The other day I posted a poll which asked "If you were to ditch Windows, would you go to Linux or Mac?" The results of that poll are, I think, very interesting.
Out of just under 3,000 respondents, 46% indicated a preference for Linux in the event of them abandoning Windows while 43% indicated a preference for Mac. But what's really interesting is the 11% who state that they'd switch to an environment where there was a mixture of the two operating systems. What's interesting about this is that it means that there's a growing interesting in the adoption of a more agnostic approach to operating systems.
The numbers also fit in with the trend that I'm seeing. If you look at the broad picture it's easy to think that pretty much every computer sold comes with Windows pre-installed. Worldwide, the numbers of PC sold last quarter was about 60 million while Mac squeezed out 1.75 million. Cut that another way and you have a worldwide sales market share of about 97% for the PC and about 3% for Mac (Mac sales are higher in the US but this is to be expected given the overall level of affluence). Linux is virtually impossible to represent in these numbers.
However, if you look at the fringes of these numbers there's some interesting dynamics at play. First off, there are distinct segments of buyers. Those with a basic working knowledge of Windows are migrating to Mac because they perceive it as being simpler than Windows. Those migrating to Linux seem to be the ones who have a really good working knowledge of Windows (and computing in general). But what that 11% who are interested in a mixed environment suggests to me is that there's a growing segment of users who realize that an operating system isn't a "one size fits all" thing. Users with multiple PCs at home (or maybe a home office or small office) are starting to think about customizing the operating system to meet the specific needs of the system. An era where people choose and customize their systems for specific tasks will be an exciting one, and one that becomes possible as more people have more than one PC.