1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

How Hardware Companies Determine Their Linux Base

Hardware

Published on 26 April 2011 04:57 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware
66 Comments

Landing in the Phoronix e-mail inbox last night was a question by a reader asking how hardware vendors determine the operating systems used by their customers and their respective market-share since there isn't anything to "phone home" and report usage statistics. In other words, this reader had just purchased four desktop processors and he was wondering how to inform AMD that he's a Linux user. This is in hopes of going towards their Linux tally and eventually increasing their Linux level of support.

Obviously due to the open nature of Linux, the hardware vendors can't go to one distributor and ask about their total sales/downloads. One of the common methods that I know several IHVs use to gauge the market-share of different operating systems -- at least in part -- is by looking at web-browser statistics. Not of the breakdown of traffic from Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, BSD, etc to their own web-site necessarily, but to mainstream web-sites. Sites that are very common to a diverse selection of users and not a particular vertical market. Of course, this isn't the most accurate way of measuring for the PCs not connected to the Internet or for those that do most of their web-browsing from a mobile device or at work, but it's one of the leading methods.

Linux users commonly tend to feel e-mailing the company directly will also improve matters if you're in the "alternative OS" crowd, but in most cases it doesn't end up working out. Unless there's a serious undertaking in mass emailing of these companies, nearly every time the effort is wasted unless the company replies and drops a tad bit of interesting information (and you should always pass that along to Phoronix ;)). Petition lists are also common for Linux users, such as OpenTheBlob.com for NVIDIA, but those tend to have little effect as well.

As I've commented before, many consumers also approach the wrong company when lobbying for greater Linux / open-source support. In particular, if you're working towards better Linux graphics drivers, contacting AMD or NVIDIA directly usually will have little impact. The more appropriate solution is contacting the AIB (Add-In-Board) partner of AMD or NVIDIA from who you purchased the graphics card. That's AMD/NVIDIA's real customer as you're not buying the graphics processor directly from them. If a company like Sapphire, ASUS, PowerColor, or eVGA goes up to the IHV and demands greater Linux hardware support, that's what facilitates real change. Likewise, if you bought a PC from Dell, HP, or ASUS, your feedback communicated to the IHVs from them is what carries weight.

Some threads worth reading that are along the same sort of lines are ATI dropping support for Linux?!, Linux Desktop Marketshare Passes 1%, Future of my support for ATI, and donations for OSS drivers. From the Phoronix Forums you can also get comments from the developers and hardware vendors themselves.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. Rosewill RS-MI-01: An Ultra Low-Cost Mini-ITX Chassis
  2. D-Link DCS-2330L HD Wireless Network Camera
  3. Gigabyte AM1M-S2H
  4. AMD's New Athlon/Semprons Give Old Phenom CPUs A Big Run For The Money
Latest Linux Articles
  1. AMD Catalyst 14.4 Brings Few Linux Performance Improvements
  2. The Performance Of Fedora 20 Updated
  3. Clang Fights GCC On AMD's Athlon AM1 APU With Jaguar Cores
  4. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS vs. Oracle Linux vs. CentOS vs. openSUSE
Latest Linux News
  1. PC-BSD Is Developing Its Own Desktop Environment
  2. Valve Is Bringing VOGL To Windows & Working On Regression Tests
  3. Canonical Is Taking Over Linux 3.13 Kernel Maintenance
  4. Google Web Designer Is Now Natively Available On Linux
  5. Ubuntu 14.10 Is Codenamed The Utopic Unicorn
  6. Audacious 3.5 Lightweight Audio Player Released
  7. Steam Updated For Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, SteamOS
  8. DNF 0.5 Yum Replacement Now Supports Groups
  9. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.0 Is Looking Fantastic
  10. Intel Is Launching An Interesting Bay Trail NUC Next Week
  11. Another X.Org EVoC Proposed For OpenGL 4+ Tests
  12. The Best Features Coming With Qt 5.3
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Linux Kernel Developers Fed Up With Ridiculous Bugs In Systemd
  2. The Most Amazing OpenGL Tech Demo In 64kb
  3. Announcing radeontop, a tool for viewing the GPU usage
  4. HTPC-upgrade advice: AMD Richland A8-7600 or Kaveri A10-6700T ???
  5. New card. Open source drivers only.
  6. The GNOME Foundation Is Running Short On Money
  7. Script for Fan Speed Control
  8. Torvalds Is Unconvinced By LTO'ing A Linux Kernel