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The Real-World State of Windows Use 374

Posted by samzenpus
from the give-me-the-numbers dept.
snydeq writes "Performance and metrics researcher Devil Mountain Software has released an array of real-world Windows use data as compiled by its exo.performance.network, a community-based monitoring tool that receives real-time data from about 10,000 PCs throughout the world. Tracking users' specific configurations, as well as the applications they actually use, the tool provides insights into real-world Windows use, including browser share, multicore adoption, service pack adoption, and which anti-virus, productivity, and media software are most prevalent among Windows users. Of note are the following conclusions: two years after Vista's release, not even 30 percent of PCs actually run it; OpenOffice.org is making inroads into the Microsoft Office user base; and despite the rise of Firefox, Internet Explorer remains the standard option for inside-the-firewall apps."
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The Real-World State of Windows Use

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  • Spyware (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @08:06PM (#29373537)

    The Windows Sentinel app:
    When they sell your info it's spyware
    When they post it on slashdot it's a community-based monitoring tool

    • Re:Spyware (Score:5, Insightful)

      by clang_jangle (975789) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @08:15PM (#29373615) Journal
      Well, yes pretty much. Not unlike the difference between you hiring an accountant to analyze your finances versus the IRS conducting an audit on you.
    • Re:Spyware (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mgblst (80109) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @11:26PM (#29374819) Homepage

      Yes, that is the way the world works, correctly. Just like the difference between you giving some guy on the street money, and the same one stealing your wallet. One is called robbery, one isn't.

      Complicated world we live in, isn't it?

  • by NoYob (1630681) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @08:07PM (#29373545)
    I use mostly Firefox but when I want to watch a movie on Netflix I have to use IE. The same with Netlibrary.

    At least Hulu lets me use Firefox.

  • by russlar (1122455) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @08:07PM (#29373547)
    At first, I though this was going to be some kind of satire piece about what kind of country Windows would be.

    Since it's not, I'll make it up: bloated, past its prime, and fueled entirely by the force of its own inertia.
    • by martas (1439879)
      so, kind of like the certain union we all know and love? hmm....
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Totenglocke (1291680)
        yea, I thought of the EU too!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Orion Blastar (457579)

      The nation of the United States of Microsoft?

      Fascist dictatorship and economy, views and opinions forced on civilians (users of the product).

      Enemies are The People's Republic of Mac OSX and FinnLinuxLand, but sometimes The NetherBSDlands.

      The currency is the WGA check, without it you are a dirty no good software pirate.

      Blue Screen of Deaths are common but unreported and the government denies knowledge of it, but keeps asking citizens to install service packs or buy the new version of the nations operating sy

    • Since it's not, I'll make it up: bloated, past its prime, and fueled entirely by the force of its own inertia.

      Ah, yes much like the first Galactic Empire.

    • by gmuslera (3436)
      Well... would you consider Hell as a country? Have associated enough related names to be considered there (bsod, dll hell, ping of death, bill gates, etc). To be fair, unix should belong to that country too, is full of daemons (so much that the logo of one is a small devil), and when they get angry they dump cores... but dont lose hope, seems that that general area is getting cool enough to get penguins happy.
      • by russlar (1122455)

        Well... would you consider Hell as a country? Have associated enough related names to be considered there (bsod, dll hell, ping of death, bill gates, etc). To be fair, unix should belong to that country too, is full of daemons (so much that the logo of one is a small devil), and when they get angry they dump cores... but dont lose hope, seems that that general area is getting cool enough to get penguins happy.

        Let's not forget that bit about eating from the forbidden Apple tree.

  • Representative? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @08:13PM (#29373585)

    This is only representative of the 10,000 PCs running this software downloaded from InfoWorld, it would appear. This doesnâ(TM)t sound like it has anything to do with the âoereal worldâ unless you think that the subset of Infoworldâ(TM)s readers who would download this software are somehow representative of the broader Windows population.

    • Re:Representative? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by war4peace (1628283) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @08:28PM (#29373719)
      Totally agree. And even whether it's 20K PCs, as the linked article says, I'd still not represent anything. Think about this: my company has 85000+ employees, and almost each of them have 2 machines (at least). Installing a reporting tool such as this on each machine will bring up wildly different results, reported by a much larger user base, and still would not be relevant at all. Why? because it's a closed environment, where necessities and limitations prevail. The charts look great, but their value is 0.
      • Even more ignored are the machines running in a totally isolated or "specialty" environment such as kiosks, point-of-sale, order taking, and other closed (but not imbedded) systems. I know of a chain of pizza shops still running DOS boxes (and doing a great job!). I would bet that there are no HTPCs in this survey.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Totally agree. And even whether it's 20K PCs, as the linked article says, I'd still not represent anything...

        You don't understand statistics, do you?

        You have 170,000+ computers. Great. That is not a random sample. A random sample of 10,000 computers is enough to generate a confidence greater than 95%. It doesn't matter how many computers there are in total. Whether it is 1 or 100 billion or 100 million billions. 10,000 randomly chosen samples give you more than 95% certainty.

        There's a reason to doubt

  • by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @08:13PM (#29373591)

    Of note is the fact that, two years after Vista's release, not even 30 percent of PCs actually run it

    No, not even 30% of the subset of PCs with this performance-monitoring software run it. In order to claim that not even 30% of PCs run Vista, you would need to establish that the sampling method is not biased, which is a pretty implausible claim.

    It would not surprise me if the subset of technically savvy PC users are biased towards XP and that subset of "Windows is what comes on the computer from the store" have whatever the store put on it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Too add to this, they claim Vista is just a flat out flop, when it has far more market share ALONE than all Macs combined. So why is it a total flop when its still managed to out-share Mac systems that are considered a success? How do you define success/flop anyways? Now, the adoption rate may not have been as high as Microsoft was aiming for, so for them it may have been a flop... but did they lose money on it? Was is a commercial flop? Or was it just a projections flop? Just what I've been thinking.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        It's Microsoft, mass adoption was expected, not being forced to defend another market to barely maintain monopoly level control (laptops: they revived XP as a customer product because of the Vista-ready fiasco, then because Linux was getting 30% of the netbook sales even with MSI's linux books being put together by morons, then because Apple reached a point where analysts estimated 20% of laptop sales in the US being macs (yeah, it's not the world, but it's not an insignificant market) launched defensive ad
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bursch-X (458146)
        once again for the really fast thinkers:

        MARKET SHARE != INSTALLED BASE.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by EdIII (1114411) *

        Too add to this, they claim Vista is just a flat out flop, when it has far more market share ALONE than all Macs combined.

        Irrelevant.

        So why is it a total flop when its still managed to out-share Mac systems that are considered a success?

        Also irrelevant.

        How do you define success/flop anyways?

        Well.... not to offend any Linux users, or Mac users, but those operating systems are entirely irrelevant.

        For business, I only use Linux. Specifically, CentOS 5 and Ubuntu. Personally, I use Linux on all my machines.

      • by ajlisows (768780) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @01:14AM (#29375297)

        You know, it is hard to say. I am having a hard time finding old market share data but consider this. Windows XP was released in October 2001 and XP Service Pack 2 was released in August(?) 2004. That is a 2 year, 10 month gap from Release to the Service Pack that made it a decent operating system. Most people I knew were afraid of XP before SP2 came out and were not budging from the (By that point) rock solid Windows 2000. Vista was released when? January 2007 or something like that? Here we are 1 year and 8 months into the Vista experiment (With a successor on the horizon...when XP SP2 was released I don't even think there was any information on the next windows version being bandied about). Yet, Vista still has achieved a 30% market share, apparently.

        I'd have to guess that pre-SP2 XP would not have been much higher than 30% despite an additional year of availability...and that is with the absolutely horrendous publicity that Windows Vista got. I would think that the numbers would suggest to Microsoft that it did pretty well.

  • What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anachragnome (1008495) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @08:15PM (#29373611)

    If you have to sign up to be a part of the data gathering, it is NOT real-world usage, as the other billions of us out there haven't signed up.

    And another thing.

    The summary quotes a number of 10,000 sampled machines, yet the number in the first link says 20,000.
    Which is it, boys?
    A +/- variation of 50% in something as simple as the number of machines sampled leads me to believe there more then likely other errors.

    • by martas (1439879)
      actually, that's a +/- 100% variation, for people who saw the 10,000 number first.

      so for all we know, the sample size could've been 0.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by ChoboMog (917656)

        A +/- variation of 50% in something as simple as the number of machines sampled leads me to believe there more then likely other errors.

        actually, that's a +/- 100% variation, for people who saw the 10,000 number first. so for all we know, the sample size could've been 0.

        So that means that the study is about as reliable as an average Slashdot poster. Great... =P

    • If you click on the graphs to go to the xpnet.com site, you'll see that it is reporting 10,270 active clients. That number was last updated 2 days ago, apparently.

    • A +/- variation of 50% in something as simple as the number of machines sampled leads me to believe there more then likely other errors.

      I want to know where I can by the anti-virus software from Unknown - it seems to be the most popular by a long shot,

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      It's also bad statistical methodology - if you have to sign up the sample is not random.
  • Legacy Software (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Orion Blastar (457579) <orionblastar@gmail.PERIODcom minus punct> on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @08:45PM (#29373833) Homepage Journal

    10,000 PCs is a small sample size, try a few million. You might have a sampling error there if they are not randomly picked.

    One reason why Windows Vista has not caught on is that older hardware won't run it, like my Father's Pentium 4, 512M, Windows XP Home System, it is not listed as Vista compatible and fails the Vista upgrade check. The memory cannot be upgraded to more than 512M due to motherboard limitations, and the video is not Aero compatible and there is no video slot to upgrade it. I doubt it will run Windows 7 either. Trying to force a Windows Vista install on it will mean that it will run slowly (512M is the minimum I know, but with that size memory Vista runs slow) and some features would be disabled.

    My own laptop a Compaq Presario F700 series came with Windows Vista Home Premium on it, but it caused random lockups that Microsoft blamed on Compaq, and Compaq blamed on Microsoft, and after going in circles trying to get help I downgraded it to an OEM copy of Windows XP Pro that works without any problems at all. But I have a Windows 7 Pro upgrade coming in October to try it out. Hoping that if Windows 7 stinks as much as Vista did, that I can go back to XP Pro. On the other hand Fedora 11 works with the wireless card and it would make a good Linux based laptop when XP retires and there is no more updates for it. I just wish that Visual BASIC 2008/2005 works with WINE, because currently it does not, and I need to keep my VB skills up to date for possible jobs or contract work. Something about needing the BITS service installed to install the software. Otherwise the outdated and ancient Visual BASIC 6 works in WINE, but hardly anyone calls for VB 6.0 skills anymore.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Totenglocke (1291680)
      I have a Presario F700 as well. At first I dealt with Vista, but eventually I got fed up and found drivers to install XP. I've been running Win 7 64-bit on it since February and it runs great.
      • by ZosX (517789)

        I have this pres presario at work that I need to fix for someone. Installing xp with the sata drivers rolled in works, but as soon as it boots it bluescreens somewhere along the 2nd HD based setup phase. When it reboots it boots into safe mode and installs fine, and allows a normal login, but as soon as I launch IE to get windows updates IE crashes and so does just about everything else, but it doesn't bsod. I think its like the V6000 laptop. Anyone know anything? (I know this is OT, so I apologize in advan

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rising Ape (1620461)

      10,000 is a very large sample size, and adequate for almost anything. Vista's not *so* rare that it won't show up on a sample of 10,000.

      However your point about random sampling is valid, although it would be just as big a problem with a sample of 10 million. This is a self-selected sample, so is highly likely to suffer from this a great deal.

    • Re:Legacy Software (Score:5, Insightful)

      by maharb (1534501) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @10:52PM (#29374647)

      The size of the sample is fine, the method for picking the same is the main issue. 10,000 PC's is well over enough to get a +/- 2% error if the sample is random.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      I have a Thinkpad X30 (1.2GHz P3M, 512M) with an old, slow 20G disk in it (original died). It runs W7 better than it did XP, with a minor caveat that you'll suffer slightly longer load times for everything. However, it's more responsive and less prone to the "minor IO = mouse glitching" problems of XP.

  • by Savior_on_a_Stick (971781) <robertfranz@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @09:22PM (#29374065)

    and they aren't right.
    They aren't even wrong.

  • That's quite interesting. The graph shows that about 25% of systems runs on AMD CPUs. Frankly (though I claim to be an AMD enthusiast) I thought that AMD now at 10-15% max.

    Apparently, thanks to the media hype around high-end toys, low-end gets neglected. And low-end is a place were AMD is very strong. That's only way I can explain the 25% user share of AMD....

    • Market share statistics are usually based on quarterly sales. So when AMD is up or down, between 15 and 25%, that's sales for that quarter.

      Nobody knows how many millions or billions of AMD and Intel CPUs are out there, still functioning.

      I would put more merit on the Steam Survey [steampowered.com] than this. Steam says 1 in 3 CPUs are AMD. That's a subset of the general populace - people that use steam and play games - but it reflects that heavy push a few years back as the Gamer's CPU of choice.

  • What is interesting is that Windows 7 has a few percentage points of market share (I read the charts as 3%?), obviously made up of people who are using Windows 7 RC full time. That's impressive for a release canidate six weeks from hitting the market.
  • by gmuslera (3436) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @10:21PM (#29374443) Homepage Journal
    Forcing the use of IE in particular for that application, as in corporate networks, is like mandating to use belt only in very slow cars. The biggest and most expensive risks are exactly in corporate networks, and forcing to have an agent there that is vulnerable even to bad breath (usually the enforced version is an old one, wont be very surprised if a good percent of those inside the firewall browsers are IE6) sounds almost criminal.

    Firewalls are pretty good to avoid things from outside getting in by themselves. But once you put an agent there that opens the door to things from outside (probably the most used vector right now) it turns the firewall meaningless. And if well you can put things that do a virus scan of what is coming, its not easy to detect 0-day attacks, or targetted trojans, or the js/activex/dynamic html/whatever attack of the day.
    • by lucm (889690) on Wednesday September 09, 2009 @11:08PM (#29374731)

      > Forcing the use of IE in particular for that application, as in corporate networks, is like mandating to use belt only in very slow cars.

      Many companies use Internet Explorer because they want the tight integration with other Microsoft products (like Sharepoint or Office). It takes very little effort to setup a Sharepoint intranet, where people can post Excel documents and generate KPIs and dashboards and whatever the business needs to move forward. Other big software companies also have that kind of stuff, like IBM Lotus Notes or Novell Groupwise. But just like Microsoft, it's a lock-in process. Setting up that kind of environment with other software, like those open-source PHP CMS, will require a lot of work, and quite possibly, more skilled staff and a training program for users.

      Also many companies use Internet Explorer because it's already built-in and it would cost more to support more than one browser. Internet Explorer is already paid for, and usually people can get things done with it, so it's a hard sale to bring in Firefox or another browser.

      > Firewalls are pretty good to avoid things from outside getting in by themselves. But once you put an agent there that opens the door to things from outside (probably the most used vector right now) it turns the firewall meaningless.

      Any decent firewall can have rules for both inbound and outbound traffic. Also, decent firewalls usually have DPI or other smart technologies that can really raise flags when something goes wrong.

      > [...] forcing to have an agent there that is vulnerable even to bad breath (usually the enforced version is an old one, wont be very surprised if a good percent of those inside the firewall browsers are IE6) sounds almost criminal.

      In my experience, companies that have a policy about the allowed version of Internet Explorer usually have a very efficient change management strategy and suffer very little downtime because of software problems. I have a Fortune 500 client that started rolling out Windows XP last year only; they have no downtime at all and the business is doing great. It's not cool or edgy to work in such an environment (even Flash is not supported), but they are not in the cool or edgy business.

  • The Net Applications stats for August:

    XP 71.8%
    Vista 18.8%
    OSX 10.5 3.5%
    Win 7 1.2%
    OSX 10.4 1%
    Linux 0.9%
    W2K 0.9%

    Operating System Market Share [hitslink.com]

    These global stats are built from about 160 million hits per month to its clients' websites:

    Additional estimates about the website population:
    76% participate in pay per click programs to drive traffic to their sites.
    43% are commerce sites
    18% are corporate sites
    10% are content sites
    29% classify themselves as other (includes gov, org, search engine marketers etc..)
    About [hitslink.com]

  • The summary claims that the article says OpenOffice is making inroads. Of course others have already addressed the statistical dilemmas with the purported data set; there are some very rough meta-meta-analysis statements one could consider based on this statement:
    • Indeed the set surveyed does reflect windows users fairly well in at least some regards because OpenOffice has been slow in adoption in segments where MS Office is well entrenched
    • Or, the sample is not well selected to reflect on Windows users in
  • AVG the top a/v (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rhendershot (46429) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @12:18PM (#29398797) Journal

    AVG leading McAfee and Norton by a significant margine. Some other "Unknown" a/v has 35% but is not avast. These are not corporate computers.

    If you click on the Get More Charts link you can see the entire array. Another I found interesting was Home Premium lead among Vista uses. Again, not corporate.

    RAM has 2-3GB leading so I'd think these are mostly 32-bit systems. It would be nice if that were a metric.

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