The Linux Advocate is dedicated to the honest and open discussion Linux and Open Source software and projects. You probably won't like what I have to say, but hey, I'll probably be right.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Ubuntu now more popular than Mac OS X!

Whats up everyone? I was just taking a look at Google Trends and I found out something interesting. Apparently Ubuntu Linux has not only surpassed its major competitor in Linux ( SuSE ) in popularity, as well as the distro it's based off of (Debian) , but it seems to have also surpassed another major competitor. Yes, that's right! Apple Computer's very own Mac OS X has also been defeated in popularity by Ubuntu! Check it out for yourself. Here is a screenshot I took not 15 minutes ago. The blue line you see shooting up to the sky there is Ubuntu itself, while Mac OS, SuSE and Debian seem to all hang around the same general level of popularity. I've purposely left Windows out of this graph because if added, all of these OS's crawl near the bottom of the graph in an almost flat line compared to Windows' wild lead. Just thought this was pretty cool! Free software is definetly making some serious progress.


Anonymous Justin Cook said...

We of COURSE there are more searches than for OSX. People don't need to search for OSX. They just buy a Mac.

10:15 AM

Anonymous ryan said...

This is the biggest load of shit I have ever seen. The only thing being compared is the exact terms "Ubuntu" vs. "Mac OS".

Try comparing "Ubuntu" to "Mac" and see how well you fair out.


10:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also Ubuntu is releasing a new version in the next few days and that is liking going to increase everything also.

10:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ryan, you idiot :)

It is a comparison of Operating Systems.. Now a mac, you see, is also a machine. I would ask you to either start using your...erm..brain, or just stop trying to be cool by being an asshole.

10:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like many digg users pointed out : when you install unbuntu, you've gotta search for about 20 howtos! Maybe that's the catch...

10:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

lies, damn lies and statistics.

'ubuntu, osx|"os x"|"mac os", debian, suse' in the bar.

Nevertheless a remarkable graph by Ubuntu

10:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the record, I dual-boot my mac with Leopard & Ubuntu. I love them both.

Ryan has a point though, it appears that this statistic simply shows the quantity of how many times these terms were searched, *not* how many people use the OS. This blog is a little misleading in that the implication is that Ubuntu is being used by more people, when in actuality it is simply being searched more often. (Many reasons can be at the core of this: new users, unfamiliarity with linux, needing additional support for particular hardware, etc.)

Additionally, it is easier to pull all the searches for, say, "Ubuntu" whereas I think people may search for "Mac OS" or "Mac OS X" or "Mac 10"... etc. I know Ubuntu has a vast number of names, too... but generally speaking, i've heard Mac OS X refered to by many other names compared to simply 'Ubuntu'.

My final thought on this is that I believe this would be a more powerful statement if you had some other data to back up your initial findings. You make some broad statements from some pretty specific data.

Thanks for sharing though -- its good to see Ubuntu doing well!

10:42 AM

Anonymous ryan said...

Yeah, I'm the idiot.

This comparison uses a single search term for an operating system that can be described many ways such as OSX, OS-X, Mac OS, Mac OS-X, Mac OSX.

Tally up the volumes of all those searches combined against all the combinations of Ubuntu like "Ubuntu" and "Ubuntu Linux" and then you will have a bit more of a fair comparison.

And guess what happens when you compare the two fairly? OSX has double the total volume.

10:45 AM

Blogger David said...

this just proves search results

10:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your title is misleading as it lacks qualifying info.

Something to the effect of.. "'Ubuntu' is now a more popular search term than 'Mac OS X' on google" would be much more appropriate.

10:48 AM

Blogger The Markel Family said...

And against the big blue beast from Redmond:
ubuntu|kubuntu|xubuntu, osx|"os x"|"mac os"|"macintosh", WindowsXP|"Windows XP"|"Windows Vista"|"windowsvista"

10:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should update the posting, Ryan, explaining the mistake. Not everyone clicks through to the comments.

10:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lol I did this same search and laughed my ass off when the highlights for ubuntu were all security notices...I suppose any news is good news eh?

10:55 AM

Blogger Alexandre Gomes said...

Interresting thing is that even ignoring all the multiple options for each OS, if you add windows xp to the list you'll see that ubuntu is getting near it.

I'm not an ubuntu fan, I prefer Fedora, but I really think many of the searchs (comparing to Windows XP) aren't about HowTos...

10:58 AM

Anonymous Maxim said...

Based on what you are saying...

Firefox would be the more popular but you know what? IE still have 90+% of the market.


11:12 AM

Blogger Joel said...

Maybe you should try a real search:

11:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

News items or search requests has no correspondence to actual use.

11:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the rise in popularity also increases the amount of newbies searching for answers to their technical problems on Google.

11:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try "linux, mac" for a humbling result.

11:41 AM

Anonymous Tom said...

I still don't understand the big deal about Ubuntu...I mean yeah its an easier way to use linux, but it still is way more incompatible than Mac OS X you have to mostly rely on open source apps which are usually hard to install and use for the average user that Ubuntu seems to be catering to.

11:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, stupid post. He did not think over the fact that ubuntu is free and you need a mac to run os X.

Free is more affordable.

12:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If u add windows to the equation then ubuntu, mac they dont matter any more

12:09 PM

Blogger Folletto Malefico said...

Interesting enough, in the comments we have:
- the usual fanboys, touched because "their" OS has been beaten, finding a way to get "more relevant result"... whatever their OS is,
- the diggers, trying to get a more coherent query string,
- the shitloaders, that arguments on how much the Trends are unuseful.

I'm a Mac and Windows user, and I'm happy to see that "the most user friendly distro", Ubuntu, is gaining ground. Just as a search term? Ok, that's stll interesting.

The post may be wrong trying to compare apple with oranges (searches with shares) but still it's interesting, if inserted in the right context. :)

Thanks. :)

12:22 PM

Anonymous mark said...

It's impossible to get a result from google trends which would definitely say Ubuntu is more popular than OS X. Ubuntu is almost always "ubuntu", however "mac os", "mac", "os x", and "osx", "apple, etc. are all possible ways that one could google for information about Mac OS X. So comparing Mac OS to Ubuntu is just not a reliable result, especially to make an entire blog post out of.

But hey, if you're just trying to use sensationalism to draw people to your blog...well then, whatever man ;)

1:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trends tell about every thing? :-)

1:11 PM

Anonymous jt said...

Holy cow.. are you one poor misguided soul. Please.. remove your foot from your mouth before you choke on your knee...

1:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only thing this can be truly correlated to is rate of growth of install base and not the install base itself. Since people have a much higher tendency to search for something they are learning about and rather than something they already know about.

Another source of statistical error other than the huristics of "Mac OS" is that many people could be just intereted in Ubuntu and not installing it, which is the more likely case since it has been getting a lot of press lately.

1:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

C'mon now, try Ubuntu vs OS X vs XP vs Linux. Linux popularity is declining but still greatly exceeds Windows XP.

... lies, damn lies, and Google Trends!

1:48 PM

Anonymous Helcinco Cortez said...

The sheeple have spoken!

2:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know AVS Forum is a very narrow measure but I think it is instructive for a non-server computer activity. There has been a Linux chat forum for HTPC for quite a while and a Mac chat was added considerably later. The number of posts in the linux area is about 1500 while there are over 10,000 in the Mac area.

There are many people using desktop linux but that group is dwarfed by Windows users and even by Mac OSX users. Linux is an interesting phenomenon but it is wishful thinking that it compares in scale to the commercial OS's in non-server contexts.

2:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Google Trends shows 'searches' and not the OS being used to perform the search.

2:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the Chicago Cubs are also a better baseball team than the Houston Astros, according to this data.

3:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Blogger Plmrk said... — hey, look, ikea IS more popular than bible!

Next time read signs that are next to the graph and try at least somehow understand what are you looking at.

5:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The referral stats of popular websites show that as an O/S that hosts a browser, Mac is almost 10 times higher than all Linux combined.

Your search is skewed like justin said, because people don't need to search for Mac OS or OSX, OS X, because their Mac comes with it built in.

5:55 PM

Blogger Funduk said...

this is what the comparison should have been,

3:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's not saying much, according to

Ubuntu will soon be more popular than tits.

11:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you simply try with Mac (instead of Mac OS) you will see the trend being much higher. Ubuntu runs at about the same rate as the other Linux distro. I don't see the news here.

1:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one am glad to see the increased interest in Ubuntu (I have beta'd the last three releases) & I was one of the "original" beta testers for the "new" Mac OS (10.0.04!!)----but I would try this graph with several different keywords to achieve a "balanced" bit of information.....Still--I am glad to see software that a mere two years ago was not even on the radar turn so right for the world.

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