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Re: Debian is losing its users

On Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 02:43:37PM +0800, Wei Chen <wchenhk@gmail.com> was heard to say:
> The search volume for Debian has been continuously decreasing in the
> recent years, as shown in the search trend statistics of one of the most
> famous search engines. This indicates that Debian is losing its users,
> e.g. about 50% in the last 3 years.

  So is Linux, apparently.


  That decline looks quite linear to me.  At this rate, in another three
years there will be no Linux users.  Doomed!  We're all doomed!

  Red Hat is in trouble too, it looks like.  And they even pay


  A little more seriously:

  Exactly what statistic is calculated by that page and what's the
methodology for deriving it?  According to Wikipedia, which is of course
never ever wrong or mistaken:

> The horizontal axis of the main graph represents time (starting from
> some time in 2004), and the vertical is how often a term is searched for
> relative to the total number of searches, globally.

  So what that actually says is that the *proportion* of searches for
Debian has fallen by a factor of two.  I would tend to expect that an
increase in search volume would not affect all search terms equally: if
we assume that the increase is due to new users, it seems likely they're
searching for things that are relevant to them rather than for computer
operating systems.

  IOW, most Debian and Linux users were probably already represented in
Google; by definition they already have a computer.  What I think you're
seeing in those graphs (note, btw, that the Debian and Linux ones are
nearly identical in slope) is that a lot of people who aren't part of
the Debian user base have started using Google, and they don't search
for Debian stuff, so the Debian share of searches is decreasing.  It
might be nice to get those people using Linux, but there's no reason to
run around shouting about how the sky is falling.

  Google Trends is a cute toy, but its numbers aren't especially
meaningful IMO.  Check out the Debian vs Red Hat graph above: do you
really believe that Red Hat usage is around 10% of Debian usage?  I


  PS: people don't like ponies either, apparently.


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