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Journal Journal: My question got included in an Ask Slashdot

7) Polling questions
by cavemanf16

I have often wondered how biased polls are based on the questions asked, the demographics of the people polled, etc. When results about polls are made public, is it also possible to obtain information about how the poll was conducted in a simple, by request method? Now if the answer to that question is, no, how much can we rely on polls, since we have no way of verifying if the questions asked and the people interviewed were heavily biased to favor one outcome over another? (Such as in the recent large discrepancies of the 8% vs. 24% use of Linux as a server results that we've seen on Slashdot recently).


I believe that I've already covered this area in previous answers. It is clear that IDC's server operating environments data is being compared to another research firm's server adoption data. This comparison really isn't valid for several reasons including the fact that supply-side research is being compared to demand-side research and the fact that software research is being compared to hardware research.

IDC's extensive hardware research shows that Linux only holds a small share of the market when one examines shipments of servers and then segments it by the operating system which was installed at the factory. IDC's software research is showing that Linux server software is being installed on both older and new systems and that the configurations being used as servers include PCs, workstations, appliance servers, and more traditional server configurations.

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Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun