We've all heard anecdotes or stereotypes of "die hard Mac users", or "Linux zealots." Stories of people who strongly identify with the computers they use (aka "I am a Mac user").
But how often do people really identify with the Operating System they use the most on their computer?
I recently conducted a survey as part of study on how Operating Systems impact our happiness. Responses were submitted from 2,259 computer users -- using a broad range of Operating Systems -- primarily from "pro user" communities (not a random cross-section of the populace).
One of the questions asked was:
"Do you personally identify with your most-used Operating System? (example: 'I am a Mac user.')"
Of people that used MacOS X as their primary (aka "most used") Operating System, 49.2% said they identified as a MacOS user. 50.8% said they did not identify with the Operating System.
In other words, roughly half of MacOS X users identified with the Operating System (at least a little).
On the flip-side, 74.1% of Microsoft Windows users did not identify with Windows.
In fact, only 5.5% of people who use Windows as their primary system felt they identified with it "strongly." The difference between Mac and Windows users is, perhaps, not terribly surprising -- considering the reputation Windows has as being more "utilitarian" and, on the flip-side, there exists the oft-used idea of "cult of Macintosh."
How, then, do Linux users view themselves? Linux, while also having a very "utilitarian" and "pro user" reputation... likewise has a strong, vocal user community. The numbers are striking.
90.5% of Linux users surveyed stated that they identified with their most-used Operating System. With 55.4% saying they strongly identified with Linux. 9 out of 10 people using Linux, identify as such.
In other words: if you happen to use Linux as your primary system, odds are that you identify as such.
I included the largest of the mobile platforms (Android and iOS) as well. Curiously, at least to me, was the fact that iOS users were more likely to identify with their OS than Mac users (54% for iOS compared to 49.2% for MacOS).
The results for Android users were surprisingly similar to iOS users. Android users more often identified with their mobile platform (55.7%) than iOS users with theirs (54%). Based on the sample size, it seems entirely possible that the margin of error here would put the two platforms as nearly identical in these terms.
I mean, just look at how similar the iOS and Android charts are? Only very minor differences.
The idea of "identifying with your Operating System" was not the primary focus of this study -- simply a side question used for additional background and variables when looking at the primary theme of "Operating System impact on Happiness." As I was analyzing the numbers, these particular results struck me and I felt compelled to share them independently of the other results.
It might be worth doing further research on this topic down the line -- with more pointed questions to help draw further conclusions and see what other correlations can be found.
For the moment, based on the data at hand, I think it's safe to say Linux users (at least among the "Pro User" segment of the population) tend to identify with their platform in a profoundly more common way than either Mac or Windows users. To the point where "happens to use Linux" and "identifies as a Linux user" is almost synonymous.
The Lunduke Show is made possible through the support of Pogo Linux, Linode, & good, nerdy folk like you. Want to be one of those good, nerdy folk? Consider subscribing here on Patreon, or picking up some sweet, nerdy shirts. Either way, you're good. And nerdy.