A question mark in a circleOne week and 15,000 responses later, the results of our Ubuntu at 10 Reader Survey are finally ready to serve up. And they make for some fascinating mid-morning coffee-break reading.

Our survey – which we stated at the time was conducted to sate curiosity rather than a serious academic “Ubunthropometrical” streak within us – reveals which releases wowed and wooed, provides a pulse check on current opinion, and throws up…

Enough waffle, let’s take a look at what you folks shared. 

“Jump On” Version of Ubuntu

Kicking off our ‘Ubuntu at Ten Reader Survey’ was an obvious question: which version of Ubuntu served as your entry point. This aimed to find out the most popular ‘jump on’ point.

Unsurprisingly the majority of first timers came by way of an LTS release. Ubuntu 8.04 LTS, Ubuntu 6.06 LTS and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS being the most common “jump on points” for respondents. This was followed by Ubuntu 4.10 (Warty Warthog; the very first release) and Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn).


Putting LTS releases to one side there was a noticeable drop in the number of people experiencing the OS “for the first time” post Ubuntu 11.04. This surprised me; I had been expecting a sizeable bias towards newer releases on the assumption that it has, over time, gotten more popular.

Favourite Version of Ubuntu

The version of Ubuntu we use first isn’t necessarily our overall favourite. For our second question we asked you which release you consider to be the best.

Again, I expected newer versions to score better — and this time they did. The three most recent LTS’ scored highest, in reverse chronological order, too.


Favourite Default Wallpaper

Being the TMZ of Linux reportage, we couldn’t resist delving into the more trivial. And without even looking at the results I knew that the winner of a poll on most popular default wallpaper would be the striking Hardy Heron from 8.04 LTS.

fave ubuntu wallpaper

Not shown in the graphic above, but of interest to anyone who’s stopped by our comments section on wallpaper reveal day, was the fourth place choice: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. Yes, the drape popularly referred to as ‘purple sick’ came in 4th. 

The “bruised skin” wallpaper of Ubuntu 7.04 ‘Feisty Fawn’ proved the least popular, garnering just 38 votes.

Opinions, Thoughts and Words

Moving on to more flexible questions. Presented with a list of 14 statements (a mixture of positive and negative) and asked to pick up to three you most strongly associated with Ubuntu you plumped for: “Well Supported”, “Innovative” and “Stylish”.


A sizeable 20% picked “[Ubuntu is] losing its way”. I don’t think that’s an entirely unexpected response given the focus on mobile convergence and the resulting lack of user-facing development on the desktop.

Asked to enter “one word that sums up Ubuntu” positive statements like “Free”, “human”, etc., came out top. (For stat hounds “rubbish” was the most suggested negative term, clocking up a mere 64 mentions).

We also asked you to pick three areas where you’d like to see development focus settle in the near future. Gaming and hardware scored (predictably) highly, as did the desire for a new visual look and a hastening of Unity 8 on the desktop.


Most Popular Desktop Environment & Flavour

No Ubuntu survey would be worth its weight in rounded percentiles if it neglected to ask about favoured desktop environments.

Unity came out on top with 63% (a predictable result for an Ubuntu-focused news site, perhaps), followed by GNOME Shell (12%) and XFCE (6%).

A rogue 8% of people checked “other/unsure”. Had MATE been listed separately I’d wager this section would’ve been far, far lower — what an oversight!


On the “Official Ubuntu Flavour” front Ubuntu GNOME stole the show, followed by Xubuntu (chiming with the DE stats), followed by Kubuntu and Lubuntu. Those not using an official flavour (i.e., those who use regular Ubuntu) were told to skip the question.

A few folks poked us on Twitter to ask why elementary OS (sic) and Linux Mint were not listed as choices in this section. No conspiracy; although both are based on Ubuntu they are not official flavors. 

Talking of Popularity…

A Mental Graph

One of the more contrasting results was that of “perceived popularity”.

Asked to rate on a scale of 1-5 the degree to which they think Ubuntu has increased in popularity with each release the results — which are 1 for less, and 5 for more — were clear: you think Ubuntu is getting more popular with each release.

Short of actual hard data/quantifiable user stats from Canonical it’s hard to tell if this is the case. Anecdotally it seems likely.

Google Trends shows the opposite – Ubuntu getting less “popular” (overall, in terms of searches, barring release day spikes) with each release compared to the previous.

Ubuntu Phones & Dual Boots

We avoided dealing too much with Ubuntu for Phones, Tablets and TVs in the survey, but we did ask for a snap judgement on whether you thought the OS and its first handsets will prove popular.

It was a sliding scale of 1 to 5: 15% said ‘unsuccessful’ (1), 22% said ‘not very successful’ (2), 34% split even (3), 20% said successful (4) and 8% said ‘very successful’ (5).


One stat that was firmly in keeping with expectations was the question of “dual booting”. Asked if you use Ubuntu alongside other operating systems, be it OS X, Windows, or other Linux distributions, your collective votes came marginally in favour of ‘yes, I dual boot’ — a response similar to that yielded by gamers in a poll we held in the summer.

It also seems that you folks are just as or more excited for new releases of Ubuntu — Uninspiring Unicorns included — compared to the past. That’s an encouraging sign!

What’s In a Name?

Our final question asked you to enter your preferred name for Ubuntu 15.04. To say there was plenty of variety would be an understatement!

Nevertheless, basing it on the “animal” or “adjectives” alone shows more commonality. Interestingly no one guessed “Vivid Vervet”, and neither term was of the most popular (those that scored 10% or more) suggestions.


Disclaimers and fresh pants

Before anyone gets their underwear in a knot, this survey was conducted for fun.

Grown up face time.

Before anyone gets their cheap-o underwear in a knot over the results of this survey let me, again, with more emphatic gusto than before, stress that this survey was conducted for fun. The findings should be taken with a grain of salt and should not be seen as anything more (or less) than a sample of OMG! Ubuntu! readers.

I am not a statistician; some questions could’ve been presented in a better format (e.g., radio buttons vs. checkboxes, wider sliding scale, etc.).

All percentages listed above are as reported by Google Sheets. In most cases these are rounded up. Not all questions were mandatory. Where more than one option could be selected the percentage listed is based on those who selected that sole answer, and is not the percentage of the one answer in relation to the others selected (hence it won’t add up to 100%).

You can view a full version of the graphics above on Imgur.

Ubuntu at Ten Reader Survey Results

Finally, I want to say a really colossal thank you to the 15,000+ people who took a few minutes out to complete the survey, share it and offer feedback. You helped make a tedious exercise more enjoyable! 

survey ubunten