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Linux versus XP on the desktop: Reg readers speak

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A survey of Register readers, carried out by analysts Quocirca, reveals you love Linux on the desktop, but you love Windows XP too.

Almost half the companies surveyed had deployed Linux on the desktop to some extent, with 43 per cent having at least some fully deployed Linux desktops. Another 24 per cent are experimenting with Linux, leaving 33 per cent using only Microsoft operating systems.

Larger companies are less likely to be trying Linux than smaller firms - 50 per cent of firms with more than 5,000 employees are pure MS houses, falling to just over 20 per cent of firms with less than 50 staff. Quocirca believes IT staff in smaller organisations have more freedom to experiment. Comments like "I'd use Linux if I could but IT policy and user preference prevents it," increased as company size increased.

But the survey also showed a number of advocates for Windows XP. In organisations with a mix of XP and 2000 over 20 per cent thought XP was "a comprehensive OS with lots of benefits and is definitely worth upgrading to", this figure rose to over 40 per cent in organisations mostly using XP.

Respondents were also asked their attitude to Linux on the desktop. Over 60 per cent saw benefits with 25 per cent describing Linux as a "very comprehensive OS with lots of benefits and [it] is definitely worth Windows users switching". A less enthusiastic 41 per cent said Linux has "some benefits but these need to be weighed against the cost and hassle of switching.".

The survey was conducted through The Register's website in February 2005 and 8,128 people responded.

Of these 29 per cent were in the US, 49 per cent in the UK, 17 per cent in the rest of Europe and 11 per cent elsewhere. Less than half, 40 per cent, work in firms with less than 50 staff, 18 per cent work for firms with between 49 and 249 people, 11 per cent for firms with between 250 and 999 staff and 12 per cent work for companies with between 1,000 and 4,999 people. Companies with more than 5,000 workers made up 19 per cent of the sample.

The survey was self-selecting - respondents decide whether or not to answer - so advocates for one or other operating system are more likely to reply.

The full report is available via Quocirca's website here. It is free of charge, in return for registration.

A summary of the results is available here.(pdf).

Thanks to all the readers who participated in this survey. You can sign up as a permanent member of our Reg Reader Panel whereby your brains are occasionally picked on a range of important topics.®

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