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Survey Says: Windows and Open Source Play Well Together

By Jack M. Germain LinuxInsider ECT News Network
Sep 30, 2008 9:07 AM PT

Open source adoption is growing rapidly, but adopters in U.S. are lagging behind European enthusiasm, according to software provider OpenLogic.

Survey Says: Windows and Open Source Play Well Together

OpenLogic announced Tuesday it has discovered more than 300,000 open source package and project installations in use around the world through its Open Source Census. OpenLogic initiated the global survey last December.

The Open Source Census is a worldwide collaborative project. The goal is to collect and share quantitative data on the use of open source software. Computer users may volunteer their machines to be remotely scanned and contribute to the census' findings.

Government agencies and the financial industry are among the biggest users of open source software, the census has found. Also, among survey participants, Windows users are some of the biggest consumers of open source.

The survey also found that OpenOffice, an alternative and compatible office suite to Microsoft Office, is installed on 73 percent of all personal computers that owners volunteered for examination. However, only 28 percent of enterprise machines made available for scanning contained OpenOffice.

"The survey will be ongoing. Starting in year two, we will have enough data to show trends of changing use patterns of open source adopters," Kim Weins, senior vice president of marketing and products at OpenLogic, told LinuxInsider.

Data Points

The survey results continue to validate trends in open source usage that OpenLogic has seen over the last few years, according to Weins. This second phase -- the gathering of data from system audits contributed by voluntary participants -- began six months ago.

The Open Source Census continues to uncover interesting trends on the global use of open source software as more computers are scanned, she said.

On average, government agencies surveyed have 123 different open source packages installed per machine. By comparison, financial services companies have 117 different packages per machine.

Governments outside the U.S., especially participants from the European Union, appear generally more supportive of open source software than U.S. governmental agencies. For instance, the U.S. averages 51 open source packages per machine, while Europe averages 68.

Linux Outpolls Windows

Perhaps among the most interesting trends is the use of open source software among Windows users. Participants who volunteered Windows machines for scanning averaged 39 open source software packages.

Open source was naturally more prevalent on Linux users' machines, with 87 packages on average. But that also includes open source software that is shipped with the Linux distributions.

The most popular packages are similar for both Windows and Linux platforms, with seven of the top 10 packages in common.

Ubuntu was found to be the most prevalent Linux OS distributions. Ubuntu Hardy (24 percent) and Ubuntu Gutsy (22 percent) account for 46 percent of the installed Linux base. By comparison, Suse Linux has 12 percent, Gentoo Linux has 7 percent, Fedora Core has 6 percent and Debian has 13 percent.

Government Push

The survey shows a solid movement in foreign governments toward open source software. Similarly, the financial services industry is involved in a lot of open source development, according to Weins.

"Governments are very welcoming of open source. The EU initiative is fostering best practices for which open source is very supportive," she said.

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