Monthly Archives: October 2010

Behind the numbers

The Linux Foundation has released a report, which claims that the adaption of Linux is rising in enterprises. But how reliable are the numbers?

Let’s look at the report: (the PDF is downloadable on the linked site)

The Linux Foundation, in partnership with Yeoman Technology Group, recently conducted a survey of 1,948 Linux users. This invitation-only survey pool was comprised of The Linux Foundation End User
Council as well as other companies, organizations and government agencies selected by The Linux Foundation and Yeoman.

So, only 1,948 businesses and organizations were contacted. And those businesses were not randomly chosen  but  are either members of an organization that is run by the Linux Foundation or were handpicked by Yeoman. And it’s not stated, how many belong to the first group.

So, it’s biased from the get-go.

This paper reports on the findings of that survey, with a focus on the 387 respondents who represent the largest enterprise companies and government agencies, identified as organizations with $500 million or more a year in revenues or greater than 500 employees. The results tell us
where Linux is growing and why, as well as where opportunities exist and challenges remain.

It gets even worse! From the 1,948 contacted businesses, only 387 are used for the report. That’s around 19.87%

387 is such a pitiful number for a survey, because there are so many businesses:

America’s 9.1 million women-owned businesses employ 27.5 million people and contribute $3.6 trillion to the economy
http://web.sba.gov/faqs/

And as the quote says. that is just the number of companies owned by women.

More than 500 employees” means very little actually . The United States Small Business Administration lists in some cirumstances firms with more than 500 employees as “Small businesses”:

http://www.sba.gov/idc/groups/public/documents/sba_homepage/serv_sstd_tablepdf.pdf

So the claim that only the ” largest enterprise companies” are used is missleading.

Let’s recap: 1,948 handpicked businesses were contacted, some of them are members of an organization that is run by the Linux foundation. The answers of less than 20% are used. What’s the point? This is biased beyond belief.

In short, the survey found that Linux is poised for growth in the coming years; 76.4% of companies are planning to add more Linux servers in the next twelve months. In contrast, only 41.2% of respondents are planning to add Windows servers in the next year, while 43.6% say they will be decreasing or maintaining the number of Windows servers in their organizations over the same time period.

And even in such a biased group, the Linux numbers aren’t that phenomenal. So, 41.2% are planning to add Windows servers? Don’t forget: We’re talking about handpicked, filtered companies, some are even members of Linux organizations! The 43.6% number is tricky. Decreasing and maintaining are not the same thing. The study omits how many of these companies are really decreasing their Windows servers.

For migrations to Linux from other platforms, we were surprised to find that migrations from Windows (36.6%) are surpassing the number of migrations from Unix (31.4%), even though this information runs counter to much of the data released in the market.

Well, if you take into account how they selected the companies, then it’s not surprising, that this information is countering most of the other data in the market.

Of those who selected other reasons for adoption, some of the comments include:

“Linux is the only real choice for high performance computing at the current time. Although other operating systems have products available for high performance computing, they just don’t measure up.”

Freedom, I like to modify and customize my own system and programs.”

“The super flexibility of Linux tells it all.”

“Stability, no viruses.”

“Low cost hardware, security from virus or hacking.”

“Reliability – most of our heavy duty production Linux servers have an uptime approaching 1500 days.”


What? Is this Slashdot? What kind of enterprises have they contacted? One has to wonder: What IT professional from a large enterprise would in this day and age boast about uptime?

“I like to modify and customize my own system and programs” – sounds like a Slashdot post, and not like an answer from a CTO.

The results of this survey were based on responses from 387 IT professionals from organizations with $500m or more a year in revenues or 500+ employees…

This survey was conducted with members of The Linux Foundation’s End User Council, as well as other end users identified by The Linux Foundation and Yeoman Technologies. This report is  being published at The Linux Foundation End User Summit, where many respondents will be in attendance. These companies include Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Bristol-Myers Squibb, NTT, Deutsche Bank, Dreamworks, ADP, McKinsey and Company, Bank of New York, Barclays Capital, AIG, the US Department of Defense, MetLife, CME Group, NASDAQ QMX, the New York Stock Exchange, Goodrich, and many more.

Big names at the end, known 18 organizations. But it’s not clear how many of those talked positively about Linux, and it’s not clear how many of the other 369 are unknowns.

387 IT professionals from organizations
Who exactly partipated in the survey? 387 organizations or 387 “professionals”? Was it possible, that several people from one organization responded?

As it stands now, the survey is worthless. So yeah, another Victory for the Linux community.