Results are in: openSUSE's Community Survey

by Ostatic Staff - Dec. 30, 2010

Back in February openSUSE held a survey to find more out about its community. Who are they? What OS do they normally run? What do they want? How can openSUSE improve? Well, the results are in and quite interesting to openSUSE users and the community at large.

Most questions received approximately 8,500 responses. Generally it was found that young male adult students with moderate to high technical knowledge and prefer stability, hardware support, and security, many of which dual boot with some version of Windows for work, who install openSUSE for personal use and are not involved with openSUSE development or promotion for email, chat, and surfing the Internet think openSUSE has a good amount of software and is easy to install.

Who They Are

It was found that 54% of the almost 9,000 users participating in the survey are between the ages of 20 and 34 with a full 20% in their latter 20s. Unsurprizingly, 98% are male. 35% earn their living in IT, while 27.5% have server skills, and 30% are proficit in desktop system administration. Students, system administrators, and "other" represents 60% of professions with other jobs such as office worker, developers, and management make up much smaller numbers.

51% of the respondents use openSUSE and 19% use Windows, and the remaining 8,100 use various Linux distributions and Mac. 61% of those use Windows as their second system while openSUSE and Ubuntu are used by more than 30% each.

64% do not participate in the openSUSE project and the remaining 36% is mostly comprised of 23% who help in user forums and 15% file bug reports. 60% use their computer for solely personal purposes and 37% use their computer for both personal and business.

What do they use their computers for? Each of the 7900 respondents were allowed to check any of the categories that apply. Among these 96% use their computers for Internet surfing, email and chat; 85% use theirs for office / productivity work; and 82% watch movies and listen to music.

What They Want

The question of what they want is a bit more complicated by the large number of categories as well as the rating system of 1 to 5 for least important to most important. However, it seems that with the 8,000 respondents stability is the most important aspect of computer use with 82%. Security is most important to 71% and hardware support earns 63%. Other categories such as price, paid support, multimedia support, and ease of use see a more evenly distributed array of opinions.

Respondents were asked to rate openSUSE in those several categories such as software selection, documentation, community support, stability, and ease of administration. Again the 7,700 respondents answered each category with a rating of 1 to 5. openSUSE rated highest in ease of installation with 47% of users selecting 5 (excellent). It seems openSUSE earned scores of 4 in all other areas with 40 - 50% of users. Nearly 50% of users think openSUSE has a nice selection of software, 45% feel their is adequate community support, and 46% chose ease of use and security.

Participants were asked what should be the focus of future of openSUSE. Again all 7,600 respondents were asked to answer each category. These include areas such as applications, simplified installation, hardware support for various form factors, and developers tools. 56% felt very strongly that openSUSE should concentrate on hardware support for the desktop while 36% emphasized netbooks, and only 31% cared about servers. Applications were strongly interested in applications and 34% felt moderately strong about developer tools.

What motivates people to participate in the openSUSE project or make them want to partipate in openSUSE? Users could check more than one. Helping unexperienced users leads the list with 55% of the vote with working together came in second with 52%. Only 8% cared about earning money for it and 22% did it just for the glory.

See the full announcement here, which includes winners of the incentive prizes. View openSUSE's analysis here or the raw data here (PDF).