It will probably come as no surprise to anyone that Microsoft topped the list in our “Who Don’t You Trust” poll. That’s the poll, launched on May 27th and closed on June 20th, in which we asked the question, “What tech company would you least trust to manage a FOSS project?” 411 people took the poll, which might be characterized by it’s lack of surprising results. In fact, we have to go to nearly the bottom of the list to find some small surprises.
Besides Microsoft, the poll offered the choices of IBM, Oracle, Novell, SAP, Google, Red Hat, Apple and “Other.” Those who selected “Other” were presented with a text box in which to type an “off the board” answer. Voters were only allowed to vote for one company and were kept from voting more than once by use of a cookie during most of the poll’s run. As with our Newbie Distro Poll, the results of which we reported two weeks ago, during the last week or so the poll was open, voting restrictions were tightened and our one-computer-one-vote rule was enforced by IP address as well as by cookie.
Even though the polling pretty much went as we expected, there were a couple of surprises.
Novell, which we expected to be near the top of the list, came in as a relatively trusted company by our readers. With an eighth place showing, only IBM scored fewer votes. We have little doubt that five years or so ago, Novell would’ve probably been right behind Microsoft as one of the least trusted companies in the FOSS world, due primarily to their dealings with Microsoft in support of their SUSE Linux distro, which many people thought was both underhanded and designed to spread FUD.
Times have changed. Novell is now owned by the holding company Attachmate and SUSE has been separated-out to become a semi-autonomous company under the Attachmate umbrella. Even before the sell to Attachmate, however, Novell might have redeemed themselves somewhat in many people’s eyes by their actions in the SCO/IBM/Linux fiasco, in which they went to the plate to successfully challenge SCO’s claims of ownership of Unix copyrights, thereby helping both IBM and Linux.
The biggest surprise, however, came from how Canonical/Ubuntu fared. As this wasn’t offered as a polling choice and had to be written-in, we would have expected Ubuntu to be a relative no show in the results. Also, it’s one of the most popular GNU/Linux distros and has helped introduce many new users to free software, which led us to assume it would be regarded as a trusted friend of FOSS.
It’s probable that Canonical/Ubuntu’s unexpected negative showing comes from distrust Canonical generated by integrating commercial results for Amazon into searches conducted through the Unity Dash–a move many would expect from pre-installed Windows on a new Dell, but not from a Linux distro.
Other than those two incidences, this might be the most predictable poll we’ve ever conducted, as you will see from the results below, listed in the order of least trusted to (presumably) most trusted. Percentages are based on the nine choices listed in the poll, meaning the write-in votes will have no percentage number listed. Also, write-in votes with more than one answer have been discarded.
- Microsoft 159 votes/39%
- Apple 94/23%
- Oracle 91/22%
- Google 23/6%
- Other 12/3%
- Red Hat 11/3%
- SAP 9/2%
- Canonical/Ubuntu (“Other” write-in) 7 votes
- Novell 6/1%
- IBM 5/1%
- SCO (“Other” write-in) 1 vote
The only red flag we see here is in Canonical’s showing. Although it may appear at first glance that they scored slightly better than Red Hat, the results would be biased in Ubuntu’s favor as Red Hat was offered as a choice in the poll and Canonical/Ubuntu was not.