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Author Topic: Is software 'regional'?  (Read 2104 times)

zridling

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Is software 'regional'?
« on: December 22, 2008, 07:21:05 AM »
I have to qualify this as sounding like a dumb question, but can software be regional, such as this program is used more by Europeans and that OS is used more by South Americans, and so on?

What got me thinking about this is common to Linux. For example, Red Hat and Fedora are more popular in the US, whereas openSUSE is popular on the Continent, whereas Ubuntu owns the third world (and all points between), and by country, Red Flag Linux is popular in China; Mandriva in France; openSUSE and sidux in Germany, Windows in India and China (maybe Australia and New Zealand?; we know it owns world market share), and so on. Something else I saw that caught my eye on TV this weekend. In a village of the poorest Africans you can imagine, they had a brand new computer room of about 120 stations, all setup with XP and MS Office. Surprising, so I assumed it was donated given the sheer cost of licensing and hardware.

countries_europe_map-s.jpg
Is software 'regional'?


I don't know of any lists like these. But I'm sure it applies to software apps like [insert software title here].

Lashiec

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Re: Is software 'regional'?
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2008, 09:37:10 AM »
I wouldn't say it's a dumb question, because it's something quite common with certain pieces of software. For example, KDE used to be more used in Europe than in the rest of the world, and enjoyed a significantly higher market share than Gnome, although I think that with the continued success of Ubuntu this probably has changed a bit in the past years.

Firefox also has a bigger market share here than in the USA, particularly in the Eastern countries, Poland and the like. Opera has excellent figures in Russia (around 15% or something), and IE shells like Maxthon are widely used in China. Of course, in the latter case we switch to local-developed software, and in the case of China there are a few other examples, like the QQ IM, which seems to be the craze over there.

Restricting myself to my homecountry, this a land where the only IM client ever used is WLM, the rest practically do not exist (although there was a surge of Google Talk usage a while ago). And a few years ago, the Panda antivirus was the most used here, but with the appearance of better alternatives that were either free or paid, it lost a lot of its appeal. Now only certain magazines sing their praises about it, and not exactly because they really like it, if you know what I mean :)

zridling

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Re: Is software 'regional'?
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2008, 11:24:39 AM »
I'd forgotten about Maxthon. Such an elegant UI.

CWuestefeld

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Re: Is software 'regional'?
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2008, 11:47:15 AM »
Red Hat and Fedora are more popular in the US, whereas openSUSE is popular on the Continent
Isn't the US on a Continent?  ;)

This is true for stuff other than OSs, too. It seems that SoftMaker's office suite has greater market share in Europe and especially Germany than over here.

I remember way back when, as a user of Atari computers. They had only a small share here (behind Apple, Commodore, Radio Shack, and eventually IBM), but in Europe and especially Germany they were very big.

One might expect that software would enjoy more popularity locally, as with Maxthon. Of course these days, with downloadable shareware, it's frequently unclear where its geographic origin is.

mwang

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Re: Is software 'regional'?
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2008, 12:11:31 PM »
There are many factors that would affect software's regional appeal. Local support, e.g., is a major factor. Does the software maker provide support locally (especially for OS and high-end business/professional software)? How easy is it to find someone who also use the software (so can be counted on to ask questions)? Apple computer and software had a hard time getting any traction here (Taiwan) until lately for this very reason.

Easiness to get something for free (legal or not) is also a factor. So software from big companies that have the muscle to get the government and schools to sign up for massive site licensing is bound to be popular. (Bad news for Open Office, even though it's free.) Same for those easy to get pirated copies.

Then, for places where many people (especially students) can't afford their own computer and rely mostly on school or company computers, there's significantly less freedom in installing software. As a result, standard, pre-installed software is king. IE is an apparent example.

Software makers with local roots/ties might also get some boost. Trend Micro's antivirus suite is more popular here, e.g., than perhaps anywhere else in the world.

For East Asian countries, a major factor in software popularity is how well it supports local languages. This includes how well it handles files written in those languages, whether it can handle file/folder names in those languages, whether its user interface (help file, documentations) has been translated into their languages, and how well it works with various popular third-party tools used to type text in those languages.