Has Ubuntu Linux overtaken Mac OS X as Google Trends' runner-up to Windows?

Summary:Justin over at The Linux Advocate Blog thought he picked up on something interesting in Google Trends:Apparently Ubuntu Linux has not only surpassed its major competitor in Linux ( SuSE ) in popularity, as well as the distro it's based off of (Debian) , but it seems to have also surpassed another major competitor. Yes, that's right!

Justin over at The Linux Advocate Blog thought he picked up on something interesting in Google Trends:

Apparently Ubuntu Linux has not only surpassed its major competitor in Linux ( SuSE ) in popularity, as well as the distro it's based off of (Debian) , but it seems to have also surpassed another major competitor. Yes, that's right! Apple Computer's very own Mac OS X has also been defeated in popularity by Ubuntu!

If you key in multiple search terms into Google Trends, it will respond with a chart that gives you an idea of how popular those search terms are relative to each other (based on what Google users are searching for). Here's how Google Trends is currently responding to Justin's search string:

The blue line shows how Ubuntu has basically zinged right past SuSE, Debian (on which), and Mac OS in terms of searches. 

But judging by the comments Justin got in his blog, using Google Trends in the way he did isn't an exact science.  Pointing out that there several permutations of the string "Mac OS X" that Google users might be using, many questioned the search string he used, offering suggestions for ones that might return more precise results. Noted one visitors to Justin's blog,  Based on what you are saying, "[Google trends indicates] Firefox would be the more popular [browser]. But you know what? IE still [has] 90+% of the market." One reader suggest simply using "linux, mac' as the search string for something a bit more humbling (to the Linux faithful).  That said, a quick check of something a bit more reasonable (that deals with the various permutations) still shows Ubuntu trending upwards faster than Mac OS. 

One reader however reality checked that with a comment about how the reason Ubuntu gets so many more searches is because people need more help getting it to work (good point).

Perhaps more interesting is where the searches are coming from. In the cases of cities and regions, Norway is #1 and the US doesn't even show up in the top ten. 

Topics: Operating Systems

About

David Berlind was fomerly the executive editor of ZDNet. David holds a BBA in Computer Information Systems. Prior to becoming a tech journalist in 1991, David was an IT manager.

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