Is The Canadian Government Rolling Out GNU/Linux Clients?

If 83% of Canadians use the Internet then there are about 24million users. According to StatCounter, there has been a doubling and a redoubling of GNU/Linux users in Canada in the last couple of months:

The sudden increase by 2%, ~480K users, can only be a whole province’s schools or the Government of Canada. Nothing else is large enough for the sudden change. Even Dell could not do that pushing GNU/Linux at the retail level. The Government of Canada has been considering use of GNU/Linux for more than a decade but certainly not globally. They even considered dual-booting rather than one OS or the other per user. In 2011, Transport Canada documented how severely they were locked in to that other OS. There’s no way they suddenly switched. Recently the government rewarded a teacher who developed a GNU/Linux laboratory. They may have read about GNU/Linux and studied it but they don’t seem to have any motivation to switch despite having an estimate of break-even of 18 months for migration.

The only conclusions I can make are that this phenomenon is either some glitch in StatCounter’s collection method or StatCounter’s bias is showing some smaller rollout as being much larger than suggested by their numbers. Perhaps StatCounter realized they were undercounting GNU/Linux and changed their methodology. There’s nothing on their webpage explaining this phenomenon. I have sent them an inquiry.
UPDATE I received a response to an inquiry to StatCounter on this phenomenon:
“Hi Robert,

Thanks for your email.

Nothing has changed in our methodology that would explain these variations. As far as we can see, this is a genuine trend, and have no reason to suspect any error at the moment. We will of course keep an eye on it.

Niall Heaney

StatCounter Global Stats”

We live in a Brave New World apparently where trends develop in a week rather than a year. It must be a very large organization to make such a rapid change or a “popular uprising”… 😉 I have long predicted a gradual or rapid collapse of Wintel. I never would have predicted a doubling and redoubling of GNU/Linux share in a few weeks. I still have no idea why “7” and “XP” danced the way they did. Did some large organization revert to XP + GNU/Linux? That makes sense but there is not even a whisper of that on the web. Could all of the college students in Canada have returned home with a zeal for FLOSS???

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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15 Responses to Is The Canadian Government Rolling Out GNU/Linux Clients?

  1. Sarah Pee says:

    Hahaha, I can account for a single of those 480K!

  2. oiaohm says:

    Maou Sadao simple fact is you want to play that Linux is unskilled.

    The unskilled percentage with qualifications is a constant.

  3. Maou Sadao says:

    Maou Sadao you can say the same about Microsoft certified professionals and most other certifications.

    Well, you see, I have never claimed otherwise. Why would I? I have seen about enough Windows administrators who have no clue. At our company (mixed Windows-Linux environment) interviews for such positions largely consist of practical tests. Anything else would be pretty stupid, and merely presenting certifications of any kind won’t buy you a lunch at our place.

  4. oiaohm says:

    Maou Sadao you can say the same about Microsoft certified professionals and most other certifications.

    Some people magically cram and then forget everything.

    Linux people have a decent chance at self employment between jobs. Low start up costs are helpful.

  5. Maou Sadao says:

    Ah, come on, Mr. Pogson! While it’s true that there are many, many Linux job offerings out there, it doesn’t preclude unemployed Linux people. Many Linux people out there sadly don’t know jack, even though they somehow passed LPIC-1 and LPIC-2 (God knows how).

  6. The pattern for iOS is much more gradual, however, and many students use iPad. The iOS pattern is more like steady retail sales while the GNU/Linux jumps are rollouts.

  7. George Hostler says:

    I couldn’t say Robert, but may be that Android tablets are being used more by college students. They make an ideal PDF reader for text books, but do more than simply a tablet reader does.

  8. I have appended an update to TFA, a response from StatCounter. They report no glitches… The mystery deepens. Could it be the returning hordes of college students have seen the light of FLOSS???

  9. George Hostler says:

    Things are becoming more browser based. This eliminates the need for a particular client, all applications are web based. Then any appliance, a desktop blade, netbook, tablet, intelligent cellphone and etc. can be used. This opens the door to cost reduction.

    The era of the thick desktop client (i.e., one with a hard disk and local applications running) is slowly fading away.

  10. Mats Hagglund wrote, “Well, there are hardly much more Mac-users than Linux-users in Finland and surely not on rate of 1:4,5 as StatCounter is claiming.”

    Of course their actual numbers are meaningless. They measure page-views, not PCs after all… It could well be that users of mobile devices make fewer page-views. “Creative” users of Macs may be too busy creating page-views to view pages but in certain countries Macs are more popular than Macs are globally. e.g. Apple shows less than 5% of shipments in their SEC filings yet apparently have 10% of the market in USA.

  11. Mats Hagglund says:

    If there is at least 10% trust on StatCounter then clearly countries like USA, Canada and Germany have increased above average the use of Linux while countries like Finland haven’t. Actually Finland is showing now (2,3%) less Linux adopting than lets say Sept 2010 (2,75%). During that time e.g OpinSYS Ubuntu-based systems have increased in schools and libraries (users: 25 000 —-> 45 000).

    Graphic is claiming that there were more Linux-users in Finland 2008 than now. The reality is totally the opposite. Then they are claiming there are 4-5 times more Mac-users than Linux-users in Finland

    But how could it be possible that my social/environment/political/historian blogsite are showing totally different results (last 1 ½month):


    (my own visits are eliminated from the results)

    Is the reason because all the clicks are counted, also those Linux-machines behind same ip-address?

    Lets take a look inside Linux-users:

    Linux x86_64….547….4.7%
    Linux i686……343….2.96%

    If the latter is Linux-mobiles then over 7,6% of all visits are still made by Linux-portables and desktops. Much above figures of all Macintosh

    Macintosh 4.26%
    Macintosh Intel Mac OS X 10.4 0.17%
    Macintosh PPC Mac OS X 10.4 0.09%

    Well, there are hardly much more Mac-users than Linux-users in Finland and surely not on rate of 1:4,5 as StatCounter is claiming.

  12. I don’t trust them either, Mats, but they do show interesting changes from time to time. Unfortunately, I think this one is a hiccough rather than a real change in the use of operating systems unless they’ve found a way to fix their undercounting of GNU/Linux…

  13. Maou Sadao says:

    Probably unemployed Linux people who have set up shop in Canada.

  14. Mats Hagglund says:

    I don’t trust much either StatCounter, Statowl or Net Application.

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