Interesting poll results

by Volker Weber

Usually I do not comment on the poll results, but I find the results of the current poll quite interesting. At 724 votes 39% percent said they are on Mac and Linux, so I am ignoring them for a minute. If you normalize the rest of the votes to 100% you will get this picture:


77% of XP users stay put or have gone back to XP. The rest is split in half: 11% either plan to move to Vista or have moved, and 11% plan to jump ship to Mac OS X. The remaining one percent is a rounding error.

An equal number of Vista upgraders to new Mac OS X users? That looks like a landslide to me.


I've got a bundle of real machines running different OSs (plus virtual machines that get used a lot too), so I'd certainly stretch well beyond 100%, however my sole experience of Vista (a new Dell of ours that came with it) is such that I'm in no hurry to upgrade any other Windows boxes to Vista.

Vista appears so far to be less stable and capable than XP. If I was to compare say XP and Ubuntu, I'd normally say Ubuntu lags slightly on hardware support and overall slickness, but Vista currently looks like an old version of Red Hat in comparison. It falls over, it doesn't support a lot of hardware and frankly the UI is a mess.

Vista has to be Microsoft's best ever promotion of open source, 5.5 years after the launch of XP and they've gone backwards...

Jim Hughes, 2007-03-08

What I find interesting is, that altough criticism of Microsoft within the last years became more moderate and reasonable, and publicity for Vista wasn't too bad, people seem to see Vista as a heavy load on their computers just for some shiny effects without really new and useful features and without stability.

Björn Haferkamp, 2007-03-09

I think youre readers are not representative.
You have 39% Mac and Linux guys here, instead of something around 5 or 10%, what the real market share would be.
So you could assume that you have more potential switchers than there would be "normally".

Stefan Weigand, 2007-03-09

Sadly, I agree with Stefan. Your sample is somewhat unrepresentative as it is self selecting.

The results may be more interesting if it were possible to segment business/non-business users.

I have seen no Vista at all so far being used on any computer owned by a business. We have no plan to deploy any Vista on any business workstation or laptop here either. One contractor came in and gave a Powerpoint show on a Vista machine but, when I challenged him about it, said "don't worry about that - this system dual boots XP".

So far as I can tell from here, the adoption of Vista by businesses seems to have all but stalled.

The picture on the home user side is different, mainly because it is now very difficult to buy a new computer for use at home that does not have Vista pre-loaded. I helped a neighbour select a new computer recently and we got one that came with XP pre-loaded and an option to "upgrade" to Vista for free. We didn't take up that option but I suspect this is atypical.

Chris Linfoot, 2007-03-09

Stefan, that is not entirely correct. I had 18% Mac and 4% Linux visitors yesterday. What you see are the votes. I understand that these numbers are still higher than the respective market shares of these platforms.

Chris, of course the poll is not representative. No self selecting poll is. I also know about a quite large organization which has Vista on their roadmap. Nobody seems to know why, but it's there anyway.

I agree that Vista will make its way as a preload, as has every other Microsoft platform, even Windows ME.

My doctor asked me last week whether he should get Vista or XP for his new home machine. I told him to get Vista. He did not sleep well for one night, and the next morning he went to the store to buy a new computer: a 20" iMac.

Volker Weber, 2007-03-09

Well, I think the differentiation between private and business use is a quite important one. On a business machine, most people probably only run XP and possibly in virtual machines whatever they need to have besides that. E.g. with security people you'll probably find some Linux VMs, with developers you most likely will find their target platforms in VMs, you get the point.
My home PC is dual boot XP and Linux though. And a new laptop that is scheduled for purchase some time soon will most likely run a flavour of Vista since the main user will be the woman in the house and she is not ready for Mac or Linux (yet).
So, in order to get a more detailed picture, one would probably want some demographics and some usage scenario with the question. But then, last time I checked was not a market research company, right? ;-)

Ragnar Schierholz, 2007-03-09

Does anybody remember how people tend to talk/write about XP when it was in beta/introduced? Same thing all over again. I read a lot of whishful thinking between the lines to the effect of: LINUX or MAC will rule the world RSN ...

Like it or not but Vista will be both commercially sucessful and of value for the user once applications hit the market that really take advantage of the inner workings of Vista (Presentation/Communication/Workflow Foundation). As of today, most reviews tend to scratch the surface and bitch about hardware requirements or the UI details - been there, done that, find early reviews for XP and see for yourself.

Henning Wriedt, 2007-03-09

Henning, I would not question the success of McDonalds or Disney. Even IBM survived the early 90s.

You may notice that a few things have changed in the last five years though. People are on Linux and there were no Mac switchers five years ago.

Volker Weber, 2007-03-09

Yes but there are switchers in the other direction too. I have switched from a Powerbook to a Amilo Laptop and i am happier with this new laptop. The Powerbook has often problems with the pram battery and ppc is not so well supported on Linux than x86.


Ralf Petter, 2007-03-09

So obviously McDonalds and Disney are of value to people, right? Remarks like these show some strange way of "elite thinking" that are common for both the Linux and Mac enthusiast and are probably one of the reasons for the low market share ;-)

Henning Wriedt, 2007-03-09

The company I work for still runs it machines on Windows 2000.

We were supposed to have gone over XP and upgraded directly to Vista when it was supposed to come out, all these years ago.

However, now that Vista is out and most our computer park is between 1 and 2 years olds, I guess it'll be at least 1 or 2 years before we even start upgrading to vista.

Meanwhile, we're still running W2000... sigh.

Alex Boschmans, 2007-03-09

I am currently watching the discussion WinXP vs. Vista very closely because I am helping a friend of mine find a suitable laptop for home use. She has never had a computer at home and her work experience is limited to starting the one and only necessary application (tax software in this case).

I lean towards recommending Vista for the sole reason that Vista seems to make it possible for the first time to work as a restricted and at the same time inexperienced user without too much of a hassle. I have only tried Vista in a virtual machine for half an hour but the restricted user was prompted for a password every time administrative privileges were required for a task. Furthermore, Vista uses some kind of virtual directory mapping to alleviate some of the problems that arise when programs want to write their settings to the "program files" path while being run without the appropriate privileges, AFAIK.

My parents, my sister and three friends run WinXP computers with restricted accounts and administration of those machines has been a lot of work, especially since I do not live in the neighborhood. For this reason, I did not bother to set up restricted accounts on other machines that I help maintain for relatives and friends (I seem to be the only IT guy around or maybe the only one who cannot refuse a request for help).

Did you ever get the feeling that once you started helping out with a relative's or friend's computer they do not feel obliged to learn anything new about their operating system (you're there to help, after all) and that from that moment on you also have to keep track of their router and email passwords and the details of the dsl provider contract? Hmmh, maybe I'm exaggerating but it sure feels like that.

So why don't I recommend Linux (I use Ubuntu myself) or Mac OS (no experience with that but I hear it's magic ;-) ) to others? Because then I would really be stuck with the administration of those machines whereas with Windows I refuse to give up hope that some day my relatives and friends will have enough experience themselves that those issues that still arise may be resolved by asking a Windows savvy colleague or friend (easier to find than Linux or Mac OS users, right now).

This post turned out longer than I had intended it to. Anyway, I do realize that it is basically laziness which prevents me from helping to do anything to improve the current situation on the OS market. If everybody thinks like this Microsoft market dominance won't be broken soon.

@vowe: after all your thoughts on Vista, what was your reason to recommend Vista to your doctor?

Volker Goeke, 2007-03-09

Your Poll lacks "Jumping to Linux" support ;) Not that I'd need it. I'm there already.

Alexander Gabriel, 2007-03-09

An interesting new factor - a couple of days ago I had a call from a senior scientist, who was a bit perplexed; her broadband ISP had told her that the best option for getting her new, Vista-driven laptop online would be to pay some money to downgrade it to XP, since their systems were not yet fully compatible with Vista.

Very sensibly, she had then called the laptop manufacturer (who should also probably remain nameless here) to find their opinion - and they had agreed!

Even more sensibly, she then called me, and we are looking at an ethernet router, and some more professional ISPs...

Nick Daisley, 2007-03-09

I imagine the most popular choice (if it were available) might be "Will get Vista with my next hardware refresh (am in no immediate hurry to upgrade until then)"

Ken Bisconti, 2007-03-09

@Nick - quite right. Don't forget that downgrade though :-P

Chris Linfoot, 2007-03-09

Ken, this option is indeed very popular. It's just called "Staying on XP".

Volker Weber, 2007-03-09

I'm liking that pie chart graphic, what did you do that in V?

John Ash, 2007-03-12

Apple Keynote

Volker Weber, 2007-03-12

Interesting to see that Dell have been prevailed upon to offer XP again on some computer models - Vista's reputation goes before it, I guess....

Nick Daisley, 2007-04-20

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