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Re: Debian is losing its users

On Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 09:28:12PM +0800, Wei Chen wrote:
> Simon Jolle wrote:
> > 2008/3/26, Wei Chen <wchenhk@gmail.com>:
> >> Hi,
> > 
> > Hi Wei
> > 
> >>  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.
> > 
> > Link to this statistics?
> > 
> Oh. Sorry. This page: http://www.google.com/trends?q=debian

Lies, damn lies and statistics. 

So, sure, google trends show that there are fewer searches on the
keyword debian. I ran some other ones for comparison. 

Here is debian compared to red hat, fedora, gentoo and slackware, to pick a couple:


okay, that's interesting. They all show a similar downward trend. I
would argue that a lot of this is a result of higher quality in the
distributions. I was under the impression that overall linux use is
growing, and if that's the case, but searches are going down, then
clearly, there is something else going on besides shrinkage in the
debian user base.

Also, look at this one...


even the evil empire is part of this trend. And...


apple too... Consider that apple's market share is growing
during that time...

What I find interesting is that all of these charts show a spike at
release time. Look at just fedora and ubuntu, with easy to see 6 month
release cycles and the corresponding jump in searches. I'll lay debian
in there as well and you can see that we have the same, though smaller
in magnitude, spike at the sarge and etch releases.


What I find interesting is the much smaller relative magnitude of the
"new release" spike for debian. I would attribute this to the fact
that new releases are becoming so easy that there is no need for
traffic. THe migration from sarge to etch (still ongoing by the way,
reference a couple of recent d-u posts about folks still holding out
on etch...)  was so largely painless, that there is no real need for
all that traffic.

One thing this downward trend might be a sign of: slower adoption of
new users. It is my opinion that the more experienced a user becomes,
the less they rely on the scattershot support method of google and the
more they rely on real support from mailing lists like this one,
documentation, and their own experience. I know I do a lot less
googling for debian though I have more debian installs than ever. I
just don't need it as much. 

So who needs to google for debian? New users who haven't clued in to
the others sources of support. So maybe what we're seeing is a gradual
decline in the intake of new users. That doesn't mean that the user
base is eroding, just that it's not growing as fast. Frankly there's
nothing wrong with that. I think it's obvious that debian won't take
over the world, and that's fine. A reasonably sized, active, user base
is all we really need. 

Finally, here is one more trend graph to shows that in fact debian is
taking over the world. This is the combined impact of debian and it's
largest derived distro, ubuntu, as compared to ms windows...


clearly debian is crushing windows flat and will soon dominate... this
is the year of the debian desktop!!!



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