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 Benchmarking Platform
Phoromatic Test Orchestration

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 Articles & Reviews
  1. Sub-$20 802.11n USB WiFi Adapter That's Linux Friendly
  2. The Lenovo T450s Is Working Beautifully With Linux
  3. Linux 4.0 SSD EXT4 / Btrfs / XFS / F2FS Benchmarks
  4. Linux 4.0 Hard Drive Comparison With Six File-Systems
  5. Lenovo ThinkPad T450s Broadwell Preview
  6. How Open-Source Allowed Valve To Implement VULKAN Much Faster On The Source 2 Engine
Latest Linux News
  1. Debian 8.0 Jessie's Installer RC3 Released
  2. Features Thus Far For The Linux 4.1 Kernel
  3. Intel's Turbostat Adds Skylake Support In Linux 4.1
  4. Microsoft's Open-Source Group Merges Back Into The Company
  5. EXT4 In Linux 4.1 Adds File-System Level Encryption
  6. Open-Source Ardour 4.0 Audio Software Has Big Improvements
  7. Linux-Powered Endless Computer Raises $100k+ In A Few Days
  8. GCC 5.1 RC2 Arrives, GCC 5.1 Planned For Next Week
  9. F2FS For Linux 4.1 Has New Features & Fixes
  10. Phoronix Server Upgrade This Weekend: Dual Haswell Xeons, 96GB DDR4
Most Viewed News This Week
  1. Nouveau: NVIDIA's New Hardware Is "VERY Open-Source Unfriendly"
  2. Linux 4.0 Kernel Released
  3. Linux 4.1 Brings Many Potentially Risky x86/ASM Changes
  4. Microsoft Announces An LLVM-Based Compiler For .NET
  5. VirtualBox 5.0 Beta 2 Released
  6. KDBUS Is Taking A Lot Of Heat, Might Be Delayed From Mainline Linux Kernel
  7. LibreOffice 4.5 Bumped To Become LibreOffice 5.0
  8. Mozilla Start Drafting Plans To Deprecate Insecure HTTP