Ubuntu User Surveys 2012 – Part 1

Canonical

on 21 March 2012

Ok, we got a lot of response to the user survey poll, so thank you to everybody that took part. I will publish access to all the results through the fantastic Survermonkey site on Monday, but to make it easier to digest, I’ll split the results out over three blog posts. Before I delve into the results we should discuss a little bit of the methodology in order to pre-empt some questions and also to help better understand the data.

Languages.
I decided to run the poll in three languages – Spanish, Portuguese and English. There were a number of reasons for these choices. Firstly to do it in English only would obviously bias the poll to Anglophone responses so the US and UK would stand proxy for the whole world and that would be clearly unsatisfactory. Secondly those language groups (S,P,E let’s call them) tend to be disproportionately monolinguistic for those that have them as a mother tongue so seemed the most relevant to having a poll in their language. Thirdly, Latin America is a very hot location for open source and I wanted to capture usage in those nations as best as possible. Finally, we had to draw the line somewhere. If you add French then why not German, or Chinese, Japanese, or Hindi etc. Anyone interested in translating the poll into their language and promoting it to their language group need only contact me and I am more than happy to accommodate – the story need not end here.

Methodology
I deliberately set out to contact existing users through existing channels for purposes of cost, speed and also because I think we can learn a lot from people who are at least minimally involved in the world of Ubuntu. So we reached out through Facebook, the forums, Planet, our Twitter feeds, UWN and OMGUbuntu. Thank you to all who helped make that happen. The result is that the response is broad but self-selecting. We are undoubtedly missing people who simply use Ubuntu as a ‘tool’ and have no engagement with the user of contributor community. But that’s cool. Even with a self-selected audience we have built up a pretty comprehensive picture.

Let’s see what we discovered
Firstly the number of responses. These numbers in each language groups give us terrific statistical confidence in the results, something we will see borne out by ‘normal’ distribution of responses to each question each survey – i.e. there are no huge or inexplicable variances in response which would lead me to question the validity.

Total responses to each survey:
English (15,653)
Spanish (1,825)
Portuguese (1,751)

How old are you?
If you are the mythical ‘average’ user you are between 25-35. That does not vary if you are Spanish or Portuguese speaking although you are less likely to be under 18 in those language blocks. In fact almost 70% of you are under 35 in each language group. And you are male. Overwhelmingly male. The average number of women responding is <4%. Here I do wonder how much the bias of the sampling methodology has affected the response rate  – i.e. is that for whatever reason the way we reached resulted in fewer women responding than is actually reflective of the user base. We can’t extrapolate from this data, but certainly such a hugely weighted response means we have to look at how we make the product, the community and probably both, more appealing to both genders.

Where do you live?

No great surprise that in the English language survey the US and UK were strongly represented. India appeared strongly too showing the growing user base in that country and we then once past the other anglophone nations of Canada and Australia we get quickly into the long tail of other nations responding. Northern Asia hardly appears at all which is not surprising but perhaps calls out for a survey in Chinese, Japanese and Korean to discover user preferences there.

The Portuguese Survey was 93% Brazilian and only 7% from Portugal. Spanish language is more interesting as I think we get a good picture of relative usage in various countries of that language block for the first time. And here it is.

Interesting to note (and again SURVEY BIAS ALERT) by population size for the top 5 it should read in order of population size (source http://www.spanishseo.org/resources/worldwide-spanish-speaking-population):

 

Mexico (23%)
Colombia (9.9%)
USA (9.80 %)
Argentina (8.99%)
Spain (8.95 %)

Allowing for relative IT infrastructure and broadband availability etc, the placement differences compared to population size are probably understandable with perhaps the exception of the US responding so low compared to its Spanish-speaking population. Use of Ubuntu is not so widespread that it should map 1 to1 with population spreads but again, like the gender bias these do perhaps offer insight into areas where, with some focus, we can help push Ubuntu into new ground.

 

More tomorrow

So that’s your taster for today. Tomorrow i will delve into the meat of the survey and look at the triggers for usage, satisfaction level, social media preferences of Ubuntu users across (as least part of) the world. And full results for everyone on Monday, I promise.

PS – a very special word of thanks to Tiago, David and Ayrton for the translation  and promotion help – gracias y obrigado!

Regards and thoughts welcome,

Gerry

Talk to us today

Interested in running Ubuntu Desktop in your organisation?

Newsletter signup

Select topics you’re
interested in

In submitting this form, I confirm that I have read and agree to Canonical’s Privacy Notice and Privacy Policy.

Related posts

What will be the biggest development trends in 2019?

What’s the most popular programming language today among software developers? It’s still JavaScript, with over 10M users globally. Python has reached 7M...

Vision Mobile: State of the developer nation infographic

Our friends at Vision mobile have just released an infographic featuring their top contributing communities for the State of the Developer Nation Q1 2017 –...

VisionMobile: State of the Developer Nation Survey

We’re proud to be supporting the State of the Developer Nation Survey run by our friends at VisionMobile! This is the 12th developer survey, focusing on a 360...