Do you think you know, I mean really know, where Linux is popular and where it's not? I did, and you know what? I was wrong. I found out, thanks to a new feature from Google: Google Trends.
With Google Trends, you can enter in a word or a term, and find out where it's popular. So, for example, if you entered "Steelers," it wouldn't surprise anyone who knows anything about American football that Pittsburgh is the city where the most people are Googling the guys in black-and-gold.
Notice how I said American football? To the rest of the world, soccer is football, and Linux turns out to much more popular outside of the U.S. than within.
Google's new trend search is normalized. That is to say, the results are weighted not by raw numbers, but by numbers compared to the population. In sheer, raw numbers, the U.S. would lead the way in almost any category. That wouldn't say much. But, by looking at what percentage of a population is interested in a subject, you can see where people have the hottest interest in a given subject.
So, what's the number one city searching for all things Linux? It's Munich, Germany, followed by Hamburg, Berlin, and Frankfurt Am Main. Only Warsaw, Poland, at number three, broke into the German dominated Linux interest list. And, of the top ten, only Sao Paulo, Brazil was from outside of Europe.
Russia, however, is the country that has the most interest in Linux. It's followed by India -- out-sourcing anyone? -- and the Czech Republic. Germany, on the national list, comes in at number nine.
The U.S.? No American city or the country as a whole even makes the top ten.
Heck, for that matter, English-speakers aren't even on Linux's top-ten "language searched in" list. It's the Russians with a wide lead followed by Hungarian- and Romanian-speakers. German, by this metric, comes in at number six.
I don't know why that surprised me. After all, Linux was created by Linus Torvalds, a Finn (eighth in language) of Swedish descent (ninth in language). But, it did.
Now, not everything was a surprise. The top ten cities in the world where people search for SUSE were German. Darmstadt and Munich lead the way, here.
You might think that Americans must lead the way when it comes to Red Hat? Right? Wrong.
The number one and number two cities for searching about all things Red Hat are Mumbai and Delhi, India. The U.S. finally shows up at number three with Austin, Texas leading the way. Hmmm... I wonder if Michael Dell is getting serious about Red Hat Linux on the desktop.
What about the U.S. as a country when it comes to Red Hat interest? Nope, we're not even in the top five. The five countries in the world with the most interest in Red are: India, the Philippines, Russia, Columbia, and Mexico. With the Philippines coming up fast in outsourcing, I suspect we're going to be seeing a lot of outsourced data-center work in Red Hat's future.
I was also fascinated to find that India, Indonesia, and Norway are the countries with the most interest in "Linux desktop." The U.S.? Nope, not us. Again, we're not even in the top ten.
Then I wondered, "Where are the most popular Linux desktops the most popular?"
For KDE, you're about to say Germany, right? Wrong again.
KDE is searched for the most in the Czech Republic, with its former national partner Slovakia coming up in second place. Germany comes in at number six.
Even when you break it down to the city level, Prague, takes the checkered flag. After that, however, you'll find Munich.