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

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!

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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. 

Topic: Operating Systems

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  • Adding all the Linuxes together....

    .... it seems like they passed Mac OS/X some time. All the Linuxes, except Ubuntu, seem to be comparable to Mac so adding SuSE, Debian and Ubuntu together makes desktop Linux 3 or 4 times more popular than OS/X.

    Also the graph shows DESKTOP linux. Servers don't make Google requests so these trend graphs show RedHat as declining - and on the desktop it is, but it is still ahead in the server stakes.
    bportlock
  • Also...

    Ubuntu was mentioned in the media a lot over the past few weeks, because ex President Clinto used the word (unrelated to Linux) in a recent speech in London.
    jezlinux
    • Cool...

      got a link to that speech? :)
      Tony Agudo
      • Clinton & Ubuntu

        Like I said, it was about the word "ubuntu", not Linux. The speech was to the Labour Party conference, but here are some example links:

        Lashings of ubuntu at Bill's big love-in
        http://politics.guardian.co.uk/backbench/comment/0,,1882604,00.html

        All you need is ubuntu
        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/5388182.stm
        jezlinux
      • RE: Has Ubuntu Linux overtaken Mac OS X as Google Trends' runner-up to Windows?

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

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  • Makes sense to me

    Ubuntu is growing all over the world, and Mac OS X is trapped inside of Apple hardware.

    http://opensourcepro.googlepages.com/classicimages
    opensourcepro
  • IE's market share is 82-85% not 90+%

    It all depends on which set of data you use http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/10/12/browser_market_share/

    But it is either 85.85 or 82.10. It is not 90+%
    Edward Meyers
    • There are lies, damned lies...

      And buzzwords - how do you define "browser market share"?.

      You can't simply state a browser has a certain market share without first defining what that is, and secondly how you collected the data.

      There is no consistent methdology for collecting browser statistics - just look at the figures collected at w3schools, where the combined usage of all versions of IE is barely more than 60%:

      http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

      When you look at sites that compile their own statistics, the useage of IE is similar to that of w3schools. When you look at commercial suppliers of net statistics, the numbers for IE are closer to 80%.

      What does that tell you?

      As stated at Browser News:

      [i]"Caution: stats mislead. Caching distorts raw data; audiences vary for each site; methodologies vary for each survey; surveys miss important details; surveys mis-identify browsers or other user agents; small sample sizes exaggerate fluctuations; and stats don't count those who stay away because their browsers are not supported."[/i]

      http://www.upsdell.com/BrowserNews/stat.htm
      Fred Fredrickson
  • Ubuntu is harder?

    I have a friend who isn't very knowledgable when it comes to computers, and the most technologically advances thing he uses is gmail. However, he installed ubuntu on his desktop and his notebook and has been running it for quite some time, and he loves it.
    glocks out
    • Drawing conclusions from the data

      "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)."

      Maybe not... everything new comes with a learning curve, and maybe that's what's being tracked. I tried Ubuntu, liked it, found another distro I like better. I am pretty sure I've searched for help for Windows help much more often than for any Linux distro (heck, I've been using it longer!), and I'm sure I got less satisfaction from what I found in almost every case. Anyway, I figure that if you are 6, the whole debate doesn't matter, so my grandson is getting a Linux box for Christmas - and that, in a nutshell, is my opinion of how difficult it is to learn Linux!
      ElCuervo
  • When Clinton Talked Up Ubuntu

    He was talking up ubuntu, not Ubuntu Linux. The problem I have with this story is it doesn't differentiate between a distribution of Linux and a common word in Swahili.
    jplatt39
  • Not for me, OS/X is still better for what I use it for

    I am too busy to work with a work in progress. If I need support I want to deal with an infrastructure that understands the meaning of the word support. If I need to fix something then I want someone to pay *me* for it. I use Windows/Mac and Linux on a daily basis and it is going to be a long time before the Linux folks have a clue about support as Apple does.
    balsover
    • Same Here OS/X is the best Audio Platform out the box

      Logic Audio is a great Prof DAW & Garage Band(Mac only) Has no
      Equal in features & simplicity for the Novice, PC Heads will tout
      Cubase as the best but i was brought up with the Atari st1040
      midi Computer & started with Notator the predecessor to Logic
      which had better hardware support/products from the then C-
      LAB ex:multi midi out ports&smpte sync etc.
      johnpall@...
  • maybe because ubuntu has great howtos

    I've noticed if I'm looking for a Linux howto on a particular task, and I add ubuntu to the search, I usually get a nicely written howto. Other Linux sysadmins have reported the same. I'm sure this is affecting the search results.
    chadpete21
  • Ubuntu vs. Mac OS X

    I've been using SuSE for years, and have recently been converted over to Ubuntu --- it's an exceptional distro, and the only one I will use now. But comparing Mac OS X, to even a classy distro of Linux like Ubuntu, is like comparing oranges to apples. Having experienced Mac OS X on the Intel-based machines, as well as eyeing what's coming in the new release (Leopard in January(?)), I believe that OS X is superior to Windows, and with the Intel machines, it's not about just the OS --- it's everything else that Apple has packaged with it (kind of like the same intelligence that included more than just an OS with Linux). Each (Ubuntu and OS X) has their place, but it's premature to make this article calls for. BTW, I run Ubuntu and Win XP SP2 on my Macs using Parallels --- marriage made in Heaven ...
    bheskamp@...
    • Oh, I completely agree with your

      assesment. I too am a Mac OS X user and to make a claim like this is a little
      premature in my estimation -- regardless of Google's info. Perhaps some day this
      may change due to developing nations emerging, but not right now. I also run an
      IBM ThinkPad that I have been considering 'scraping' XP-Pro off of and reinstall a
      Linux distro. I have say, I probably have a wee bit more guts'n'knowledge than the
      average person, and I'm still concerned about compatability issues (althought that
      may have changed thanks to interesting insight here recently). I also see a lot of
      Ubuntu adoption amongst those who run multiple platforms/computers. There is
      truth to why there are so many Windows self-help books in my local Indigo
      bookstore compared to Mac ones -- because they are needed. Ubuntu is going to
      be big, for sure, but not at the expense of Mac. That title will most certainly go to
      Windows.

      BTW -- You have it correct. Use Parallels and everything is cool. Good job!
      999ad@...
    • I agree

      the comparison is pointless as I mentioned in other post.
      royalstream
  • Professional Software Holds Linux Back

    The problem I find with Ubunto and any other Linux distribution, is there is little professional software created for it. It is great for servers, but if you are in the video production business, you can only run an effective operation on XP or OS X. The professional level vendors just don't create for Linux with a few minor exceptions. The fact is that when it comes to real use both XP and OS X are far superior, because you can find professional level solutions for them. I used Ubunto for 6 months on one of my mac machines, It was fun, but it was a toy not a production machine. I have to say that Ubunto is the best solution in it's price range, But it or any other Linux Distro is not the best in the field.
    sugoiicreative
  • Means NOTHING ... pointless.

    Ok maybe it does mean something between two linux such as Ubuntu and SuSe, but Google?s search team comparison doesn?t mean anything if you compare it to Mac OS X.
    Why? Because Mac OS X users (myself included) don?t need to google for ?Mac OS X? that often!
    We don?t have to do endless searches such as ?Mac OS X driver NVidia XYZ? or ?Mac OS X Fonts Are Wrong? or all those kind of useless time wasters users should NEVER have to think about (but they do with Linux)
    Users shouldn?t have to search for font problems and drivers and I thank Mac OS X for that.
    But maybe I am being too hard on Linux by assuming that most searches are caused by problems. Obviously, there are people searching for ?ubuntu? for different reasons: to download it for example, or maybe to look for applications.
    But then again your comparison is wrong, we don?t need to download Mac OS X as it came with the machine and nobody would ever search for ?Download Mac OS X? except for somebody trying to steal it I guess. And we don?t have to crawl and choose between 1000 mediocre applications to find some hidden gems we can actually use, most Mac OS X users know where?s the software they need and who sells it.
    royalstream