Way back in September this year I blogged about Student Computer use. Slightly to my surprise that post garnered quite a high readership despite its extremely informal basis
- walk round campus at lunch time
- note what computers you see students using
- blog about it
Over the weekend a colleague from York posted some interesting figures from there on computer use
OS stats of connections INTO campus for desktop OSs: Win81 1%, W8, 9%, Win7 50%, Vista 5%, XP 15%, Linux 3%, OS X 17%
OS stats of computers ON campus: Win81 5%, Win8 20%, Win7 19%, Vista 7%, XP 16%, Linux 6%, OS X 26%
Which is kind of interesting. Now I don’t know how the figures were filtered but they probably reflect a mix of staff and student connections, with, given that York is a universtity where a lot of students live on campus, the second set of figures reflecting student use more accurately than the first.
From this I think it’s fair to say students have a strong preference for OS X. The presence of Vista and XP is interesting, and I think a reflection of my long held suspicion that students buy themselves a laptop at the start of the their degree course and never ever upgrade the OS over the course of their three or four years.
If I’m right, it probably means that the end of support for XP is less of a problem than it might be, as the XP and Vista machines will age out of the population by the end of the northern hemisphere academic year (Of course here in Canberra, our academic year is already over).
This also explains why quarter of the machines are windows 8 or 8.1 - they represent new purchases.
Connections into campus probably reflect a mix of staff and graduate student connections - and the dynamics of machine replacement are probably different for them - they probably use a machine for more of its natural life of four to five years, and given the initial distaste for Windows 8, they probably tried to replace machines with Windows 7 where possible.
The numbers of Vista and XP are concerning, but given that most people never upgrade computers anyway one would need to take human factors into account in any upgrade campaign.
Sidegrading to Ubuntu is probably a step too far for most of these users, given the current low penetration of Linux among that community.
However, the key takeaways are that OS X has made substantial inroads into the student computer community, Linux hasn’t, and despite OS X’s advance Windows OS’s are still the majority
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