As part of our "media kit" project, we put together a reader survey that
ran for the last two weeks of April.
Over 1800 readers filled out the survey—our thanks to all of
them—and, as promised, here is a summary of the responses.
The vast majority (90%) of respondents were subscribers, and almost all of
those folks intend to continue. Less than 5% of responses either never
planned to subscribe or may not resubscribe.
Three-quarters of subscribers were likely to continue their current level
if there were a subscription
price increase, with 8% overall likely to drop to a lower subscription
16% being less likely to subscribe or renew.
As for LWN content, the weekly edition front and kernel pages are by far
the most popular, with 90% reading them frequently. The daily news page
(71%), weekly development (70%), security (61%), and distributions (52%)
pages were all fairly popular as well. Less so were the yearly timeline (33%),
weekly announcements page (27%), and the events calendar (10%).
features that readers could live without had responses that, unsurprisingly,
mirrored those above. No more than 25% of readers could live without any
of the daily
or weekly pages, with the exception of 45% who would be fine without the
announcements page. The events calendar (57%) and timeline (34%) didn't
fare as well.
The clear winner for areas that readers would like to see more coverage is
"Languages and development tools" at 57%. Roughly 40% would like to see
more system administration and desktop Linux coverage, while approximately
one-third saw embedded systems and virtualization as areas for expanded
coverage. "The business of Linux and free software" was only chosen by 25%
of respondents and it would seem that we, perhaps, have the right amount of
coverage of legal issues and conferences as only 20% thought those should
Formatting LWN for mobile device display was the most popular choice for
that question, with 30% saying that they would personally use it. A PDF
version of the weekly edition was next at 17%, but EPub (7%) and Kindle
(2%) were not particularly interesting to respondents.
The question about regularly used distributions led to some interesting
results, with Ubuntu
(54%) and Debian (44%) far ahead of any of the rest. The next tier was led
by Fedora (24%), followed by Red Hat Enterprise Linux (21%), other OS (20%), CentOS
(19%), and other Linux (15%). All of the rest came in at less than 10%:
Gentoo, openSUSE, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Mandriva, and Oracle
Unbreakable Linux (with 13 respondents) in that order.
In the single-choice "primary desktop" question, GNOME came out way ahead
with 50%. KDE had a 23% share and the numbers drop off quickly from
there. 8% use some Linux desktop environment that we didn't list and 7%
use another OS entirely for their primary desktop. No desktop environment
(5%) was just ahead of Xfce (4%), while LXDE is only used by ten of our
readers who responded.
As we move forward, and look at changes we might make—for content,
features, and coverage—we will definitely keep these answers in
mind. There are some things, like the events calendar, that we do as a
service to the community and are likely to stay, even if they are somewhat
sparsely used. But when thinking about article assignments and where to
focus our efforts, these answers will come in very handy. Thanks again to
all who responded.
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