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Windows users love open source software

By Microsoft Subnet on Thu, 10/02/08 - 2:32pm.

Six months into its Open Source Census project, OpenLogic has come up with some interesting results about Windows users for Microsoft. On Sept. 30, the Open Source Census project revealed updated statistics that showed, among other things, that open source was a "significant" percentage of the software being run on Windows machines. No one would be surprised at that given the popularity of Firefox (found on 85% of the machines scanned), Samba and others. But the documentation that this census is providing clearly shows a vibrant open source community for Windows exists.

Let's note that Microsoft is a sponsor of the census and that the first report on results in August (taken two months after the census launched), showed that more than half of the open source software found was found on Windows machines. Since this latest press release no longer specifies that 50%-plus number, a logical conclusion would be that as more machines are scanned, far less than 50% of them are running Windows.

Let's also note that not very many machines have been scanned -- in six months only 2,235 machines have participated, according to the census's own reports. (Interestingly, the press release was quick to point out that 300,000 open source packages were found, but never mentioned the small number of machines involved). Those likely to participate are those likely to love open source and use it for their operating system, too.

Even still, what Windows shops and Microsoft should learn from this is that a vibrant open source community is working away for Windows and that this is a good thing. If Windows does not continue to be attractive to developers, then it will die on the vine, and open source is clearly where the hottest development action is. If Microsoft could learn to work with, and foster this broader open source community (not just Windows folks who submit stuff to CodePlex), then the legacy operating system will stay relevant.

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