Hey instructors, do you know what kinds of operating systems your students use?

The University of Virginia does.

They survey students every year to find out what they're up to tech-wise. Apparently 99% of their first year students own computers.

And, a large majority of those computers are laptops (3058/3113 or 98%).

And, what's on those laptops? Let's have a drum roll:

60% have Windows VISTA
26% have Mac OS X
12% have Windows XP

and, 2% or less have something else - like Linux.

This is why I really, really, want good web-based applications.

Just for the record, I don't care what operating systems students use. My concern how to help them use those computers to do biology.

Hat tip to Wired Campus.

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That's a bit of a strange number, considering that the market penetration of Vista isn't anywhere near 60% (at least, according to browser stats... wc3schools). OS X doesn't have that penetration either, come to think of it. Must be due to the number of new computers purchased for the students.

I wonder how that would break down along demographic lines?

(Incidentally, I've noticed that you're consistently capitalizing "Vista". Vista is a name, not an acronym like XP which is short for "experience"...sorry, don't mean to be a wanker, just hoping it might help. :-)

I think the numbers for Vista (for some reason I thought it was capitalized) would be strange if they were applied to a different population.

But, in this case, the population that's being considered consists of first year college students, i.e. freshmen. That means that many of those students probably just bought their shiny new laptops before starting college, and in that case, those computers would come with, you guessed it, Vista.

This seems pretty accurate compared to what I see on campus.

*typed on OS X, just down the street from UVA.

By meerasedai (not verified) on 19 Mar 2008 #permalink

Wow, too few of them are using Linux...

But seriously, I appreciate what you are saying. Another (additinal, not really alternative) option to web based is applications written in python (or perl?). Such apps are very transportable across the three platforms. (Win, Mac, *nix)

VMWare Player is free, available on all three platforms and there are preconfigured images of common Linux distributions available for free as well.

So everyone can run Linux, even if they don't run Linux.