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Use of the Linux operating system on desktop machines is continuing to grow with small and medium business showing the most enthusiasm for the open source software.

The Linux Foundation annual survey really runs till the end of the month but entries are drying up, and they've already received 20,000 responses, so they've started crunching the numbers. The Linux Foundation was previously known as Free Standards Group and the Open Source Developer Labs - the two groups merged in January.

Just over half of respondents were from Europe and 35.8 per cent from the US.

The majority, 68.4 per cent, of Linux desktops are in small and home office set-ups or small businesses with less than 100 machines. Medium businesses of between 101 and 500 PCs account for 9.7 per cent and companies with between 1,001 and 5,000 account for 6.2 per cent of Linux desktops. Some 39.5 per cent of respondents use Linux on more than half of their machines, but 59.6 per cent of those surveyed are using Windows on more than half their machines.

In terms of flavours of Linux the "Ubuntu family" accounts for 54.1 per cent followed by Red Hat versions with 50.2 per cent, while Novell SUSE picks up 35.2 per cent. (Eagle-eyed readers may notice this adds up to more than 100 per cent because many groups have not settled on just one Linux version in their office or organisation.)

Ubuntu scores slightly higher with personal users at 55.4 per cent, followed by Debian at 22.2 per cent and Gentoo 10.2 per cent, then Knoppix at 7.1 per cent.

Device support remains an issue for Linux users, with printers over Wi-Fi connections being top irritant this year.

The applications users would most like to get their hands on are Adobe's Photoshop and Dreamweaver - second place is held by AutoCAD.

More from the Linux Foundation here. ®

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