftt

Why burden the end user at install time when you've got such a cool
package manager as apt-get or synaptic waiting for them on the other
side? You can literally start with the Debian net installer, use the
most barest of options and have a functioning system afterwards that
can easily add anything else you want.

You don't need an F-350 full of water bottles on the front lawn.

You've got indoor plumbing.

Re:Odd stats - (0, Redundant)

residieu (577863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481897)

Of course, after you finish installing Ubuntu, you can go in and add from a list of hundreds of packages/applications. That sounds better to me anyway, make the base install quick and simple, add your extra applications afterward.

So wait a second... (5, Insightful)

lowlymarine (1172723) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481397)

Using the proprietary nVidia driver makes you a "newbie"? When you consider that the open-source driver doesn't fully support a lot of modern cards (last I checked, everything from the 8-series on), and provides inferior performance to the proprietary one on most of the cards it does support, I'd have to wonder how you figure people who haven't yet replaced the included driver aren't the "newbies." Or perhaps it's buying nVidia cards that makes you a "newbie"? Real nerds use Intel GMA 900s!

Re:So wait a second... (3, Interesting)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481487)

I use the proprietary ATI driver.
I have Gnome installed, but my desktop environment is e17, installed in /usr/local.
I must be a newbie.

Re:So wait a second... (3, Informative)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481837)

I use the proprietary NVIDIA driver, but I just use the ones straight from NVIDIA [nvnews.net] rather than do it "the Debian way", or use someone else's bundled package. I wonder how many other debian users are doing that as well? As far as I know, this behavior wouldn't show up in the package tracking system. I do have gnome installed, but I never use it, also using e17, but I compile it from source using the svn repo., which also wouldn't show up in the package tracking system. I suppose the point is moot though, because I also don't have the package tracking system installed (I'm a big fan of only having the things that I want on my computer).

I suspect that my behavior is actually about par for Debian users, i.e. as TFA says, Debian users don't tend to install the default packages. I know I don't. I usually start with just the basic install and add the desktop packages I want because there are so many packages included in the default desktop that I don't want.

Re:So wait a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481495)

Ya! you nvidia newbs! my 900 kicks butt!
does roundhouse kick

Re:So wait a second... (4, Funny)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481523)

"Real nerds use Intel GMA 900s!"

REAL nerds use ASCII graphics, you poser!

Re:So wait a second... (4, Informative)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481527)

Real nerds contribute to X. *hint, hint*

On another note, nouveau provides EXA, which makes it faster than nvidia for 2D on all the cards it supports. Just FYI. (They're working on 3D, too, but it'll take a bit since nVidia's still firmly in kitten-killing territory.)

Re:So wait a second... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481559)

No shit. How about, statistics show Ubuntu users are more likely to want their computer to work and not have to constantly fuck with its settings? I'm a 15-year linux "newbie" that prefers Ubuntu, thank you very much.

Re:So wait a second... (5, Informative)

capn_nemo (667943) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481619)

Having *just* installed Hardy Heron, I also note that upon first booting the machine and logging in, an icon shows up next to the "updates available" icon that looks like a little graphics card, and when you click on it, it points out that you have *not* installed the proprietary nvidia driver, but by golly, click here and we'll do it right now! Which I did. Which helped performance. So while it may not be done by default, it's something any user would notice immediately (any user of Ubuntu).

Maybe a new install of Etch + Gnome would exhibit the same behavior, but really, if the OS *tells you* up front that you're missing an important (albeit proprietary) driver specific to your hardware, the likelihood of that driver then being installed is bound to go way up.

I will also say, it's gratifying to have the *option* to install a proprietary driver clearly presented, with a commentary about what "proprietary driver" actually means, and why / why not I should install this driver. Some will choose to use the nvidia driver, and some will not, but educating the end user about what their options are and what they mean is really a great feature in Ubuntu, and I think nicely bridges the gap between "must be free" and "just do it for me".

$.02

Neil

Re:So wait a second... (1)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481757)

The FSF don't even want you *suggesting* to download non-free stuff. Debian tries to be as close to free as they'll get.

Re:So wait a second... (2, Funny)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481647)

Or perhaps it's buying nVidia cards that makes you a "newbie"? Real nerds use Intel GMA 900s!

And those who use a serial console or an ssh terminal session are considered what?

Re:So wait a second... (4, Funny)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481711)

Dinosaurs.

Re:So wait a second... (1)

LeafOnTheWind (1066228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481687)

Newbie, no. But it does reveal some of your beliefs about free software.

Re:So wait a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481707)

When I installed Ubuntu, it installed the proprietary Nvidia driver, and a bunch of other drivers I didn't need. So I uninstalled them. Then I ran the 8.10 auto-update, and it installed the Nvidia crap again. Which I again removed. I don't even have Nvidia hardware in this machine.

Re:So wait a second... (1)

nobodylocalhost (1343981) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481877)

Agreed. further more, how do they know the data they got is accurate? i mean wouldn't we consider everyone who got tracked as "newbie"s?

Re:So wait a second... (1)

Kt.foss.zealot (1442361) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481879)

I use the proprietary Nvidia driver, and I'd really rather not but the nv driver does not yet support 3D Acceleration, and I am a gamer so I need the 3D acceleration.

Alternative to not having 3D acceleration is using some proprietary game console or installing windows or something, I consider these options as worse options for me.

I prefer free software and always like to use a free software program rather than proprietary when an adequite free software alternative exists, but I am not worthy as RMS is.

Not really a 'newbie' either, been using Gentoo for 3-4 years now, and while I am not a serious Linux geek (I'm a Network Engineer by trade, not a System Admin,..), I generally know my way around a Gnu/Linux box.

Re:So wait a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481953)

So what does that make people with ATI cards?

Screw the statistics... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481399)

Have you joined #ubuntu and #debian on irc.freenode.net? The former talks so much that my 24" screen can barely handle the message throughput.. kudos to those brave souls that give support in that channel. 50% of those questions are, why doesn't ubuntu work like windows.. :(

Re:Screw the statistics... (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481627)

50% of those questions are, why doesn't ubuntu work like windows.. :(

More important than the questions are the people who answer them.

In my experience, most of my questions in #ubuntu have gone unanswered. A good portion of my questions in #debian have been answered*. I remember once asking in the appropriate channel, not getting an answer, then asking the question in #gentoo and getting an answer.

* I should be fair, though: I installed debian first, and ubuntu some years later. I've probably asked a lot of easy questions in #debian that I didn't have to ask in #ubuntu. But even so, more recently I find #debian to be more helpful than #ubuntu.

YMMV.

Re:Screw the statistics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481861)

What is #ubuntu? Do you dial that on your phone? ... maybe users not steeped in geekdom don't use IRC or whatever you are assuming they would turn to.

Re:Screw the statistics... (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481697)

"50% of those questions are, why doesn't ubuntu work like windows.. :("
Seriously, what is wrong with this question? Noone is going to switch from Windows to *NIX, if they can't do the things they want, or at the very least have it explained to them why they can't or shouldn't in a non-condescending way.

Re:Screw the statistics... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481849)

Part of the problem is that people are not really guided by anyone. They hear quips hear and there about "Linux is secure," and have no idea what that means or why. They also hear things like, "Ubuntu is easy, you don't have to be an expert," again, not knowing what that means, and then they think to themselves, "I'll go for the secure approach with Ubuntu!" and install it.

It is difficult to blame them, since they really do not know what Linux is, what Ubuntu is, or even what Windows is. They should have done more research, but did not.

Re:Screw the statistics... (1)

slack_prad (942084) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481699)

Yeah .. if someone asks a 'newb' question on #debian, he/she would be ignored or asked to 'RTFM' or 'GTFO'. No wonder your screen doesn't fill up when on #debian.

Users vs. Uses (2, Insightful)

pieterh (196118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481403)

In my firm we've used Debian for 10 years or so for all our servers. Clearly the choice of packages is a big part of keeping the systems clean and secure, and the most exotic hardware issues were with RAID disks.

Contrast that with my last desktop install where a fresh Kubuntu can't do better than 800x600 until the Nvidia drivers were activated.

The main advantage of Ubuntu is the speed which which it adapts to new hardware, but non-free drivers is part of the price to pay for that. (Another part is the instability in new versions.)

Re:Users vs. Uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481935)

Contrast that with my last desktop install where a fresh Kubuntu can't do better than 800x600 until the Nvidia drivers were activated.

Not true, you can crank the resolution up much higher than that on the basic nv driver. You merely lose hardware acceleration, which for non-gamers isn't a big issue.

Debian user here (1)

Rikiji7 (1182159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481419)

Not partecipating.

Recruitment (4, Interesting)

pzs (857406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481423)

Since 2009 is the Year of the Linux Desktop (!), the number of Ubuntu users is probably going to continue to grow. While this is great, these statistics show that an Ubuntu user is not (yet) as useful to the community as a Debian user.

It would be good if statistics like this could be used to start grooming the next generation of contributors to these projects. Just because they're n00bs (and not necessarily programmers) doesn't mean they can't be useful in reporting bugs, testing new features, amending documentation, suggesting UI improvements and so on.

Knowing what activities people engage in will help decide where to aim appeals for help and how to improve and facilitate contributions at the first level. The larger this group of low level helpers, the greater the number who can be converted into more serious contributors.

Re:Recruitment (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481499)

While this is great, these statistics show that an Ubuntu user is not (yet) as useful to the community as a Debian user.

sure they're useful, they'll encourage linux developers to craft better interfaces rather than ones that will simply get you by with the more advanced users. Make no mistake getting people off of windows and onto linux is good for us all, and anyone who thinks otherwise needs to get their heads out of their own behinds.

Re:Recruitment (3, Interesting)

LeafOnTheWind (1066228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481791)

Make no mistake getting people off of windows and onto linux is good for us all

Maybe in persuading 3rd parties to support Linux more explicitly, but simply using Linux does not make them productive members of the community.

they'll encourage linux developers to craft better interfaces rather than ones that will simply get you by with the more advanced users.

A good software product is useable by its target audience. In the past, the target audience has been either advanced users or other programmers. In this case, the user interfaces were often productive and intuitive, if not graphical. If the user base changes, the interface should change to fit the demographic, but that does not mean that the previous interface was inferior or bad. Personally, I still prefer command-line utilities, as they can easily be run from automated scripts.

Re:Recruitment (2, Insightful)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481753)

Just because they're n00bs (and not necessarily programmers) doesn't mean they can't be useful in reporting bugs, testing new features, amending documentation, suggesting UI improvements and so on.

I am a programmer and even I never bother with bug reports any more, especially with regard to usability enhancements. All that ever happens is some dev looks at it from a technical developer perspective and marks it INVALID-WONTFIX.

The reason Ubuntu has so many users is that the developers get given stuff to fix, not comment on why they think it is not a bug. Quite often software developers are not able to put themselves in the shoes of a user and see how inconvenient or annoying certain "features" are. In these circumstances it takes a senior manager of type to come in and say: "We pay you, go fix this." or to do a cost benefit analysis on forking the project simply to get an issue resolved.

The only example I can think of of the top of my head at work is the security warning that used to come up every time I double clicked on a file with the extension .asf and be told that I could not double click to open those files as they were actually of type .wmv. Clearly this was never a useful security warning as the two filetypes are interchangeable. Even if it was useful initially after a year or two everyone simply started ignoring those warnings entirely.

Linux will only succeed on the desktop if the people who create it learn to listen to users criticisms with a more open ear.

Re:Recruitment (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481793)

It would be good if statistics like this could be used to start grooming the next generation of contributors to these projects. Just because they're n00bs (and not necessarily programmers) doesn't mean they can't be useful in reporting bugs, testing new features, amending documentation, suggesting UI improvements and so on.

Now while what you describe sounds like a idealistic world (for programmers and Linux enthusiasts) I think one could assume that if Linux ever gets a large share of the home-user market most people cba to make any contribution. Though that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

As person with above average interest in the dynamics behind Open Source software and the social principles involved I am happy to see the number of Liunx users expand. The more people use it the more it will grow as a system, and the more resources will be spent perfecting it for various uses.

However, I believe, that if Linux is ever to get a significant market share the philosophy behind a Distro (aimed at home-users) should always be ease of use, simplicity; balanced against resource efficiency. Most people are not interested in tinkering, nor doing any sort of bug reporting, feature testing or document augmentation; it be good if they did, but they don't; nor will they ever. By far the large majority of people using a computer today needs it for tasks not related computers in any way (if you discount the fact that they are using one).

I might have digressed a bit; but the point I am trying to make is the larger the group of users the larger the group of "low level helpers" will be; that is give. But the the larger the user base of Linux becomes the more people will use it that don't give a toss one way or another about programming or in anyway care about helping the makers of said software at all.

Newbies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481429)

86% of Ubuntu users use the NVidia driver, whereas Debian users do not. To me it means Debian users are the newbies since they can't install the better driver for their card.

Re:Newbies (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481469)

Actually it probably means that Deb users are not as interested in their graphics, less likely to be running a machine that's desktop oriented etc.

I know I have two debian boxes with no screens at all, so GFX drivers are just not useful.

Re:Newbies (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481949)

I have Debian on my Thinkpad T61 that I use for my primary machine and the integrated Intel card is not something I'd be playing games on so the default driver is all I really need. I do have an Ubuntu box dual booting WinXP for gaming with my nVidia 8800GT in it but I haven't booted into Ubuntu in a while because the only thing I use that machine for is gaming. I don't participate in the popularity contest on either box though.

Desktop vs. server? (4, Insightful)

sseaman (931799) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481431)

I run Debian on my server and Ubuntu on my laptop. I have no need for NVidia drivers or a web browser for my server. I also use more manually installed software on my server as there is no default server software configuration that will meet anyone's needs, while the default Ubuntu installation serves most of my productivity needs.

Re:Desktop vs. server? (1)

Enry (630) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481539)

Let me second this. I my desktop/laptop systems that run Ubuntu, but all my servers are running Debian.

Tag this one obvious. (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481433)

I know when I install Debian, I don't even bother with any of the major metapackages. I just install a base system, and apt-get whatever I need. That way, I know everything that is on the machine, and it's all stuff I use. Of course, doing this in Ubuntu would defeat the whole point, which is to have a well managed set of applications preinstalled for you. So it seems obvious that Ubuntu users would use a lot more of the same software than Debian users.

Gnome users (4, Interesting)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481447)

The relatively low number of Debian [Gnome] users is probably explained by the fact that [...] users are more likely to choose one of the dozens of alternative desktops.

No, it's probably explained by Debian's heavier use in reliability-focused server environments where a desktop is a waste of resources.

Maybe they ought to change those options... (5, Insightful)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481467)

> Debian users are far more eclectic in their software choice, less likely to use any default options.

When most of your experienced users think your default options are crap and refuse to use any of them, perhaps it is a good time to change those defaults, eh?

Re:Maybe they ought to change those options... (1)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481669)

All Debian ships with on CD1 is a clean GNOME with all the little apps included. I uninstall all that crap too.

Re:Maybe they ought to change those options... (1, Interesting)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481851)

Err ... no. First, using Debian is not mark of expertise.

Then, some people simply want to be different for sake of being different. Pwecious snowflake. To be apart from gray, group-think masses of dumb sheep that does not make choices. When confronted, making up hilarious points on how their choice was rational.

And among computer experts, those people are likely to use alternative OS for sake of not having Windows, Like Linux, and amongst those people, using Debian is certain fashion move as well. They won't run likes of plan9 or make their own distribution because *that* would require actual knowledge which takes too much time if you just want to make "I am different, adore me!" statement. They would play with packages alot thou. Using ORmail2.3.5 impresses people.

I bet they evolved from people whose first instinct on windows installed machine was to chance color scheme to "hod dog" and replace cursors and then diving in and changing every setting in control panels they can find.

Also, get out of my lawn, kids!

Interesting note (3, Insightful)

dfdashh (1060546) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481471)

Using the Popularity Contest package, these two projects collect and post weekly anonymous reports about the software used on each system on which they're installed.

In Ubuntu's case, the collected information is also used for software ratings in Add/Remove Software.

Cool to know that's where they are pulling their package ratings info. This has been tremendously useful in my family - I just tell the wife "I dunno, install the one with the most stars and see how it works for you." I'll have to install the Popularity Contest package so I can add to their data, even though I don't subscribe to idea of having a "contest" at all.

what? (3, Insightful)

X_Bones (93097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481475)

[...] Ubuntu users are more likely to be newbies than Debian users. The numbers reveal, for instance, that 86 percent of Ubuntu machines use the proprietary NVidia driver, where only a mere sliver of Debian machines do.

How does that classify a user as a newbie instead of just someone interested in playing games through WINE, or someone interested in graphics performance?

Who cares about binary drivers (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481503)

Regular people just want their computers to fucking work.

It's also why Apple keeps selling computers.

If you can't understand that, then you're clueless.

freedom? (3, Interesting)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481533)

Using the NVidia driver gives me more freedom, not less. It gives me the freedom to run 3d apps, while the open source driver gives me no extra freedom as I have zero intention of fiddling with its source code.

Re:freedom? (5, Funny)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481771)

Ah, but does it give you the ability to be a smug about your choice of computer software?

I think not.

Sucks for KDE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481537)

Seriously, *1/8th* across both the *buntus *and* Debian? Wow.

I run Debian on ARM (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481543)

So therefore nVidia drivers are irrelevant to me - does that get factored in, or am I "a debian user who does not use nvidia drivers" ?

RPM vs DEB, from a Mandriva user. (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481599)

I really wish that the RPM vs. DEB debate. I wish it would be settled. I have Mandriva machines and I have Ubuntu machines. I really wish that I could install RPMs or DEBs on both distributions transparently. It doesn't necessarily mean that there has to be the exclusion of RPMs or DEBs, I just wish that I didn't need to use utilities like Alien to convert one package type to another. I wish I could use both package formats, at least for non-critical systems interchangably, and if Ubuntu has a DEB for something Mandriva has no RPM for, then let the Mandriva box install Ubuntu's DEB.

nvidia (5, Informative)

Hierophant7 (962972) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481601)

The numbers on the official NVidia driver must be skewed. When using Debian, I've found it far easier to download the installer from nvidia.com rather than through apt-get, which would bypass the whole Popularity Contest project, I think.

Lower voting percentages (1)

kabloom (755503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481735)

Ubuntu presents much lower voting percentages (quoted) than Debian. "Votes" are known to be highly inaccurate becuase it depends on atime, which can be disabled (noatime) or updated artificially from popcon's perspective by backup software. I wonder whether this is some systematic thing such as Ubuntu defaulting to mounting drives with noatime.

These issues are discussed at Debian bug 298760 [debian.org] .

noatime (1)

massysett (910130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481787)

/usr/share/doc/popularity-contest/FAQ points out that the popcon uses atimes to determine when software was last used (indeed, what could work for this other than atimes?) It won't report usage stats if /usr is mounted noatime. This could skew usage statistics quite a bit.

Proprietary NVidia driver (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 5 years ago | (#26481815)

What's the problem of using the proprietary NVidia driver? I don't use Ubunty, nor Debian (but Archlinux), and of course I use the proprietary NVidia driver. It rocks! It works! I can play DirectX 9 games released in 2008, in Wine! What has this got to do with being novice or not?

makes perfect sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481843)

Ubuntu has been marketed for years as a friendly, more entry-level type of linux for the average user. Of course they're more likely to keep more of the default options.

The author seems to ignore tool limitations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481903)

The popularity-contest tool depends heavily on filesystem access time (atime) to detect recently used and recently upgraded.

And most of us mount things noatime or relatime nowadays... which will royally screw up some of the numbers...

sudo apt-get install popularity-contest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26481933)

It's in Ubuntu main component. I do my part.

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