The least happy computer users: Those running Arch Linux & Firefox
Used by the happiest computer users: macOS, Slackware Linux, & Brave.
Does our choice of Operating System — either for our Desktop Computer or Smartphone — impact our overall happiness?
That is an incredibly difficult question to answer… but an important one. (If a computer makes us more sad… that seems like a bad thing, right?)
In order to even begin to answer that question, we first need to determine — as best we can — what the overall happiness is of people who use various Operating Systems. Luckily we now have extensive data on exactly that.
The following data was obtain from polling done between January 22nd and February 9th, 2023. A few details about the polling conducted:
6,022 people answered the questions.
This is significantly larger than the vast majority of national polls conducted during Presidential Elections in the USA (most of which have less than 2,000 respondents).
The poll was presented to audiences of several shows and news sites in order to obtain a large, diverse sample of computer nerds.
The questions were wide-ranging, 100% optional, and no personal data was collected.
Full (anonymous) data will be published, in the coming days, following a series of articles analyzing the data here at The Lunduke Journal.
Let’s start from a very high level.
6,022 computer nerds & enthusiasts were asked the following simple question: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy would you say you are (in general)?”
The results were pretty encouraging. Most computer nerds seemed pretty happy (with over 50% reporting a 7 or 8), though the results were spread across the entire range.
Now we drill down a little bit by breaking people down into groups with a simple criteria:
Which Operating Systems does a person use at least once per week?
The thought being simple: Is there any statistical difference — in the average level of reported happiness — between users of different Operating Systems?
Turns out… there definitely is a difference.
Some quick takeaways:
Windows and Android users are clearly — overall — the least happy. Clocking in a full half point below macOS.
Desktop Linux users are in the middle of the pack (but only just slightly happier than Windows / Android).
Users of Apple systems (macOS & iOS) ranked the happiest.
A surprise here was that Mobile Linux users ranked in significantly happier than Desktop Linux users — even happier than iOS users.
There’s a lot there to digest and research further.
For now, let’s dig deeper into the Desktop Linux category: Simply lumping users of every Desktop Linux distribution together might not be the best way to evaluate the happiness of Linux users.
Here is the average happiness (using the same 1 - 10 scale) of the most popular Linux distributions reported during the survey.
Ok. Some takeaways:
Arch Linux users are, on average, the least happy of any Linux Distribution users.
In fact… Arch Linux users ranked in as less happy than any Operating System (including Windows and Android) by a significant (.2) margin.
Slackware users clocked in as more happy than macOS users… or any other users of any system.
Ubuntu, considered by many to be the most visible Linux distribution, came in lower than several other systems (including Debian, MX, Gento, & Pop!).
So much to digest there — and oh-so-much to compare against other results from the survey.
But, for the moment, let’s pivot away from Operating Systems… let’s look at Web Browsers. Because, let’s be honest, nowadays most of us spend as much time in our Browser as we do with most other aspects of our computers and smartphones.
With that in mind, here is the average reported happiness (again… on a scale of 1 to 10) for the top three most popular web browsers as reported in the survey.
While the spread is not as large as with the previous charts, there appears to be a clear difference between the reported happiness of Firefox users… compared to users of both Chrome and Brave.
Are the least happy computer users… those who run Firefox on Arch Linux?
And are the happiest… those running Brave on Slackware Linux (or, runner up, macOS)?
It sure does look that way.
Clearly there is a lot of additional research required — and we have a lot more data to scour through and analyze.
Make sure you are subscribed to The Lunduke Journal of Technology for additional articles diving into far more details over the coming days.
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It would be interesting to see a more in depth study to determine if there's any causation or if any or all of the results are just correlation.
It's strange reading these results when you're the outlier data point. But it's interesting never the less.