The future is coming ready-or-not

Ubuntu Server survey

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Ubuntu is widely used as a server platform, across organisations of all sizes, particularly for web and application delivery.  Those are the results from a survey of 7000 Ubuntu users that we released a while ago, in conjunction with RedMonk.  The press coverage was good, and now it’s died down I thought I’d add a few other thoughts.

The first question has to be why we undertook a survey.  Understanding how platform’s used, what users value and what features they want is incredibly important.  We use that input to guide our development, inform our decisions and focus our attention.  Open source development provides significant detailed and direct feedback, but surveys offer some other insights.

First, they’re a route to reach people that don’t take part in the development process directly – which is the majority of users.  Second, the volume of input gives us a strong statistical basis for examining trends – 7000 users is a significant pool of input. Finally, it’s an objective confirmation to qualitative feedback that we receive through other mechanisms, this helps confirm assessments we’ve made or trends we’ve observed. If you took the survey thanks very much for your time and input!

What are the main take-aways from the survey? Well clearly our users depend on Ubuntu as a server platform, it’s used for serious production deployments.  It’s used across a wide range of organisation sizes and industries.  That’s important because it tells us that our efforts to develop the platform, and spread the message that Ubuntu has a strong server capability are meeting with success.  It’s also a data driven stake through the heart of the myth that Ubuntu server is only used by small business or hobbyists.

Second, that our users value the key qualities that we provide – the heritage from Debian, the regular releases, the focus on a tight and efficient platform for all the common workloads.  I was particularly struck by the range of workloads that Ubuntu is being used for.  We see Ubuntu being used for edge of network infrastucture (DNS/Web), but also internal application delivery (Java app serving/Databases) and it’s starting to make its way into line of business (CRM/ERP) delivery.  These aspects are important because they guide our focus for future development as we make our way towards the next LTS release in 2010.

Finally, the range of geographies and individual situations where the server is deployed is incredibly exciting.  Between the geographical data from Shipit and this survey we can conclude that Ubuntu is used globally. From a large media delivery platform in Europe, to a school in the Phillipines, each is spreading Ubuntu and benefiting from it in their own unique way.  In the long-run this reach broadens the tent of Ubuntu (and Linux) supporters and developers.  If the next 8 million users come from the developing world image what we can accomplish!

My thanks to Nick Barcet and the server community who put the survey together – it was a lot of work but has been really beneficial.  I hope we’ll continue to run surveys in the future so that we can build up a picture of how things change.  If you’d like to see the results with a deeper analysis then pop over to Gerry Carr’s blog post to download the whitepaper.


Written by Steve George

May 2, 2009 at 09:50

Posted in Canonical, Linux, Ubuntu

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