A Measurement of Popularity of GNU/Linux and That Other OS in Canada and China

UPDATE Earlier, I posted some very low numbers that Google gave me for that other OS. The ones below are more consistent. I have also added links in the table.

Canada is my home but my government is just opening to FLOSS and M$ has lots of lock-in here so I am always curious how China sees both given the quite different situation. I figured out a way to do it using Google. Google counts web sites. Why not count websites mentioning Linux and that other OS in China and Canada? I used the site:.ca or site:.cn parameters. To compensate for “windows” being a generic term for an opening in a wall in English, I subtracted from “windows” counts in both the .ca and .cn stuff counts for “door”. Here are the results for the last 30 days:

OS .cn .ca
GNU/Linux 4740K 200K
That other OS 5820K 1840K
TOS:Linux 1.23:1 9.2:1

Note: the table above is about sites. It does correlate reasonably well with searches on trends.google.com, however. In Beijing, Linux is ahead on counts.

Clearly, GNU/Linux has a dominant position in China by this measure. With hundreds of millions soon to gain access to IT in China, GNU/Linux has a bright future. China has more users of the Internet, buys more smart phones and sooner or later will have more PCs of all kinds than USA where that other OS reigns.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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9 Responses to A Measurement of Popularity of GNU/Linux and That Other OS in Canada and China

  1. I visited http://baidu.com. For Linux, I got 3 million hits. For Windows, I got 4 million hits.

  2. Tell us. Where are Baidu’s statistics on OS usage? What are Chinese people thinking about IT? Dell and Canonical seem to think shelf space for Ubuntu is a good thing in China (220 retail stores by Dell).

  3. Google has lots of data. Clearly GNU/Linux is much further ahead in China than elsewhere as far as ordinary people looking for information.

  4. Yonah says:

    “All this proves nothing except GNU/Linux has serious mindshare in China.”

    No, it doesn’t prove that. You don’t even know what’s on the minds of most Chiense people in general. Granted, as a foreigner I don’t have a full understanding myself, but I’ve got the edge on you when it comes to understanding what’s happening on the ground in China. I’m talking about what’s really happening. Not what can be found on the Internet, a newspaper, or a TV show.

    As much as I rely on Google’s search engine, they wouldn’t be the best choice for searching Chinese websites. Do as the Chinese do. Use BaiDu. http://www.baidu.com/

  5. Yonah says:

    “Clearly, GNU/Linux has a dominant position in China”

    Correction: GNU/Linux has a dominant position on servers, mobile phones, and embedded devices in China. Not on desktop or laptop computers. Linux mei lai le. “did not arrive”, as Chinese people would say.

    However, I think it’s improper to make any kind of statement like this without a lot more data.

  6. Well, it seems Google gives different results at different times of the day. Maybe they had a glitch at the time of my searches.

    I did have only 6million hits. At this instant I have 364:83.6 TOS:Linux, still, nothing like 99:1 that NetApplications puts out. Of course this is on servers, not clients, but servers serve clients so there is a relationship. GNU/Linux is much more popular in China than here.

    For site:.ca, I am getting TOS:Linux 289:38.6 = 7.48:1, still nothing like 99:1. I am getting doors site:.ca = 104 million so I subract 104 million to get 185:38.6 = 4.79:1.

    Searching constrained to site:.cn and the past week gives TOS:Linux 1.5:0.918 = 1.6:1.

    Google trends for linux,windows in region China for the last 30 days gives TOS:Linux 1.32:1

    If you look at Beijing only, Linux is ahead.

    All this proves nothing except GNU/Linux has serious mindshare in China.

  7. Jan says:

    “Google.com.hk is unlikely to be the search engine of the world.”

    Ahem, you really think that Google uses completely different data for different countries? Feel free to try out various localized Google Search landing pages. The number of results are roughly the same. Google US gives me back 356,000,000 hits, Google HK 367,000,000. Google US gives me 315,000,000 results for Chinese pages written in simplified Chinese only, whereas Google HK gives me 328,000,000 results for Chinese pages written in simplified Chinese only. The numbers most likely fluctuate due to data centers being not totally in sync and local differences.

    Your claim of only 6,000,000 results is a lie. Please post the complete search string, so we all can verify your results. That’s how good “science” is done, isn’t it?

    “Even your numbers show the 1% thing is a lie.”

    But I wasn’t talking about the MARKETSHARE of Linux at all. That’s something completely different. And you’re deliberately mixing things up now to cover up your cheap attempt at FUD.

  8. Google.com.hk is unlikely to be the search engine of the world.

    Even your numbers show the 1% thing is a lie.

  9. Jan says:

    And yet, using http://www.google.com.hk (to which http://www.google.cn redirects) I get 351,000,000 hits when restricting the search by “site:.cn”. Searching for “Linux” gives 87,900,000 results.

    What a stunning discrepancy.

    For the sake of scientific accuracy, since both China and Japan use non-Western scripts, I also used http://www.google.co.jp, restricting results with site:.jp, which resulted in 1,420,000,000 hits. Searching for “Linux” gives 121,000,000 results.

    Let’s complete this with Korea, using http://www.google.co.kr, restricting with “site:.kr”: “Windows” gives 297,000,000 hits, “Linux” 26,600,000 hits.

    Let me get out my calculator:

    Windows vs. Linux (China): 4:1.
    Windows vs. Linux (Japan): 11.73:1.
    Windows vs. Linux (Korea): 11.16:1.

    In the case of China I expect the Windows side to rise further, as China’s new middle class expands.

    Thanks for playing.

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