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A typical Linux desktop user is a guy in his twenties who’s computer savvy but may very well not be an IT professional. Those are some of the conclusions you can draw from the just-released openSUSE survey results.

The survey, published by (PDF download), was run for almost three months, and more than 27,000 users participated in it. Novell and the openSUSE group will be using the results to make openSUSE, and its commercial big brother SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) better.

Professionally speaking, an openSUSE Linux desktop user tends to be a student. Since a plurality of users are in their twenties, it seems safe to assume that most of them are undergraduate or graduate students. For those who are working full time, the greatest number, 21.4 percent, work as system administrators.

However, while 32.9 percent of openSUSE users said they make a living by working on computer-related jobs, the single largest group of openSUSE users, 35.7 percent, describe themselves as experienced users but without any great technical skills. These users can set up openSUSE the way they like and keep it updated, but they don’t consider themselves Linux experts. Perhaps the term “power user” could best describe them.

What these users look for in an operating system is — in order of ranking from most important to least — stability, security, hardware support, and usability. The first two items are on almost eveyone’s list of why Linux is an important operating system. The latter two are on almost everyone’s list of areas where Linux could stand some more work.

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