Ubuntu User Surveys 2012 – Part 4 and Final


I wanted to know what the reasons were for people choosing Ubuntu. After all there are other better-known choices out there. For the respondents across all three surveys, open source stood out as the key attribute, true whatever the age of the respondents and whenever they adopted Ubuntu. Curiosity was almost equally as important, and clearly the more people we can make curious about our platform the better.

English Language Survey - reasons to choose

Spanish Survey - reasons to choose


Portuguese Survey - reasons to choose


For what to users use Ubuntu?

There has always been a strong presumption that Ubuntu or Linux in general would be used as a secondary PC, to perform a certain task and largely for less ‘important’ tasks such as web-browing or watching DVDs. So we were interested to find out the degree to which this is true. While there is some regional variation I will just include the English survey in this blog. We clearly see that Ubuntu is strongly figures as the main PC for users with plenty of usage in other categories (users were allowed tick more than one response in the recognition that they likely have more than one computer).


As to what it is used for, well as you might expect given the results above it is used for  a mixture of work and leisure. In other words, it is what I use it for what I use a PC for.

Finally, we wanted to check how Ubuntu was shared – whether it was the family PC, whether people used it on their own, or whether it was something they used at work, in the library, in the college lab. Primarily it is a person’s own PC. The exception is the 35-46 where it is likely to be the family PC and shared with the spouse and children.  Overwhelmingly though we are seeing those who choose Ubuntu  being committed to it as the central computing platform they use, something which should inspire and motivate the community and the broader ecosystem around it.


How do Ubuntu users like Ubuntu?

We gauged this in three ways. How satisfied they were now, how likely they would recommend Ubuntu and how likely they were to stick with the product. It was nice actually to be able to take a rational view on general satisfaction that seeks to reflect a broader experience beyond the current maelstrom around Unity. The results were strikingly positive in the English survey and stronger in the Spanish and Portuguese surveys. Good and Very Good in the English language survey was at 80% with less than 3% in true negative territory. By any industry measure this is a strong showing. In the other surveys the positives crept over 80% with stronger reports of very good.

As to recommendations, again there was a strongly positive result. Again over 80% either very likely or likely to recommend Ubuntu to others (84 % and 86 % in Portugal and Spain respectively). Wow!


And finally I wanted to ascertain ‘loyalty’ to Ubuntu or the likelihood of the user remaining with the product in the longer term. A very positive response to that question and again true in the other markets (83 and 85 %)

One of the really valuable things about doing surveys like this is the insight that it gives into the broader user market. I have already addressed that that we would struggle to get to users who are not self-identifying as Ubuntu users because of the methods we used to reach out. But even with that self-identifying group it is wonderful to hear reflected back that people enjoy the experience of the product, would recommend and are likely to stay with it. The shrillest and most persistent voices are not always the most reflective of the general. Not that this provides an option to rest on any laurels, but it does give some balance to the discussions about the current satisfaction levels in the Ubuntu user base and their likelihood to defect.


Conclusion and the links

So thanks again to all those that participated and to all those who have struggled through these blog posts. I hope you found it partially as useful as I have. As promised I am providing full access to the summary results. You can follow the links









  1. Shayne

    lol @ 32% prefering the new UI

  2. Gosset Inofensiu

    Nice post. It would have been a plus to have taken another survey for the Desktop Environment preferences of the users. For me, for instance, I’ll stay with Gnome panel (gnome fallback, gnome classic).

    1. Gerry's photo Gerry Carr

      Data like that is much better derived form package analysis than opinion polls.

  3. Lestibournes

    That’s 32% who prefer the UI in Ubuntu over that in Windows and Macintosh (and perhaps all other graphical environments). I’d say that’s not a bad number, considering all the grumbling.

  4. Jarik

    Would it be possible to post (a part of) the database file for this survey? I would like to perform a few query’s to maybe find additional relations between answers. I don’t know whether there are any personal data in the database, you should probably not post that 🙂
    Whether you post this or not, I suggest you make good use of the fact that most people reinstall instead of upgrading to a new Ubuntu. They do that for a reason, which is that upgrading usually breaks stuff. Not much though, but weird bugs appear if you upgrade (such as touchpad that just stops working after being logged in a while, while a full Ubuntu reinstall fixes this). The upgrading process is something that should be smooth, very smooth. I don’t think the users Ubuntu wants to reach want (or might not even be able to) reinstall Ubuntu every 6 months.
    And, I would definately do something about GRUB. I haven’t got a clue why it’s so slow. It’s just a bootloader, but after I press enter to boot Ubuntu, it will appear to do nothing at all for at least 5 seconds. I know it’s not a lot, but it annoys me every time.

    Well that’s just my two cents. Ubuntu is awesome 🙂

  5. Donna

    Let’s stop bullshitting pelpoe. I don’t speak for the Ubuntu Community just myself and it is my strong opinion that Canonical can contribute to Gnome in whatever way it wants to. Additionally, I don’t think pelpoe will see any justice in negating or minimizing those contributions. There is a difference between questions and condemnation. We’ll let the world decide if your “super community” comment is just another example of the animosity I mentioned. Sad.

Add your comment