ubuntu question bubble

At the end of last year Ubuntu launched a user survey to scout feedback ahead of the (then upcoming) LTS release.

A colossal 21, 862 people took the survey, which asked respondents a diverse array of questions, from ‘Is Ubuntu stable enough?’ through to thought provoking queries like ‘What could Ubuntu to do to make your life easier?’.

Ubuntu’s aim in asking for feedback was simple: to get a pulse check on the Ubuntu community, their needs, their thoughts, wants, and wishes.

Though intended to be consultative Canonical’s Rhys Davies says the sentiments gleaned from the survey “…will remain a source of information for what the community wants” from the system.

Now the results are out and they reveal that:

  • 30% want a return to the Unity desktop
  • Opinions on the GNOME desktop were ‘controversial’
  • 36% of responders (the majority) were positive about Snap apps
  • …although 30% were not
  • People want software like Photoshop and Lightroom on Linux
  • Kubuntu and Xubuntu are the most popular Ubuntu flavours
  • Gaming improvements are high on people’s lists of wants
  • …as are more Snap apps

And there was this bizarre outlier too:

  • One responder said they liked the (now removed) Amazon shortcut

Parts of the survey allowed those answering the chance to be get more specific at various points, asking them to share feedback in their own words. The following word cloud illustrates the frequency of unique terms mentioned in those feedback boxes and is, I think, pretty surprising:

word cloud
The bigger the word = the ‘more’ people mentioned it

Clearly people want more of everything, but it’s interesting that five biggest terms — “more”, “support”, “desktop”, “gnome” and “app” — broadly relate to each other.

For a deeper dive into all of the data do check out the post up on the Ubuntu blog.

While these results don’t serve up any ‘perspective-altering’ findings the exercise as a whole has helped to better connect Ubuntu with its user base and take on board their views.

And with an LTS release out of the way, will Ubuntu developers start to make more impactful changes to the OS going forward? Quite possibly — so don’t be surprised if Ubuntu ends up surprising us when the Groovy Gorilla arrives in October.

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