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Heise Online: And What Do You Do With Linux?

Aug 15, 2001, 15:33 (38 Talkback[s])

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Overview and Translation Provided By Fred Mobach

"How PC-Unix is in use in Germany" is an article written by Dr. Oliver Diedrich in C'T 2001/17 and can be found on the web at

"Some argue that Linux has no future on the desktop and will never reach beyond the internet server. Linux fans are sure that the free operating system is now ready for the workstations and mission-critical business servers. We wanted to be sure - and nearly 10,000 Heise Online readers filled in our online inquiry".

9960 persons served them 9213 usable data records. Mr. Diedrich questions the scientific level of this enquiry and reminds us that this is not the case because of the self selection process. However, the inquiry process required a login in order to make scripted inquiry entries impossible. And those 9960 are not an insignificant sample from the some 100,000 Linux users in Germany. The respondents are, he noted, mostly experienced Linux users as more than 60 % of them uses it for more than two years.

Server or desktop
20 % of the respondents use Linux only on the desktop, 15 % only on the servers and, amazingly 65 % on both. So 85 % runs Linux on the desktop - so far for "Linux is unusable on the desktop.

The picture "Use of and experience with Linux" at shows some interesting details : the "alten Hasen" use Linux everywhere, most newbies only on the desktop.

Translation hints :

Einsatzbereich - use of
Erfahrung - experience
Prozent - percentage
Anwender - user
Neuling - newbie
unter - less than
bis zu - until
über - more than
nur - only
und - and
mit - with
90 % of the respondents use Linux at home, but 70 % also at work.More than 90 % use at least two Linux computers and 27,5 % more than ten.

Most Linux users (99,5 %) use x86 computers but 400 respondents use Sparc, 90 use a mainframe and 50 small devices like PDA's.

How it pleases them.
More than 30 % of the respondents use more than one distribution. Use of the distributions (note that more than one can be mentioned) :

74 % SuSE
29 % RedHat
23 % Debian
10 % Mandrake
A picture on distributions and experience can be seen at

RedHat is more used by professionals with 33 % in professional use against 16 % in private use. Debian is, you guessed it, more in use by experienced users (28 %) than by newbies (3 %). 1.6 % build their own Linux, often based on the Linux From Scratch project.

Most server users are content with their Linux systems while 77 % of the desktop users is pleased with their system.

Big boxes.
Less than one procent of the respondents had problems related to reliability, stability, security or scalability. The picture is at

Translation hints :

keine probleme - no problems
komplizierte Bedienung - complex usage
fehlende Hardware-Unterstützung - no hardware support
fehlende Anwendungen - no applications
fehlende Dokumentation - no documentation
mangelnder Support - lack of support (he, they should call me :-)
Integration in die IT-Infrastruktur - integration in the IT infrastructure
sonstige Probleme - other problems
Note : respondents could indicate more than one problem.
The servers are mostly used as internet-, file- and printserver. But 10 respondents use SAP-R/3 servers, 25 a backup system and one a redaction system. But also mentioned were DNS, DHCP, CVS, networkdiagnostic, FTP, News, IRC, Dialin, Fax, computer cluster and game server. After all, that Linux system is flexible. The picture is at

Translation hints :

Datenbank - database
Verzeichnisdienste - directory services
andere - other
38 % of the respondents use only Linux servers, 25 % of them use also other server OS'es. Windows NT/2000 is in use by 42 % (presumably also on the desktop, not only on servers), commercial UNIX by 41 %` and the BSD's by 8 %. Linux users know the competitors.

On the desktop
"Linux desktop users are using the Internet, use office programs, burn CD's and process pictures. Two out of three develop software or do network administration. Even more than half of the private users develop software. And that they different from users of other OS'es shows when 80 of them chose Tex as "other application in use". Not more than 10 % of them boot only Linux, other boot also Windows. Application usage is at

Translation hints :
Anwendungen - applications
Betriebssysteme - OS'es
Entwicklung - development
Netzwerk - network
brennen - burn
Bildbearbeitung - image processing
Webseiten erstellen - webpage building
Spiele - games

Problems with Linux on the desktop.
See the picture at

Translation hints :
Probleme - problems
keine - no(ne)
fehlen - lack
hoher - more
Administrationsaufwand - administration effort
komplizierte - complex
Bedienung - usage
Unzulänglichkeiten - shortcomings
Zuverlässigkeit - reliability
Stabilität - stability
unzureichend - inadequate
mangelnde - lack of
sonstiges - others
The missing applications are grouped at

Translation hints: see above.

Also mentioned were font rendering, printer support and document exchange with Windows users.

Have fun,