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Browser Stats For The BBC Homepage

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the edification-early-and-often dept.

Mozilla 260

Lord_Scrumptious writes "An interesting article titled 'The software used to access the BBC homepage' has recently been published on a blog by a BBC employee. It's all about the different browsers and operating systems accessing the BBC's homepage. The analysis is from a week of page requests in September 2005. Not surprisingly, Internet Explorer accounted for 85% of site visits, but Firefox had a very respectable 9.7% share. Even requests from Sony's handheld PSP device were recorded, but interestingly there's no mention of mobile phone devices."

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260 comments

*BSD is dying (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862510)

It is official; Netcraft confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [amdest.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

All I could get of the article (page 1 and 2) (4, Informative)

a.different.perspect (817184) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862611)

It started with a casual enquiry from a colleague - "I wonder how many Firefox users visit the BBC homepage?" - and before I knew it I was involved in a lengthy statistical analysis of the browsers and operating systems that request the BBC homepage at http://www.bbc.co.uk/ [bbc.co.uk]

Our old stats reporting tool at the BBC gives a breakdown of requests from different user agent strings, which is where the browsers and operating systems people use to navigate around the web leave their digital fingerprints. It is about to be phased out in favour of a new solution, but I'm not sure that the new system gives the same granularity of data, so once I'd started, I thought I'd look at the figures in some detail before the old system gives up the ghost.

Now if you've never looked at user agent strings, they are rather dull and geeky, and full of lots of technical gubbins like these examples:

        * Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.2; en-GB; rv:1.7.10) Gecko/20050717 Firefox/1.0.6
        * Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/85.7 (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/85.5
        * Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; America Online Browser 1.1; Windows NT 5.1; SV1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)
        * Mozilla/4.0 NETIKUS.NET GetHttp v1.0
        * Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; Hotbar 4.5.1.0)
        * Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE)
        * Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.5) Gecko/20031007 Firebird/0.7
        * Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0; T312461; BT [build 60A])

There are of course some caveats around the figures I'm about to talk about.

User agent strings aren't an exact science. Or rather, they ought to be, but in the real world the come out a right mess. I've done my best to untangle them, but I still ended up with a significant number of user agents that I could not identify properly. And that is before we get started on the corporate networks that use the UA string to broadcast their corporate branding to the world whilst masking their operating system. Or requests claiming to come from both Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 5.5. Or that claim to be from a particular Linux distribution and Windows 98 at the same time. Or the plain weird like the inadvisably named KummClient from Hungary that proudly proclaims 'Linux rulez' to anyone like me dull enough to be delving through their logfiles.

User agent statistics on something as big as the BBC homepage could almost be the very definition of the long tail. The most popular user agent string - IE6 on Windows XP - clocked up nearly 6 million requests. I only counted user agents that had made more than 50 requests, but between 6 million and 50 requests there were nearly 11,000 different user agents to look at. Examining that number of requests accounted for 95% of the reported traffic, but only around 1/3 of the stats report. I initially suspected that counting the whole of the tail was likely to increase the market share I derived for the quirkier set-ups, but a random sample showed that a large proportion of the tail consisted of the most popular browsers and operating systems, but with different installed toolbars or corporate network messages that distinguished them as a unique string.

And I must stress again, these figures don't represent the breakdown of visitors to the BBC site as a whole, they are based on requests to the homepage alone, over the course of one week in September. Nevertheless I think they provide an interesting snapshot of web activity.

In total I've examined around 32 million requests to the BBC servers - although some of these have been discounted as 'unknowns' and some originate from crawlers and spiders.

The complete dominance of Windows XP and Internet Explorer 6 is no surprise. Just over 70% of requests to the BBC homepage come from machines running Windows XP, and IE6 took 78% of the browser market.

In the operating system sphere the stranglehold of Windows is nearly complete - a computer running a version of Windows accounted for 95% of requests to the BBC homepage. Mac users accounted for 4.4%, with various Linux distributions making up another 0.41%.

Operating System Share of Requests to the BBC Homepage

Windows XP 67%
Windows 2000 16.5%
Windows 98 6.6%
Apple Macintosh (Various versions) 4.4%
Windows (Various versions including CE, 3.1 and ambiguous UAs) 2.1%
Windows NT 1.8%
Windows NT5.2 0.6%
Linux (various distributions) 0.41%
Windows 95 0.20%
Windows Vista 0.15%
Solaris 0.04%
OS/2 Warp 0.001%

 

Re:All I could get of the article (page 1 and 2) (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862645)

In total I've examined around 32 million requests to the BBC servers - although some of these have been discounted as 'unknowns'

I would be interested to know what percentage were discounted as 'unknowns'

Re:All I could get of the article (page 1 and 2) (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862696)

What's unfortunate is that Opera isn't represented here, or in the OP.

Some of us have been using Opera's tabbed, secure browser since long before this upstart Firefox came on the scene...and we still think it's better than Firefox.

Go figure.

Re:All I could get of the article (page 1 and 2) (1)

Dunkelzahn (106055) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862734)

Probably all the Opera users using the handy little user agent spoof thingy to make the web server think its IE. Just my guess.

... and this is page 3 (3, Informative)

YA_Python_dev (885173) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862701)

Windows Operating System Share

Concentrating on just Windows alone we can see that Microsoft have done a very thorough job of converting their user base to the most recent iteration of the software. Windows XP accounts for just under 70.5% of the Windows requests, and Windows 2000 a further 17.4%. That means in total around 88% of users of Microsoft Operating System products are using the two most recent consumer releases.

Windows 98 features in 7% of requests made from a computer running a version of Windows, and after that the figures are very small in terms of market share. In fact the next largest figures is a clump of 'Windows other' including Windows CE, and various unspecific Windows NT user-agents that I couldn't pin down to a precise version.

Operating System Share of Windows Requests to the BBC Homepage
Windows XP - - - 70.5%
Windows 2000 - - 17.4%
Windows 98 - - - 6.99%
Windows (Various versions including CE, 3.1 and ambiguous UAs) - 2.23%
Windows NT - - - 1.90%
Windows NT5.2 -- 0.63%
Windows 95 - - - 0.21%
Windows Vista -- 0.16%


Chart illustrating the version share of visits to the BBC homepage using Windows software

Mac Operating System Share

I was frustrated in my attempts to similarly breakdown the different versions of the Mac OS that people were using to request the BBC homepage. I established that from the requests we saw I could identify Panther as supplying 31%, Tiger supplying 21%, with Jaguar lagging behind at 3%. However there were 41% of requests where I could identify that the computer was a Mac, but not the specific version. That is because Safari helpfully supplies in the user agent string the WebKit build, allowing the precise version of the OS to be identified, but most other browsers do not.

Linux Requests To The BBC Homepage

The number of Linux requests to the BBC homepage was very small, representing only 0.41% - less than 100,000 - of the 32 million requests included in this study. With such a comparatively low number I didn't take the time to delve into which different distributions were driving the requests.

The figures may, however, mask a slightly higher use of Linux. Since the user agents generated are more likely to be unique, they are more likely to have fallen into the statistical long tail. However I should add that my random samples of the tail did not show that it consisted entirely of Linux, in fact as I mentioned earlier, a lot of corporate-branded Windows networks show up in the tail.

Legacy OS Systems

We have some fairly strict standards for supporting legacy technology at the BBC on the client-side - but the long tail of older OS software visiting the BBC homepage is amazing. We still saw over 300 requests for the BBC homepage coming from machines claiming to be running Windows 3.1, and around 200 requests from machines claiming to be persevering with 0S/2 Warp.

Finally.... (5, Insightful)

odaen (766778) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862513)

Finally some reliable website records which arn't off some obscure coding page. :)

Re:Finally.... (2, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862666)

No, it's still unreliable. You simply can't correlate traffic to visitors. That's not the way HTTP works. httpd log analysis can tell you many interesting things, but mainly concerning the load on the server. Any attempt to read more into it is based on assumptions that are not only wrong, but wrong by an unknowable amount.

This is true every time somebody posts some bullshit story about how Firefox has a growing portion of the market, and every time somebody posts some bullshit story about how Firefox has a shrinking portion of the market. Even something as simple as AOL tweaking their cache configs can throw off the numbers by a large amount. Sure, it might make you feel good to look at your access logs and see Firefox gaining 1% every month or so, but that doesn't change the fact that that 1% number (or whatever) only has a tentative link to reality.

If you want to know OS stats, browser stats, or anything like that, you need to conduct an actual survey, and not simple observation of HTTP traffic, because if you are doing the latter, you might as well make up your numbers based on your best guess, because it has just as good a chance of being as accurate.

Re:Finally.... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862758)

And such a survey, assuming it is voluntarily, would be reliable?

I dare bet that FireFox users are MUCH more willing to fill in a survey about webbrowser usage than MSIE users.

I would honestly trust traffic logs a lot more than a survey on this matter. Say 10% of people use FireFox, then log stats might show anything from 5 to 20%, in a survey, it might easily show as 50% simply because FireFox users typically care more about their browser, afterall, they took the time and effort to install a different browser/OS.

Re:Finally.... (5, Informative)

searlea (95882) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862761)

You make a good point, that cache config can affect the amount of traffic directly hitting your website, and therefore affects your logs.

However, given the headers returned by the BBC site, caches should NOT cache the HTML, as the headers say the content expires immediately:

Expires: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 11:57:59 GMT
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 11:57:59 GMT
Content-Type: text/html
Server: Zeus/4.2
Cache-Control: max-age=0

So, the BBC figures may be more accurate than you think.

Early adopters (1)

Peyote Pekka (635641) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862687)

Smuggness about browser stats for general sites is fine. Don't let that distract you from the fact that early adopters pick up first what everyone else will be using later on. Those sites now frequented more by early adopters of ICT are using more Firefox than the general sites. That doesn't mean Firefox is niche or MSIE will always dominate, it means that those sites are preview of what we will probably see on the general sites.

Re:Early adopters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862702)

Just like Linux on desktop right? Or is that revolution still to come?

Mobile devices (4, Informative)

griffinn (240043) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862519)

There are specific editions [bbc.co.uk] for mobile devices. It's no wonder that they don't access the the front page directly.

Many people go to BBC, CNN and other major sites through their mobile service provider's front pages. These would naturally point to the dedicated mobile editions too.

Re:Mobile devices (2, Insightful)

corbs (878524) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862628)

Also those web savvy enough to be using firefox would go directly to the section of the bbc webby they need (like news.bbc.co.uk). I find nothing particularly useful about the bbc homepage.

Re:Mobile devices (1)

Macka (9388) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862647)


Ditto. Thats exactly what I do. He may mention something about this on the other pages in his blog, but I can't tell cos of the /. effect.

Re:Mobile devices (1)

Macka (9388) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862659)


Yep. That WAP site is the home page on my mobile, and I probably use their traffic info page more than the others. I use it almost daily when walking to the car to check for reports of problems on the M4 before going to/from work.

errr (5, Insightful)

scenestar (828656) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862523)


Linux (various distributions) 0.41%

Windows Vista 0.15%

  MSFT's unreleased os has nearly the same market share as linux?

We've got a long way to go.

Re:errr (0)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862552)

> MSFT's unreleased os has nearly the same market share as linux?
> We've got a long way to go.

I wouldn't say so. Most linux people use a browser string to look like windows so sites wont reject them.

Linux market share is about double Mac so its probably about 8 or 9 % so some of that Windows stat is actually Linux.

Not a fair comparison

Re:errr (4, Insightful)

odaen (766778) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862564)

So what you are saying is that 1 in 11 people I walk up to on the street will be using Linux?

I think not.

Re:errr (1)

m4dm4n (888871) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862718)

A quote that is particularly apt for this whole story: "Lies, damn lies and statistics"

Re:errr (2, Insightful)

Hey Pope Felcher . . (921019) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862569)

. . . can you please point out some sites that routinely reject Linux users?

It was once useful to make sites think that you were visiting using a different browser other than IE, but, for the vast majority of web sites, those days are long gone. I have never, on the other hand, had to pretend to be using another OS to visit a site, never.

I would be greatly intrigued if you could give some examples that require you to be identified as using Windows.

Re:errr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862617)

It is not as common to check for a specific browser as it used to be. Mostly because the checks were done by clueless web programmers that "optimized" for some web browser and refused to let others see his "work of art" with anything less than would allow it to be displayed to his idea of perfection. Of course, people went around this by changing the strings and web programming matured to the point where stupid browser checks were removed. I think the string change just stayed in a lot of browsers because of the trouble it used to give. Very few sites check for IE and those that do are probably closely related to Microsoft in some way.

I only have a vague memory of visiting some site that turned me away a few years ago. More recently, I was refused access to the Wal-Mart downloadable music catalog because of my browser, which was complete crap since my browser didn't have anything to do with whether I could see it. I've heard of people who couldn't do online banking because of the browser checks, but that's only hearsay. The Wal-Mart was is definitely a current example, though.

Re:errr (1)

AlaskanUnderachiever (561294) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862746)

*cough*. . FEMA. . *cough*. . .

Re:errr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862603)

probably about 8 or 9 % so some of that Windows stat is actually Linux.

I take it this is referring to the Vista percentages?

Otherwise you would be inferring that NO Windows users (or at least a statistically small amount) use Firefox as their browser.

You're either a troll, or an element of the fanatical, lunatic, hopelessly optimitistic fringe.

Re:errr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862609)

"Most linux people use a browser string to look like windows... Linux market share is about double Mac so its probably about 8 or 9 % so some of that Windows stat is actually Linux."

HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

Oh, shit. BWAAAAAAHAHAHAAAAAH!!!!

Re:errr (4, Insightful)

Tet (2721) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862636)

Most linux people use a browser string to look like windows so sites wont reject them.

Errr... no. Most Linux users will use the default setting for their browser, which for most people will not identify them at using Windows or IE. Yes, a very small number of people will do this, but to claim that it's "most" is just laughable.

Re:errr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862649)

you are kidding right? you think 1 in 10 people are linux users for web browsing lol. ignoring other browsers not even 1 in 10 are even firefox users and of that only a percentage will be on linux. not even the most optimistic fringe would be putting linux near 10% of home users.

Re:errr (1)

Gnutte (907952) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862560)

Just put up some news on slashdot that's linked to BBC and it will soone change... By the way, what does the stats for slashdot.org look like?

BBC news, typically read at work (5, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862594)

So it's probably about right for UK business desktop stats.

 

Re:errr (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862661)

Yes, but at work I'm forced to use IE and Windows - as are so many people.

If it wasn't for that, I'm sure that the stats would be even better.

Re:errr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862683)

Well, most linux distributions ship with firefox as the default browser.
That has to account for something.

Re:errr (3, Funny)

YowzaTheYuzzum (774454) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862740)

MSFT's unreleased os has nearly the same market share as linux?

By that logic, Windows 98 has nearly the same market share as Windows 2000.

Windows 2000 16.5%
Windows 98 6.6%

If we all set up some bots... (5, Funny)

nmoog (701216) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862525)

...with a shiny firefox user agent string - we could easy get that figure up to 30%!

Re:If we all set up some bots... (1)

Hazzl (161889) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862695)

No need to attack the site with a bot net if a good old-fashioned slashdotting will have the same effect ;-) The site is already not responding anymore...

Re:If we all set up some bots... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862710)

No need to attack the site with a bot net if a good old-fashioned slashdotting will have the same effect ;-)

The power of a Slashdoting is insignificant compared to the BBC.

Point them at various microsoft.com pages (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862698)

Scare the living shit out of them.

 

Representative of Overall Market Share (4, Informative)

Mad Man (166674) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862526)

As of September 2005 [e-janco.com] , Internet Explorer has an 85% market share, while Firefox has a 9.5% market share.

The BBC's numbers are simply representative of this, as any large web site would be.

Re:Representative of Overall Market Share (1)

tgv (254536) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862622)

Is slashdot large enough? I'm sure their statistics differ substantially. A slightly lower share of Explorer, I would hazard to guess.

Re:Representative of Overall Market Share (1)

pomo monster (873962) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862632)

The summary you link to is crap. Where's Safari? Surely greater than 0.15% (Netscape's supposed share)? It seems they've lumped it in with either Firefox or IE; either way, like I said, it's crap.

Re:Representative of Overall Market Share (1)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862722)

slashdot is a largue website and it's not representative

Re:Representative of Overall Market Share (1)

after (669640) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862723)

Opera only has 0.23%, and it went down from 0.59%. That's interesting, since Opera is commercially founded, and it went free [slashdot.org] just some time ago.

It should be the opposite.

Re:Representative of Overall Market Share (1)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862745)

"The BBC's numbers are simply representative of this, as any large web site would be."

Well, they'll at least be representative of the overall British marketshare. (And yes, I know not just Brits visit the BBC, but still...)

I imagine for a large German or Finnish media site, you'd see a much higher portion of Firefox users. Many countries in continental Europe seem to have much higher Firefox adoption rates.

a start at Overall Market Share (1, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862752)

Actually, the BBC numbers show that IE has LESS than 85% of the market. The author was unable to identify or otherwise did not count 5% of the strings, non of which is IE. So IE has 85% or 95% of the visits to BBC, which is 80.75%. I'm waiting for it to dip lower than 80% on such a huge site.

It looks like the business world is learning. The BBC is a work safe site, so statistics should be dominated by corporate desktop visiting where the user has no choice of software. That's good news for everyone.

These statistics can be skewed by the botnet. The kinds of people who use botnets would be very sad if the world dumped windows, so you can be sure that DDoS attacks use a standard IE string when they are not busy taking sites down. Microsoft, judged by their record of dirty tricks, might even pay them to do that.

mobile devices (4, Informative)

nother_nix_hacker (596961) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862529)

The BBC provide specific pages for mobile devices. The front page is way too big/rich for a limited handset.

Opera (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862530)

My install of Opera is set to identify itself as IE to websites as I am sure many others set theirs the same way on install. So in that light, are those figures trustworthy?

Re:Opera (2, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862546)

There's certainly room for error. If we had figures for how many Firefox and Opera users have their browsers masquerading as IE, we could put together a cludge factor to correct it.

Re:Opera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862562)

The Opera browser is perfectly recognizable from its user agent string even when it "masquerades itself" as a Internet Explorer. It is hard to imagine a person whose job is to produce these statistics to not know about it.

Re:Opera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862596)

So it's still possible for sites to block access to any browser but IE as they have done in the past [opera.com] ?

Re:Opera (1)

Mugros (811343) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862759)

For Firefox this error has to be really small. FF never changed its user agent string by default. I had to use the user agent switcher on FF0.8 a long time ago to get access to my banking site. But then they fixed the site and since then i never had to use the user agent switcher again and deinstalled it.

Opera users just needs some self confidence. I have Opera and it is set to identify as Opera, but i am only using it for testing. And IIRC, even if it is set as IE the user agent string is different than that that the real IE. Only some stupid user agent string analyzers don't recognize it.

Re:Opera (5, Informative)

YA_Python_dev (885173) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862590)

My install of Opera is set to identify itself as IE... are those figures trustworthy?

Yes, they are.
Old versions of Opera that identify themselves as IE by default use a user agent string like this:

Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; X11; Linux i686; en) Opera 8.02

So the "Opera" string is here and easily identifiable.

New versions should simply use the proper Opera UA string by default [slashdot.org] .

If you use Opera I suggest to check that it sends the "correct" Opera UA string: the sky will (mostly) not fall down.

Re:Opera (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862681)

Yeah, but Internet Explorer still tries to pretend it's Mozilla...

Re:Opera (1)

GrahamIX (300998) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862624)

"...are those figures trustworthy?"

Um, you're the one mis-reporting your User Agent! They can only report on the data they are given. [runs away to find flame proof trousers...]

Re:Opera (4, Insightful)

peterpi (585134) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862749)

To the nearest few percent they are trustworthy, even with your Opera install skewing the figures.

We need to remember that people who do unusual things with unusual browsers are an incredibly small fraction of all internet users. The message of the article is that there's very rougly a 8/1/1 split between IE, firefox and 'other'. That message is not affected in the slightest by Opera, lynx or any other niche browser.

Variability by site (5, Insightful)

danfreak (876571) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862532)

Interesting. I wonder how much variation there is of browser use by other sites... I imagine BBC is higher than most in the Mozilla-bred catagory, as the BBC News site has posted lots of articles about Firefox over the years. I wonder how different it would be for msn.com, foxnews.com etc.

On a related note, I hosted some pictures on my website last week that were posted into a fark.com forum, 47.6% of fark readers seem to use Firefox (from some 14,000 hits in two days) - I bet slashdot beats this though!

Re:Variability by site (1)

ottffssent (18387) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862563)

The IE / FF split is actually pretty representative of the world as a whole. Other recent data points show about 85:10 split for IE / FF.

Of /. users who have visited my site from my sig, the split is almost exactly the opposite, 8:75 IE / FF. That's a somewhat higher percentage of FF users than non-slashdot traffic, but IE is in the minority month after month.

Re:Variability by site (1)

manojar (875389) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862613)

I wonder if that percentage would correspond to real-life too! Considering the demography of the people visiting BBC for news. Within UK, we can say it is true. But, outside UK, we have to consider that people who visit a site like BBC would be more inclined to use FF. Conversely, people more inclined to use IE (and support it against FF) could not be visiting BBC in the firstplace. Just my opinion.

Re:Variability by site (1)

a.d.trick (894813) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862620)

I assume the stats for msn.com have IE at about 99%. I mean who would intentionally go to that site if their browser did not automatically redirect them all the time.

Re:Variability by site (3, Insightful)

peterpi (585134) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862658)

I imagine BBC is higher than most in the Mozilla-bred catagory, as the BBC News site has posted lots of articles about Firefox over the years.

I doubt it makes much difference. The BBC news site is read by a lot of Normal People who either couldn't care less about what browser they're using, or have no power to change it because it's a work computer.

I'm really surprised that firefox has such a high share. Of course there have been similar stats released by sites like i-am-a-1337-linux-doodz.com and windoxxors-is-teh-suxxors.com, but to get them from a mainstream site like the BBC must be very encouraging for the developers

Firefox 10 percent!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862547)

From BBC..., Can we celebrate the 10 percent share of Firefox then?

Sampling? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862548)

From the article:
The figures may, however, mask a slightly higher use of Linux. Since the user agents generated are more likely to be unique, they are more likely to have fallen into the statistical long tail.

What is this supposed to mean? If he has the logs he has the entire sample space. He should be able to get the exact distribution. Somebody needs to look through their statistics book for a refresher rather than throw around big words.

Re:Sampling? (3, Interesting)

Spad (470073) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862586)

He had over 33,000 different user agents to sort through - why don't you email him and offer to trawl through the 22,000 UAs making up the 5% of traffic that he didn't generate stats for.

Re:Sampling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862600)

The entire sample space doesn't give you the exact distribution. Maybe you need to read up some more too.

Fatally Flawed (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862554)

I visit the BBC web site multiple times a day, but I haven't been to the "main" page in months. I expect most regular Firefox visitors will have bookmarks or just type a URL that goes past the main page.

The author does point this out:
And I must stress again, these figures don't represent the breakdown of visitors to the BBC site as a whole, they are based on requests to the homepage alone, over the course of one week in September. Nevertheless I think they provide an interesting snapshot of web activity.

but it should have been avoided

Re:Fatally Flawed (2, Insightful)

Deaths Hand (93704) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862635)

Indeed, I also visit the BBC website many times each day, but might go to the main page about once every three months. Most people (many are Firefox users) in my office have the BBC news main page http://news.bbc.co.uk/ [bbc.co.uk] set as their homepage, but this wouldn't show up in these statistics.

Site is already slashdotted (0, Redundant)

mahesh_gharat (633793) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862558)

Just only 10 comments and site is already slashdotted.

Slashdot stats?` (5, Interesting)

zerojoker (812874) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862561)

Would be interesting too. Browser stats, OS stats ...

Re:Slashdot stats?` (2, Insightful)

mr_tommy (619972) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862717)

You miss the point of interest with the BBC; it is the number one website in the UK and thus has a reasonably representative audience. Slashdot, however much we love it, does not. I'm thinking male, 14-30, pretty high tech outlook - implying a skew towards Linux / Firefox / etc etc.

Bottom line - the beeb gives us a good painting; it's not a picture, true, but it is a good picture. Mozilla folk should be pleased with themselves; their strategy has worked rather well.

/.'d (1)

sam_paris (919837) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862565)

Already.

Ah well, at least I had time to read the first page of the article, shame really as I was looking forward to that second page :(

Mirror (3, Informative)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862566)

Well, I for one couldn't access that blog. Here's a mirror [mirrordot.org] ...

How about Slashdot generating a mirror link via a neat little "mirror" icon next to the links?

Re:Mirror (3, Informative)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862584)

Damn, disregard that post... As usual they've split it into pages...

Only nyud.net links [nyud.net] may help then, although my experiences with those aren't the best and why I tried to avoid it in the first case.

Re:Mirror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862591)

Nice attempt to karma-whore... one slight problem. The first page is the only one that is mirrored! idiot.

Slashdotted.... (3, Funny)

MacGod (320762) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862575)

Hmmmmm.... Slashdotted already.

I have a hunch this guy's web stats are going to show a MASSIVE influx of FireFox users, then a long period of downtime...

Re:Slashdotted.... (1)

6*7 (193752) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862754)

New statistical evidence coming soon:

Firefox (slows) down(s) webservers

And his second report... (1)

mustafap (452510) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862580)

Will be on the visits to his webpage, when the server recovers :o)

How about stats on slashdot readers (1, Redundant)

gumnam (815935) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862587)

Does slashdot publish browser/system stats about slashdot readers ? That would make interesting reading.

It depends upon your site content (2, Interesting)

vivekg (795441) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862592)

First here is mirrordot link [mirrordot.org] , if you cannot open page (slashdoteffect).

My site and blog mostly related to Linux and Open source stuff, and here is my exprince so far:
OS
Most of the corporate users, uses Windows XP/2000 desktop
Individual user uses Linux/BSD/Mac OS desktop


Browser
Firefox rules
IE (6.x/5.x)

So it depend upon your site content, if you wanna see this stats they are here [cyberciti.biz]

No MSI build for Firefox - no mass deployment (5, Insightful)

ph1l0r (900728) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862595)

at companies that run Windows clients. I wouldn't bother to install Firefox more of less by hand on hundreds of desktops myself. The Firefox guys should really get a MSI build ready for easy deployment _and_ update. Firefox is just not 100% enterprise ready like IE is with it's managabilty by group policies. I wonder how many people check bbc.co.uk from their workplace. They might even have Firefox installed on their home computer.

Re:No MSI build for Firefox - no mass deployment (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862690)

i'm pretty sure there are ready made scripts out there to build a msi from the latest firefox release if thats your preffered method of deployment.

here at uni they deploy firefox on demand through zenworks like pretty much every other app they have avilible. I think they build thier own packages for that though.

Preferred at many (most?) companies (1)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862724)

i'm pretty sure there are ready made scripts out there to build a msi from the latest firefox release if thats your preffered method of deployment.

My guess is that this is the preferred method at most companies of > 50 people. I've worked at a number of companies over the past 3 years. This is by far the primary reason given for not deploying Mozilla/Firefox. MS gives tools to easily customize IE and push it out to everyone on the network very quickly. I'm working with a company now that realizes there are problems with IE - specifically DOM and scripting issues - yet we still use IE for the intranet apps despite these problems because customizing and pushing out Firefox and new versions to handle security fixes is deemed too much work relative to the IE answer.

Re:No MSI build for Firefox - no mass deployment (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862736)

There you go..
http://www.frontmotion.com/Firefox/ [frontmotion.com]
MSI installers for Mozilla Firefox! Useful for installing Firefox on a single computer for the home user or deploy across thousands of computers automatically with Microsoft's Active Directory. Use Firefox on your corporate computers to decrease virus incidents and increase overall security. Save time and frustration with our installer that is targeted toward the corporate IT administrator with manageability and upgradeability in mind. This is not just a wrapper around the exe installer nor is it another half baked 'captured' install.

Opera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862606)

I wonder if the percentages for Opera are accurate as Opera tends to identify as MSIE by default.

Super Respectable (4, Insightful)

Mulletproof (513805) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862610)

"but Firefox had a very respectable 9.7% share."

I use firefox and even I can't keep a strait face reading that line. I mean have some self-worth, man. There's nothing respectable about that. Can't we aim just a tad higher here? Especially if we're gonna tag on the word "very"?

Re:Super Respectable (1)

grimJester (890090) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862685)

It does sound a bit condescending. "Good boy, you've done a very respectable job. Have a lollipop."

As always, defaults play a role (2, Informative)

The Hobo (783784) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862615)

Remember, with every English-US installation of Firefox comes a preloaded RSS feed on the bookmark toolbar that points to the BBC for news (I say this as an avid Firefox user)

Re:As always, defaults play a role (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862631)

he said 'these figures don't represent the breakdown of visitors to the BBC site as a whole, they are based on requests to the homepage alone' so anyone using rss feeds wouldn't have been counted!

Re:As always, defaults play a role (4, Insightful)

IngramJames (205147) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862660)

Firefox comes a preloaded RSS feed ... that points to the BBC for news

Maybe so, but that's not the homepage, which is from where the stats were taken :-)

Re:As always, defaults play a role (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862663)

surely that would made ff LESS likely to produce hits on the homepage as people would be getting the stories fed to them directly by RSS.

Firefox comes with a "Live Bookmark" to the BBC (2, Insightful)

osbjmg (663744) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862618)

One thing I noticed when I installed Firefox, is that it comes with just one live bookmark. It is called: "Latest Headlines", and pulls the feed from http://fxfeeds.mozilla.org/rss20.xml/ [mozilla.org] But, this feed is the same as the main stories feed at BBC. I would figure people would click on these and get some more exposure to the BBC site, more than usual. This has actually made myself more aware of those stories, and made me more likely to visit again.

I run a website with 20% Firefox usage as of now! (1)

shaka (13165) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862634)

I run a website, a webmagazine in Sweden. It started out as a music/lifestyle webmag, and is now more of a collection of blogs, mostly about music and related things (sports, debate, feminism, lifestyle, TV). In other words, the visitors are not at all tech type guys, but it's definately an inner city, trendy type of crowd. I would not hesitate to call them early adopters. Nonetheless, I was amazed when I checked the browser stats for October after reading this article. WE HAVE 20% FIREFOX VISITORS! Please see below the figures for the top 5 browsers (not counting the mysterious "Unknown" browser, which is mostly RSS aggregators and its ilk):

(Sorry for the bad formatting, why can't Slashcode support the pre-tag?)


Month IE Firefox Safari Mozilla Netscape
May 64.2 16.7 5.3 0* 1.3
June 64.7 17.9 5.4 0* 1
July 65.9 15.6 4.6 3.8 2.1
Aug 66.8 16.6 5 2.5 1.6
Sep 62.9 19.2 5.9 3.2 1.7
Oct 59 20 5.8 3.9 2.4

* Before this date, Firefox & other Mozilla were lumped together.

5% not a good penetration for windows, non-ie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862638)



You have

everyone that went to the bbc: 100%
everyone that went to the bbc that used windows: 95%
everyone that went to the bbc that used non-windows: 4.9%
everyone that went to the bbc using ie: 85%
everyone that went to the bbc using windows but not ie: 5%

A 5% penetration on windows is not very good. It's always been that, going back to netscape 4, and even more before ns4.

Re:5% not a good penetration for windows, non-ie (1)

Toutatis (652446) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862725)

Have you assumed that everyone not using windows is using Firefox? I don't think so.

Thecounter.com has stats as well. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862657)

Thecounter.com gets like 600 million hits a month since they make software for many different web sites, here's a link to their browser stats for sept. 2005:

http://www.thecounter.com/stats/2005/Sept ember/browser.php

1. MSIE 6.x    62223734 (83%)
2. FireFox       5806423 (8%)
3. MSIE 5.x      3170911 (4%)
4. Safari        1311540 (2%)
...

Here's a link to their OS stats for the same month:

http://www.thecounter.com/stats/2005/Sep tember/os.php

1. Windows XP    54945908 (73%)
2. Win 2000       8468339 (11%)
3. Win 98          6806316 (9%)
4. Mac             2317188 (3%)
5. Unknown         1132090 (1%)
6. Win NT           473897 (0%)
7. Linux            322362 (0%)
...

Probably more accurate since they count more hits on a wide variety of different types of web sites.

Obvious solution (4, Funny)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862675)

The obvious solution is to make the BBC homepage the default homepage for Firefox!

LATE BREAKING NEWS!!! (0, Flamebait)

koonat (914245) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862682)

THIS JUST IN: Some people use firefox!! In an exciting twist on this top story, some people also use different operating systems!!!

Why was this posted? This information is completely irrelevant. Is the BBC homepage supposed to reflect some important or signifigant user base? Or are you just entirely useless?

waste of time.

Let IE and Firefox battle it out (1)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862684)

I'm all for a diverse browser ecology, it only makes exploit writers' lifes more difficult. I, for one, am a most pleased Opera customer/user and while I hope that Opera the company will stay in business and refine their browser for a long time to come, I also kind of hope that Opera the browser remains in its 5% niche where it attracts no major attention from mentioned exploit writers.

Small AuPair website in the UK (2, Interesting)

Kroc (925275) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862719)

I'm the webdesigner for a small AuPair company in the UK, our demographic is entirely UK Families and young foreign nationals.

For this month, this is the breakdown of browser access

5250 Views this month:
* 77.5% Internet Explorer (inc. Maxthon & AOL) = 4070 Views
    v5 (57 views) v5.5 (27 views) v6 (3703 views)
* 10.9% Mozilla Firefox (inc. Netscape & SeaMonkey) = 574 Views
* 02.3% Apple Safari (inc. Linux Konqueror) = 122 Views
* 00.4% Opera Browser = 22 Views
* 08.8% Other (Unknown, bots and rare browsers) = 462 Views

Even with this incredibly Windows/IE centric demographic (almost all being "regular" people), I'm very pleased to see a 10% Firefox Usage. The site only counts 1 view per IP per 24 Hours and ignores views from my IP and the Company's business address IP.

Microsofts true competitor... (1)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862727)

The market share of Win98 is bigger then Apple + Linux. That is a ten year old OS pretending to be a seven year old OS. And they say Windows is not stable?

Re:Microsofts true competitor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13862762)

Win98 is stable. Well, not compared to a *nix system, but it sure beats XP.

Most visited site in the UK (2, Interesting)

smallguy78 (775828) | more than 8 years ago | (#13862728)

I've read the bbc news website is the most visited website in the UK, so it's probably the best indication of what UK people use to browse the web. I wonder how many of the IE stats are Opera however.
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