Friday, 15 October 2010 10:34

Linux Foundation sets record for stating bleeding obvious


Until this morning, I was convinced that the late Benjamin Disraeli had it down pat when he said that there are three forms of deception - lies, damn lies and statistics.

Now I think he should have added "and Linux Foundation surveys" as well.

The Foundation, the body that allegedly works to promote the take-up of GNU/Linux, has published the results of a survey which is, no doubt, designed to provide a boost to the take-up of the operating system.

But the one word that fits when one tries to describe the figures therein is rubbery. For one, the Foundation has teamed up with a one-year-old company called Yeoman Technologies to carry out the survey. What does Yeoman do? "We focus technologies impact on your sales and operations models, especially as it relates to online sales." Yeah, whatever that means.

Secondly, the survey itself says: "This invitation-only survey pool was comprised of The Linux Foundation End User Council as well as other companies, organizations (sic) and government agencies selected by The Linux Foundation and Yeoman."

That seems to somewhat contradict this open invitation by Yeoman Technologies to a web survey. But, never mind, as the Americans say, it's time to move on.

The survey, if one takes the trouble to download and read it - and boy, does the Foundation make one jump through hoops to obtain a survey about free and open source software - makes it plain that responses from 387 individuals were the focus of the survey. This, despite there being 1948 Linux users who were reportedly invited to submit data.

There is an element of confusion here. At the start of the survey, it says: "The Linux Foundation, in partnership with Yeoman Technology Group, recently conducted a survey of 1948 Linux users. This invitation-only survey pool was comprised of The Linux Foundation End User Council as well as other companies, organizations (sic) and government agencies selected by The Linux Foundation and Yeoman. This paper reports on the findings of that survey, with a focus on the 387 respondents who represent the largest enterprise companies and government agencies, identified as organizations (sic) with $500 million or more a year in revenues or greater than 500 employees.

But at the end of the survey, it says: "The results of this survey were based on responses from 387 IT professionals from organizations (sic) with $500m or more a year in revenues or 500+ employees."

So what is it - a focus on 387 or a focus on only 387? There is a difference, you know.


The break-up of the 387 survey participants is 46.5 percent from the US and Canada, 28.7 percent from Europe and 11.6 percent from Asia. No mention of South America.

The findings of the survey are the bleeding obvious: Linux is poised for growth in coming years (no shit, Sherlock!), drivers for Linux use are shifting, Linux workloads are changing. Perhaps the only new finding is that there are increasing migrations from Windows to Linux rather than from Unix to Linux. But even that has been hinted at over the last couple of years on various occasions.

But, remember this is a pool of the converted. It is something like one going into a fundamentalist Christian community in the American midwest and asking them if Dubya had divine sanction to invade Iraq. One would no doubt hear a loud aye, followed by numerous amens.

A query to Jim Zemlin, the czar of the Foundation: mate, why do I have to give my name, my title, my phone number, and my organisation, and then enter a number into a web form in order to download this shonky data? What's more on the web form, there is an appeal to the person who has gone through this merry-go-round not to send the link to others but rather to ask them to register at a certain page - and the link to that page is broken.

Why don't you make it open and free to everyone? Just let that link from your front page directly lead to the 12-page PDF, with an indication that it does so. And do you really need to send me three emails after I provide all this data, giving me the download link all over again? What kind of software are you using? Can't be FOSS stuff, it doesn't malfunction this way.

The Foundation has this bit of text on page 3 of the survey which says it all: "Admittedly, The Linux Foundation End User Council and other enterprise end users who are motivated to complete a survey from The Linux Foundation are not an unbiased lot. But the organizations' (sic) size, buying power and technical backgrounds - as filtered by The Linux Foundation and Yeoman - certainly make this data worth noting, both for Linux vendors and developers, as well as for their competitors."

Yeah, sure. Had this insight been offered at the start of the survey, it would have saved me and many others a load of time.


Read 3860 times

Please join our community here and become a VIP.

Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here
JOIN our iTWireTV our YouTube Community here


Thoughtworks presents XConf Australia, back in-person in three cities, bringing together people who care deeply about software and its impact on the world.

In its fifth year, XConf is our annual technology event created by technologists for technologists.

Participate in a robust agenda of talks as local thought leaders and Thoughtworks technologists share first-hand experiences and exchange new ways to empower teams, deliver quality software and drive innovation for responsible tech.

Explore how at Thoughtworks, we are making tech better, together.

Tickets are now available and all proceeds will be donated to Indigitek, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to create technology employment pathways for First Nations Peoples.

Click the button below to register and get your ticket for the Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane event



It's all about Webinars.

Marketing budgets are now focused on Webinars combined with Lead Generation.

If you wish to promote a Webinar we recommend at least a 3 to 4 week campaign prior to your event.

The iTWire campaign will include extensive adverts on our News Site and prominent Newsletter promotion and Promotional News & Editorial. Plus a video interview of the key speaker on iTWire TV which will be used in Promotional Posts on the iTWire Home Page.

Now we are coming out of Lockdown iTWire will be focussed to assisting with your webinars and campaigns and assistance via part payments and extended terms, a Webinar Business Booster Pack and other supportive programs. We can also create your adverts and written content plus coordinate your video interview.

We look forward to discussing your campaign goals with you. Please click the button below.


Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous