In the city of Gainesville, which is the majority of Hall County Georgia, open source software is starting to make an impact. For the past two weeks, I have been taking note of the software installed on machines that come in for repairs. The results, so far, have been rather astonishing.
Out of 279 machines, 147 have had OpenOffice.org installed on them. The other 132 did not necessarily go to MS either. Now, many of the OOo machines did have MSO installed; more often than not, the installation of MSO was a preinstalled trial for which the customer in question didn't feel like spending money. The next thing I noticed is that many of the customers noted that they did not like the new MS Ribbon interface, and that OOo was more comfortable. Out of the 132 other machines that came in, only 71 were using MSO. The 61 others were split between WordPerfect, Lotus, iWork, nothing, and believe it or not Abiword/Gnumeric.
A depressing note about my observations: IE wins. Why this occurs, I have no clue. IE in any of its incarnations seems to have a stranglehold on every day computer users. Out of 279 machines, 201 were using IE6/7/8, 5 were using IE9, 1 was using IE5 (on a Macintosh actually). The remaining 72 were shared by Firefox and Chrome. No one apparently knows about and/or cares about Opera/Safari (that includes Macintosh users, who overwhelmingly seem to prefer Firefox).
Other places I saw open source software come up: web servers, chat clients, project management, flowchart software, image editors, file sharing clients. On these, open source software clearly has a massive lead. In the seven months that I have been working in this city, I have only seen two installations of Microsoft's web server. All others have gone to Apache or Nginx. As for chat clients, most people seem to prefer Pidgin. For project managmenet, most people seem to prefer OpenProject. For flowcharting, most people seem to use OpenOffice (even when MSO is installed for everything else, people also seem to use OOo for PDFs). When it comes to image editing and filesharing, I really haven't seen much other than Gimp, Paint.net, Pinta, and Adobe BlahBlahBlah. The number of Adobes isn't high. It totaled 22 installations. Filesharing... 100% open source software apparently. No one seems to give a darn about the closed source file sharing applications out there.
Are these trends the same in your city? Let me know.