Posts tagged ‘Linux’

Are you using BSD or Linux and you don't even know it?

Hello everyone,

I have had two Open Source experiences with average non-geeks that I would like to share.

Experience 1 – The in-laws are using Linux
I spent Easter at my in-laws and while I was their I of course took some time to “fix” their computers. Doing some maintenance to their computers is a regular task for me. However, they had recent purchased a new netbook and it was the only computer that they didn’t need me to work on.

“You got a new Netbook?”, I asked in surprise. Not that they consult me before every purchase but I usually hear about it. “Can I see it?” I asked.

My father-in-law, a retired seminary teacher who does real estate on the side, went and got the new little Netbook.

I booted it up and while the average person couldn’t tell it was running Linux, I immediately recognized the KDE interface despite the fact that it was tweaked to look as much like windows as possible.

I pressed “Ctrl + Alt + Backspace and sure enough Xorg restarted.

The Netbook is a pretty cool system. It is featured more like a smart phone than a computer, in that it has a tabbed window and you have a limited amount of icons on each tab, including needed items such as a browser, a documentation suite (Google Docs), etc…

My son’s grandparents are using Linux and they don’t even know it. While my curiosity told me to figure out how to enable the root account and start hacking around, I pushed aside the temptation because it was pleasure enough to know that my predictions are coming true.

I said, “By 2010, Linux will be above the watermark of requirements for the majority of users, and will start taking the market by storm.” And I am telling you it has begun.

Well, you might argue that this one purchase by my grandparents doesn’t mean this is true.

Well, I would retort that it isn’t just this one incident.

  • Netbooks are very popular and selling fairly well among all walks of life, not just to my grandparents.
  • There are many Google phones that are running Android, based on the Linux kernel.
  • Slashdot has a story where Ubuntu is claiming 12 million users and Fedora claims 24 million.
  • My company, LANDesk, continues to get an increased amount of request to support Linux flavors.

Experience 2 – A friend of a friend needing to compile an open source app on OS X
My favorite Operating System is FreeBSD, which has a great desktop version PC-BSD. While these are not exactly Linux, they are open source and actually more free than Linux (see my post on licenses). The rise in the use of FreeBSD and PC-BSD is also increasing rapidly.

Windows is the most used operating system by far. Did you know that the second most used operating system is FreeBSD-based. Yes, Macintosh users, underneath the hood of your pretty graphical user interface (GUI), you have a system that is derived in a large amount from FreeBSD.

Yes, if you are running OS X, you are running a system that is, underneath the hood, very similar to FreeBSD. It has a nice ports system called MacPorts that is a very similar system to FreeBSD’s ports system.

Well, as a replacement for a Visio diagram, I used the program Dia so that some of my friends could have the ability to modify and change the diagram (which happens about once a quarter) as desired without spending way too much for Visio when they otherwise would never ever use it. Well, a friend of a friend called me and wanted to use it.

Unfortunately at this time, Dia doesn’t have a version for OS X, but can be installed using MacPorts. So I found myself showing the average user how to install MacPorts. Unfortunately, I don’t have a Mac, so I couldn’t write a walk-thru of doing this and I don’t know if the friend of a friend was successful in installing Dia on OS X, but still, this average user wanted to do it and wanted this open source app that was available to him only because his system was derived in large part from FreeBSD.

PC-BSD and FreeBSD are Two of the Fastest Growing Open Source Operating Systems Last Year while Ubuntu-based Operatings system lead growth

So PC-BSD and FreeBSD are getting a lot more attention. They are growing fast. Reports created based on the data from DistroWatch show that PC-BSD and FreeBSD are two of the fastest growing operating systems last year. Of course, despite my bias towards FreeBSD, as it is my favorite distribution, the numbers clearly show that Ubuntu/Debian-based platforms lead the growth.

Ok, so counts the hits per day (HPD) to a distro’s home page. Lets compare the hits per day over the past twelve months to the hits per day over the past 6, 3, 1 month intervals to see who is experience the most growth in hits per day as well as who has the highest percentage growth.

Growth in hits per day (HPD) between the 12 month and 1 month charts

Is one month a valid sample size? Of course not, that is why we are doing three month and six months as well. But lets look at it anyway.

PC-OS appears to have the lead here. PC-OS is based on Ubuntu (which itself is Debian-based). Other Ubuntu/Debian-based platforms showing growth are Debian itself, MEPIS, Mint, and Ultimate.

The only other base platform to have more than one distro show up in this list is FreeBSD. As you can see, PC-BSD is second in growth on both HPD and percentage, and FreeBSD is fifth in HPD growth and third in percent growth.

Growth in hits per day (HPD) between the 12 month and 3 month charts

Three months is definitely a larger sample size. Three months means we don’t have as much data skewed by release cycles which cause higher growth temporarily that will be offset by a decline the long months between release cycles.

Again we see similar trends in the three month reports.

Debian itself , MEPIS, Mint, and Ultimate and are all Debian/Ubuntu-based distros.

Again, FreeBSD and PC-BSD are on both the list. PC-BSD is second in HPD growth and leads all distributions in percentage growth.

Growth in hits per day (HPD) between the 12 month and 6 month charts

Ok, so the twelve to six month comparison is the largest sample size can get. Perhaps I should contact and see if I can get the raw data for multiple years past, but alas, I only pull the data from the tables they have currently available.

So now we see very similar data again. Seeing similar data a third time using this largest sample size means it is more likely accurate.

Fedora ties Ultimate for first, but the tie breaker has to go to Ubuntu/Debian-based plaftorms as they again lead Mint, Ubuntu, and Ultimate all on the list.

FreeBSD is on both HPD and percentage reports, while PC-BSD only shows up on the percentage report. However, again, FreeBSD is the only base open source operating system after Ubuntu/Debian-based to have two distributions show up between these two lists. For those interested, PC-BSD was fifteenth but only the top eight distros are displayed.

Note: For information on how these reports are created, see this post:
Using QlikView and DistroWatch to report on the most popular open source distributions (BSD, Linux, Unix)

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