Ubuntu User Surveys 2012 – Part 2



on 22 March 2012

Yesterday we looked at the demographics of the respondents to the survey and some observations about the validity of the date. I recommend you read that post first. Today though we are going to dive a little more into how people first discovered Ubuntu and installed it.

How long have you used Ubuntu?
I wanted to establish if there were changing patterns depending on the length of time and/or the age of the respondent. That is, do relative newcomers to the platform or younger users use different tools to acquire the platform.

First of all the length of time that people have used the platform was remarkably consistent across the surveys. Given this level of consistency and for simplicity I will focus on the English language version.


Table: Length of time for which people have used Ubuntu

<2 year 2 to 5 years 5 years or more
English Survey 19.6% 42.7% 37.7%
Spanish 20% 43% 36.9%
Portuguese 21.1% 43.2% 35.6%


How did people first hear about Ubuntu?
So do people who have come to the platform more recently discover it in different ways to to the those who have been on the platform longer?  Well let’s see:



Table: How did new versus more more experienced Ubuntu users first hear of Ubuntu

< 2years 2-4 years 5 years or more
Magazines, etc 6.9% 7.9% 9.4%
Work 3.9% 4.8% 4.9%
Friends/Family 27.2% 25.2% 20.5%
School/College 11.7% 11.2% 8.9%
Forums, irc etc 46.2% 48.5% 54.8%
Social Media 4.2% 2.4% 1.5%



So the shifts are not seismic but we are looking at shifts information sources over a fairly short time period (approx 5-7 years) so I think we are justified in picking out patterns. The traditional tech forums of irc, chat rooms etc are becoming less influential as a first contact for Ubuntu. Social media as you might expect is increasing  as its reach becomes more pervasive. We might also conclude with qualifications, that this indicates a slight shift in the type of user coming in to  one that is less likely to hang out in a tech forum. But these shifts are slight and will be interesting to track over time. If we run it for age of user – do we discover anything there?



Table: How did different age groups first hear of Ubuntu?

<18 19-24 25-35 36-45 46-54 55+
Magazines etc 8.1% 6.0% 6.9% 10.2% 14.8% 18.7%
Work 0.8% 1.4% 5.5% 8.6% 9.1% 6.9%
Friends/Family 31.9% 28.1% 23.2% 18.1% 13.2% 18.6%
School College 7.2% 18.1% 11.4% 2.6% 1.8% 1.2%
Forums 47.6 44.2% 51% 57.7% 58.9% 53.2%
Social Media 4.4% 2.1% 2.0% 2.8% 2.2% 1.4%



We certainly see the trends repeated with regard to the remaining great importance of the tech forums but that the diminish at the younger and older end of the spectrum. Social media is still small but much more important for the under 18s – again in line with broader terms. The significant importance of school and college for 18-24 years olds versus the under 18s shows that Ubuntu has so far been more successful at permeating tertiary education than it has at high schools especially in developed markets. India for instance has 16% of under 18 respondents discovering Ubuntu at school showing its greater penetration in high schools there.

How did you acquire the version of Ubuntu that you have?

The result here is consistent across the survey and across age groups so there is no value in breaking this out. It does however put a number on a question that we have wondered for some time – how many users do a fresh install of Ubuntu versus upgrades in place. And now we know that is roughly 2:1 that do a fresh install. The low number of pre-loads is certainly a concern – reflecting the continuing lack of availability in the market. We also probably under-counted this as we asked about the version users are currently running versus how they originally acquired a version. Still the good news from the sales team in Canonical is that 2012 should see a turnaround in this availability issue at least in many markets so again, a figure that is worth tracking over time.

How easy/difficult was the installation process? 

Something our platform engineering team and the web team have always put considerable focus on is the ability to install Ubuntu easily. After all, the work in making a great product is wasted is people cannot install it. The good news is that the people have in general expressed a strong degree of satisfaction with the install process.Again there was no significant difference in either the Portuguese or Spanish response so for those languages at least there appears to be no  translation hurdle.

More to come

On Monday if I can get it all in one blog post I am going to look at the reasons for choosing Ubuntu and we will look at regional and age differences in response to that question. Also interesting in other and upcoming Ubuntu products such as Ubuntu One and the more recent announcements like Ubuntu TV and Ubuntu for Android. And we will look at the all important satisfaction questions, just how happy are existing users with Ubuntu.

Gracias, obrigado and thanks for reading




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