It's official: we love Windows 7
This might be a strange thing to hear on a Linux website, but it's true: we're big fans of Windows 7. Is it because of the new features? Is it because of the new user interface? Is it because of the blazing speed vs Vista? Is it because it's anything but Vista? The answer is "no" to all those.
Instead, we love Windows 7 because it seems to be providing Linux with a massive PR boost and indeed may well backfire on Microsoft - people are more curious than ever about how Linux stacks up against Windows 7. Read on for more information...
Fact: in the last 48 hours since Windows 7 launched, traffic to some of our articles has gone up 400%. No, many more people aren't suddenly looking to learn PHP programming and, no matter how cool our free Linux wallpapers are they aren't suddenly the big draw.
Instead, Google is suddenly driving vast amounts of traffic to two particular pages of ours: Linux vs Windows 7 and Benchmarked: Ubuntu vs Vista vs Windows 7. You see, it seems that people who see the big marketing push for Windows 7 aren't all immediately going out and parting with their hard-earned cash.
Instead - perhaps because they like to be informed before making system upgrades, or perhaps just because they were bitten in the past when switching to Vista - they want to see exactly how Windows 7 stacks up against the competition.
So, what it seems people are doing is using Google to do a versus search: Google's Analytics suite tells us that "Ubuntu vs Windows 7" is now one of the top searches for our site, alongside "Windows 7 vs Ubuntu" (they count as different searches), "Vista vs Windows 7", and "Linux vs Windows 7". Yes, "Vista vs Windows 7" really is pulling in huge numbers of visitors to our site, which is incredible - people who had never even considered Linux before are landing here and, all being well, being enlightened that there is an alternative choice out there. TuxRadar is, in fact, the top Google hit for a variety of Linux vs Windows searches.
Perhaps most exciting of all is that our two articles tackle the comparison from two quite different angles. Linux vs Windows 7 goes through the competition blow-by-blow, breaking things down into categories and showing how the two operating systems match up feature by feature.
On the other hand, Benchmarked: Ubuntu vs Vista vs Windows 7 is all about numbers, showing in easy-to-read graph form just how efficient Linux is compared to Microsoft's latest efforts.
One of the key reasons why our pages are appearing so high on these search terms is because you folks, our readers, very kindly linked to our articles in your blogs, your Twitter feeds, your IRC chats and more, and Google picks up on all those links and ranks our pages higher.
As a result, all that linkage has turned into an incredible opportunity for Linux evangelism: people who hadn't even considered Linux before are reading about some of the cool things it can do for their computer. And you can bet that if Windows 7 doesn't turn out to be the perfect OS that Microsoft is promising, those same users will at least consider giving Linux a try. Thanks for the links - every one counts.
So, thanks to everyone for linking to our two articles, and please pass on the word: Microsoft's Windows 7 campaign is helping drive Linux evangelism. Thanks, Microsoft!