Who's Using Which OS?

  Chegs ® 01:39 20 Dec 03

In the last issue (and in item #1 above) I mentioned that Win98 will
become officially obsolete (in Microsoft's own terms) next month on
January 16th.

But that prompted many readers to write, wondering what percentage of
people were still using Win98 and how many were on XP; others wanted
more info on options for Win98 users.

The best information I have on what LangaList readers are using comes
from the anonymous server statistics for Langa.Com, which includes a
gross tally of browser types and OSes accessing the site. Although this
information isn't definitive--- some browsers misreport themselves, for
example--- it's probably a reasonable representation of OS use among
your fellow readers:

As you might guess, Windows is the most-commonly-reported OS in use.
Within the Windows group, the largest single subgroup by far is XP, with
52% of the Windows OS tally. Far, far behind, roughly tied for second
place, are Windows 98 with 19% of users, and Windows 2000 with 15% of
the count.

All the remaining Windows slices are quite small. For example, WinMe
accounts for just 6%; WinNT for 1%; and Win95, Windows Server 2003,
WinCE, Win3.xx and the Longhorn Beta (the next version of Windows, due
out in 2005) all with less than 1%.

And note that the above is just for Windows use: Many other OSes are
represented in the overall counts too.

*nix is the second most popular OS type overall, although its total use
is only about 1/10th that of Windows. Of the *nix flavors, various Linux
distributions aggregate to a 50% share, with the rest divided among BSD,
SunOS, HP-UX, "Other" Unix, OSF1, AIX, and IRIX.

A small but nontrivial percentage of Macs visit the site too, with Mac
PowerPC the most common identified type, followed distantly by Mac 68k,
and "Unknown" Macintosh.

Way down in the single digits--- and sub-single digits--- we have
visitors using WebTV, RISC OS, OS/2, the BeOS, and even the Amiga!
For me, the three "take away" points in the above are that, among
LangaList readers (1) WinXP is far and away the mainstream OS choice;
(2) Linux use is significant but still small; and (3) the 19% of you
still using Win98 are facing a tough choice as your OS slips into
nonsupport by Microsoft.

If you're using Win98, I suggest you upgrade to XP if you can: it's
probably the best available choice, and as the numbers above show, is
working for a very large number of your fellow readers. The official
Microsoft information at click here can help you see if
your current hardware will support XP or not. Please also check
LangaList back issues ( click here ) for tons and tons of
information on getting, setting up, and using XP.

If an upgrade just isn't in the cards, and if you want to stick with
Windows, then use the information in item #1, above, and here (
click here ) and here (
click here ) to clean up your current installation and
get it rock-solid. Then, because patches, updates and such may not be
available in the future, preserve that perfect setup in an image or
backup ( click here ) so that you can restore
your system to that perfect state without having to re-download, re-
install, or re-setup anything.

If you're open to a non-Windows option, check out any of the various
flavors of Linux, we've covered. See click here for
Standard Edition discussions; there are many more items in the Plus!
edition, too). Linux can run decently on older, slower hardware, and the
price is either nil (for the do-it-yourself distributions) or small (for
the prepackaged and supported versions).

Does this mean Fred Langa reads PCA or vice versa.... :-)

  ton 02:46 20 Dec 03

"(3) the 19% of you still using Win98 are facing a tough choice as your OS slips into nonsupport by Microsoft"

What's the panic? I can't remember the last time I had an update for Win98 from Microsoft.

Just because MS stop supporting Win98 doesn't mean it won't work with the software it's using now.

With new software or hardware XP might become necessary I agree, but some people are being frightened into an upgrade sooner than they need to be.

There's plenty of life in Win98 yet.

Having said that, I have got XP and WIN98SE on my PC.

  recap 08:50 20 Dec 03

At home I use W98, at work I have access to W3.1, W95, W98, W2K, WXP both home and pro and Mac OS10.

Still able to use all the system whether they have support or not. You can always find a site that will give you support if need be.

  recap 08:51 20 Dec 03

Oopps, forgot Linux Redhat 6, just starting to play with that one.

  zanwalk 09:02 20 Dec 03

I think it would be interesting to see what the relative percentages are for this site, as it seems to me that both 98 and ME figures are below what I would have expected judging from the number of queries received on this site.

I use W98 (SPEEDOS version) mainly, although I have W2K, XP and various flavours of Linux. Also using Opera as my main browser.

  Forum Editor 09:02 20 Dec 03

that of the 620 or so people who responded on 4.5% were still using Windows 98. The majority were using Windows XP.

This situation isn't (in my experience) reflected in the business world. where a greater percentage of businesses would still be found to be running Win98. They won't have any problems though, and they'll upgrade to WinXP in the short to medium term anyway.

I agree with ton, there's no reason for anyone to have even the slightest worry about Microsoft's decision.

  powerless 09:52 20 Dec 03

Well actually FE Sun think otherwise click here

  s3mt3x 09:55 20 Dec 03

I think the only issue may be where other platforms are required for particular types of computing. For example, Directx - if ms don't support Win98 anymore I can't see them building any new releases of directx for it. Then what are you going to do when you want to play the latest games? Remember, Win2K & XP are built on a different kernel so these releases won't be compatible with win98.

I'd take the plunge and get XP - I bought XP pro the other week after using Windows 2K Pro for several years. After you find out how to turn all of the "it looks like you're starting your computer" stuff off it's really quite good and it hasn't crashed once yet :)

  Jester2K II 10:45 20 Dec 03

Can someone claify for me?

When it's said the MS are dropping support for Windows 98, does this mean Windows 98 or 98 Second Editon, or both?


  Chegs ® 10:46 20 Dec 03


  The GnoMe 10:52 20 Dec 03

My opinon is that Linux is the future, ok not the world domination that the linux gurus want, but a far far bigger part of the market.

As more and more people become comupter literate, not all of them can afford to pay the large sums of money that Microsoft want for their large OS's, just to be told your OS will be obsolete in 5 years, never mind the updates in between!!!

As more people learn to think outside the norm and are willing to learn a slightly different way of computing, Linux will take hold.

I am not saying that it will take over Windows in domination of the market but with the diversity of the distros and the cheap if not free cost then it will be a major player VERY soon.

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