Ubuntu User Surveys 2012 – Part 3


So as promised let’s take a look a the next set of results from the Ubuntu Survey.  I am going to bundle together the broader world of Ubuntu looking at other OSes people use, Ubuntu One usage, whether people are interested in the new products announced and likelihood to purchase Ubuntu pre-installed. As usual where I see significant demographic or geographic differences I will highlight them. Where I don’t I will use the global survey as the data source.  Read the first blog post if you are not clear on what I mean.

Ubuntu One Usage

Simply I wanted to ask what percentage of people used Ubuntu One. The figures are completely consistent across the various regions as you can see in the table.

Ubuntu One? English Spanish Portuguese
Yes 42.3% 42.5% 40%
No 57.3% 57.5% 60%


Across ages* there is a skew towards younger people being more likely to use it but not a significant one. We see the same in other geos.

Ubuntu Users by age in the English Language Survey


So while Ubuntu One is a freemium service integrated into the product and provides a lot of services for free, I was still pretty impressed by the level of usage in the surveys given the number of perceived and actual competitor for a great many of Ubuntu One’s services.

Interest in Ubuntu’s announced new products

In the last few months Canonical has announced its intention to find partners to release a number of new form factors for Ubuntu with details released on two (Ubuntu TV and Ubuntu for Android) and less detail on the the Ubuntu for tablets and for phones. None are in market so we are asking about intention here with the understanding that they have not yet seen a product on which to form a definitive judgement.

Ubuntu English language respondents intention to use new Ubuntu products


There is no significant variance in age or geo. We are seeing strong interest in products especially as these products will by and large need to be purchased – that is I need to buy a TV,  phone or tablet in order to experience Ubuntu on it. Again, we are polling intention and clearly a large amount of weight on the final decision to buy will depend on the quality and cost of the hardware, the software and the data. But let’s couple this with willingness to purchase Ubuntu on any device.

Willingness to purchase Ubuntu on a new device


Without specifying the device therefore including PCs, netbooks etc we see the willingness to buy, by region, by age in ascending willingness over the next 3 images

So for once we are seeing significant variance internationally. There is a much higher predisposition to purchase in the Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking nations. It is hard to speculate as to the reason for this based on the data we have, but if we take it as a fact it gives even more often incentive to our partners looking to supply those regions. In fact there seems to very much be a global demand that is  currently unmet. Quality machines featuring Ubuntu appear to have a ready market.

A broad church – other technologies our users use.

Finally for this post – just to show we are not monotheistic in our technology but recognise other gods beyond Ubuntu, who thought it would be useful to get a picture of other operating systems that people use. Some OSes are specific to certain types of devices so we see a picture of Ubuntu users preferred mobile devices also.


Windows clearly is still in wide usage amongst our user base – whether at work, school or home would need further investigation. This might be somewhat surprising to those who think of Linux communities as ‘fringe’ or ‘zealots’. Clearly there is a lot of living in the real world and whether by choice or not there is a considerable use of other operating systems by the Ubuntu user base.

Android is racing into second place overall and a clear favourite for mobile devices amongst our users. Mac usage is strong but is one OS that drops significantly from English to Spanish to Portuguese users and is probably less prevalent overall than it is in the general population but it is hard to get reliable numbers on that to compare.

Stronger though is other Linux and other Ubuntu. Where Linux Mint is placed between those two categories is unclear – perhaps we will call it out specifically next time. Symbian/Nokia has a surprisingly low reported usage. Probably somewhat ahead of world trends. However it all reinforces the moves that Ubuntu has made through Ubuntu One, Ubuntu for Android, and other initiatives that to succeed in the broader marketplace, the more solutions that embrace other platforms and work well with them the better it serves the Ubuntu user base also.


So the survey is telling us  that there is a strong propensity in the user base to buy an Ubuntu machine and perhaps not a single machine but multiple devices featuring Ubuntu. This propensity only seems to get stronger in Latin America and Iberia. Given the heterogeneity of OS usage it is also important to make sure that we continue to develop a platform that plays nice with others which seems to be correctly prioritised on the product roadmaps.

I should say that it is taking me slight longer to extract these data sets and write the blog posts than I expect so we will have to push the remaining one until tomorrow. Thank you also for the comments so and I will continue to respond to them as I can. Final installment tomorrow

*you might note that the age data tables do not include the over 55’s. This is because a limitation of the Cross tab tool I user only allows me to select 5 categories to cross tab by. As 55 and over had the smallest response rate I decided to sacrifice it. Full results avaialble tomorrow.


  1. Erik Bang Hansen

    This was a very interesting read. I was not surprised by the stats specifying how many people use Windows. I could imagine that a lot of users who aren’t “die hard” linux experts, this would include me, are forced to return to windows for software they depend on. I absolutely adore Ubuntu, and have enjoyed following it’s development progress since Hardy Heron. But there are two things that always send me back to windows in frustration.

    1. The lack of official driver support for devices. Having to boot up in windows to print or the lack of a properly functioning hardware is frustrating.

    2. The lack of “professional” software choices on Linux. As a multimedia designer, I heavily rely on certain software solutions such as Photoshop, Illustrator…etc. Although GIMP, Inkscape…etc are fine for what they are, they always lack certain features I need, and I don’t have the time or interest to learn something new and very different.

    Clearly Ubuntu is heading in the right direction. I just feel that more vendors need to get on board and develop the proper drivers & software to help find and maintain the masses.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Victor Andrade

    Regarding Ubuntu for Android. I have it understood that the primary focus for this project is to deploy it with specified hardware, and work it out with a manufacture for release in the market… If this is the case, I have a suggestion for a future hardware were Ubuntu for Android would work harmoniously and more important is functionality. I believe the Asus Padfone would be ideal product for release for Ubuntu for Android, because of the way this hardware can be configured depending on the users need/tasks.
    If your unfamiliar with this product head over to the Asus website here: http://www.asus.com/Mobile/PadFone/
    If you know what I’m talking about well, Let me explain the possibilities; the Asus Padfone as a phone the Android OS is a good approach even when it docks into the tablet (alternatively a notification should appear when dock to the tablet form factor, and provide the user with the option to use Ubuntu or Android).
    If the user need require productivity then the user will Dock the Asus Padfone onto the keyboard dock and the Ubuntu Desktop UI will surface in order to do what is needed as a notebook form factor i.e. Word Prepossessing, Complete desktop Browsing ect. I really thing this is a functional way to deploy Ubuntu for Android. If not for these release of the Padfone perhaps the next generation of the hardware.

  3. Robert Pogson

    The “other technologies” question is interesting for another reason. The response was not 100%. The whole concept of Wintel is that everyone must use the platform and everyone must cater to it. 76.9% shows that the monopoly is crumbling. A decade ago, such a question might have yielded over 90%. That even 23% of any group of users can do without M$ is proof that GNU/Linux is making it on the desktop. The fraction of people who now know they have an option must be very high. The last hurdle is not some deficit in the performance of GNU/Linux but space on retail shelves.

  4. Linda

    Thanks for your post and your information regarding Technologies.Most of the users are using windows but they find some problem of drivers while operating. But if this problem can be solved or contorlled by any new technologies then world can be easier rather than facing problems.

Add your comment