April 2, 2005 release of “Why OSS/FS? Look at the Numbers!”
I’ve posted an update of “Why Open Source Software / Free Software (OSS/FS, FLOSS, FOSS)? Look at the Numbers!”
The biggest change? I’ve added a large set of studies about the market penetration of the Mozilla web browsers (primarily the newer Mozilla Firefox, but the older Mozilla suite is also in use), as compared to Internet Explorer (IE). A multitude of studies show that IE is losing market share, while OSS/FS web browsers (particularly Firefox) are gaining market share. Sources of data include general market surveys like WebSideStory, OneStat, Information Week/Net Applications, thecounter.com, and quotationspage.com, as well as more specialized sources such as W3Schools (web developers) and Ars Technica (computer technologists). The figure below extracts data from several sources (there are far more in my paper than I can legibly show), but they all show the market trend over time. The red squares are Internet Explorer’s market share (all versions), and the blue circles are the combination of the older Mozilla suite and the newer Mozilla Firefox web browser (both of which are OSS/FS):
The data seems to show a small, gradual trend in the general web browsing community, with a much larger and more rapid move towards Mozilla and Mozilla Firefox in the home user, technical, web development, and blogging communities. In some cases (such as the Ars Technica technical site and the Boing Boing blog site), Firefox has become the leading web browser! That’s interesting particularly because it can be easily argued that the technical, web development, and blogging communities are leading indicators; these are the developers of the web sites you’ll see tomorrow and some of the heaviest users of the web, all making a switch.
One study not shown in the figure above (because it’s a single point of data) is from XitiMonitor. They surveyed a sample of websites used on a Sunday (March 6, 2005), totalling 16,650,993 visits, and categorized various European users. By surveying on Sunday, they intended to primarily find out what people choose to use, from their homes. Of the German users, an astonishing 21.4% were using Firefox. The other countries surveyed were France (12.2%), England (10.9%), Spain (9%), and Italy (8.6%). Here is the original XitiMonitor study of 2005-03-06, an automated translation of the XitiMonitor study, and a blog summary of the XitiMonitor study observing that, “Web sites aiming at the consumer have [no] other choice but [to make] sure that they are compatible with Firefox … Ignoring compatibility with Firefox and other modern browsers does not make sense business-wise.”
I analyzed this data to determine that 13.3% of European home users were using Firefox on this date in March 2005. How can I justify that figure? Well, we can use these major European countries as representatives of Europe as a whole; they’re certainly representative of western Europe, since they’re the most populous countries. Presuming that the vast majority of Sunday users are home users is quite reasonable for Europe. We can then make the reasonable presumption that the number of web browser users is proportional to the general population. Then we just need to get the countries’ populations; I used the CIA World Fact Book updated to 2005-02-10. These countries’ populations (in millions) are, in the same order as above, 82, 60, 60, 40, and 58; calculating (21.4%*82 + 12.2%*60 + 10.9%*60 + 9%*40 + 8.6%*58) / (82+60+60+40+58) yields 13.3%. This is something you won’t find on other pages; this is new analysis unique to my paper.
For all the detail on web browser market surveys, see http://www.dwheeler.com/oss_fs_why.html#browser-marketshare.
And yes, I’ve made lots of other improvements to the paper. Here are a few examples:
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