Sunday, December 11, 2005

Open Source Trends

Being a supporter of FOSS and GNU/Linux, I have been curious for a while to know/find out its penetration and also whether FOSS and GNU/Linux are getting more popular than other proprietary offerings.

There are various statistics on this, but I thought a better way to find this would be their Web presence. I wasn’t sure how to proceed with this. Some people on forums suggested I try Google Alert. Another programmer said he would write a python code for me that would screen scrape Google for information. None of these appealed to me as I knew my project will be evolving over time and would have many queries and data will have to be mined for more information.

About a month ago, a friend of mine wrote a python script that uses Yahoo APIs. This looks appealing. I run this script every few days to download information on how many times a particular keyword appears on the Web, news and podcast. Currently, the search removes for duplicates, but Yahoo’s definition of duplicates is very vague, so I am not sure whether I should allow Yahoo to remove for duplicates or should I just get the data for the search results and plot trends.

Here’s are some trends between November 17 and December 8 that might be interesting:

Operation system:

Microsoft’s Web presence increased by 5.6% compared with Linux 1.7% for Linux

Microsoft has been more or less consistent in terms of news items at around 12,000, while Vista and Linux have seen a declining trend. That could be because Microsoft offers many projects besides its XP OS and the upcoming Vista.

For podcasts, Microsoft’s presence grew by 8.1% vs. 3.1% for “Microsoft Vista” and 5.2% for Linux. This is significant for Linux because while Linux is an OS, the search word for Microsoft includes many other products besides the XP and 2000 OS. Clearly, with podcasters and even news folks, Linux is more popular than the Vista. I might add “Microsoft XP” search to the script to get a more accurate picture in the future.

Within Linux, the Web trends gets very interesting. Keywords “Linux and China” grew by 40% followed by “Linux India” at 31%. “Linux India” was also in the news a lot because of Foss.in event that attracted 2,700 people.


Want to know which Linux distribution is gaining Web share? Ubuntu (27%) followed by Mandriva (19%). In terms of numbers, Ubuntu with 439,392 search results has already surpassed Mandriva (261,231) and Knoppix (258,676). Ubuntu has also been more popular with news folks than Mandriva, Knoppix and even Debian. And it's the most popular with podcasters than any other Linux distribution, including RH and SuSE.



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This Blog was written using word processor www.openoffice.org on Ubuntu Linux operating system (www.ubuntulinux.org) and the Internet Web browser used was FireFox (http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/)

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