A goldmine of computer statistics

This is the type of stuff that I love and will just stare at for hours and try to make sense of.

This morning, I read the story “How Mint became one of the most popular Linux distros“.  It was really an interesting read/interview with Clem Lefebvre.  If you’ve never delved into the world of Linux, you may be surprised to know that Linux isn’t just one distribution.  There are so many – check out DistroWatch and look at the page hit ranking on the right hand side.  It isn’t necessarily the number of people that running each distribution but it serves to let you know just what’s available.  I can see the few that I’ve tried here like KNOPPIX, Debian, Ubuntu, and most recently Lubuntu to see if I can’t get a faster experience than with Ubuntu.

Anyway, in the original article, there was reference to the Wikimedia Traffic Analysis which, unfortunately, was left unsupported about a year ago.  What still remains are the stats previously generated like this one – Operating System Popularity.

I think it’s worth a look up and down the list to get a sense of what the world is doing and how your choices stack up.  To be fair, most people don’t give a second thought much to alternatives; they just buy the computer that they want and run with it.

In my poking around, I found this page which defaults to User Agent Breakdowns which gave the inner geek in me some more fuel to think about.  The statistics by user agent take us to June 2016.

It’s a pretty busy chart and I feel kind of silly now knowing that I used my mouse to track an operating system across the page.  I felt that silly when I discovered that you could click to turn off and on an operating system or just hover over one and ask to see its statistics ONLY.

There were a couple that I was really interested in.

Windows 10

Chrome OS

It’s important to read the graphs correctly.  You should note that, while the horizontal axis remains the same as a timeline, the vertical axis scales to fit into the window.

What you can pull from this though, are trends.  It certainly looks like Microsoft’s promotions and the world adoption of Windows 10 shows growing success.  If you’re interested, check out the use of Windows 7 and make your own conclusions. Chrome OS shows an interesting pattern of use.  My conclusion is that it’s well adopted in education – notice the dip during the Christmas holiday and the end of the school year.

If that doesn’t fulfill your need for statistics, check out the pull down menus to see web browser use.  There are some interesting things to be observed there as well.

In terms of students, I think that there are some interesting discussions that could take place.

  • Are all computers like the ones that your school provides?
  • Are all computers like the ones that are purchased at home?
  • Does education do an injustice to students by not exposing them to alternatives?
  • Have your students ever installed or fixed an operating system?
  • Do they care and do they ever need to?
  • Should mobile operating systems be included in the comparison?
  • Does an operating system matter much if you’re going to be online in a browser?
  • What’s a Windows 95 or Windows 98?

How’s that for some fun reading?  Put at link on your phone and use it to settle a bet at your favourite bar.

C’mon Doug, what kind of bar would have the customers that would ever consider that conversation?  I hope to be at one in a couple of days!

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