Snapshot: Where Linux is hot

Linux is growing fast, but where in the world is it hot?

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Linux, by many accounts, is growing like gangbusters these days.

And, really, why wouldn't it be? Nearly every "hot" technology hyped in the media these days directly or indirectly depends on Linux. Cloud computing? Big data? DVRs? Android smartphones? It's all running Linux underneath, and as these sectors continue to explode, so too does Linux.

About the only hot tech property that doesn't have a direct Linux connection right now is the tablet market, which anyone would have to concede to Apple's iPad.

With all the giddiness about the success of Linux, I was a little curious about where Linux is popular these days, so with a little time to kill, I did a little research on Google Insights for Search. If you're not familiar with this tool, Insights produces normalized results of search terms entered on Google, and tracks those trends over time. It also breaks out search terms by (again, normalized) geographic area.

If you look at the results for "Linux", for instance, the results show that in terms of regional interest, Cuba seems to be the relative leader in searches for Linux, followed by the Czech Republic, India, Taiwan, and Lesotho.

I wanted to go a little deeper, though, so I tried this: Insights listed the top related searches to "Linux" on Google, each with a given relative score, from 0 to 100. The top ten of these related searches to Linux (with their relative values to the Linux search term) were:

  • ubuntu (100)
  • linux ubuntu (100)
  • linux download (70)
  • linux server (45)
  • linux command (30)
  • suse linux (30)
  • suse (30)
  • linux usb (25)
  • fedora linux (25)
  • fedora (25)

These results were interesting enough in and of themselves, but it is very important to remember that this is a snapshot only: my results were different when I ran the exact same search on Insight just a few minutes later. Thus, the geographic results are just as likely to move up and down.

With this snapshot in hand, I set about tabulating the results for each nation listed underneath each of these related search terms. For each value the country I had, I multiplied it by the relative value that search term had to the original "linux" term. For example, both "suse" and "suse linux" had values of 100 in Germany (as one might expect), but they were multiplied by 0.3 to take into account the relative values of 30 each term had compared to "linux."

That was my methodology, so what were the results?

It turns out that the Czech Republic has the highest interest in the most-searched-for aspects of Linux. It showed up in the top 10 of "linux" and seven of the 10 related terms listed above. The top 10 list based on my snapshot reads like this:

  1. Czech Republic
  2. Cuba
  3. India
  4. Germany
  5. Taiwan
  6. Sri Lanka
  7. Indonesia
  8. Russian Federation
  9. Bangladesh
  10. Italy

What is interesting to me on this list is the mix of developing and industrialized nations--and the distinct absence of the U.S., the U.K, and China from the top 20. In fact, these countries weren't close to the top at all. The rankings for nations of interest were:

  1. Japan
  1. China
  1. South Korea
  1. United States
  1. Canada
  1. Australia

The United Kingdom did not appear in any of the 50 nations that showed up in my search this morning.

You should take these results with a massive grain of salt, as I am presenting them for general interests' sake only: you can view the map and table of my results for yourself. These results may or not be reflective of where Linux is "hot" right now, because these are normalized values and (as I noted) subject to a lot of change.

Defining where Linux is hot is a tricky business, but in some locations there definitely seems to be a trend towards Linux interest in diverse regions around the world.

Now if only I had a travel budget…

Read more of Brian Proffitt's Zettatag and Open for Discussion blogs and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Drop Brian a line or follow Brian on Twitter at @TheTechScribe. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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