Dutch slow to take to Firefox?

On: April 17, 2007
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About Michael Stevenson
I am a lecturer and PhD candidate in Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. I've been a contributor to Masters of Media since 2006, though I now only post occasionally. A short list of papers and projects can be found here

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Firefox use in Europe is up to 24%, but use here in the Netherlands is at 14%.

Anyone want to speculate why this is? Of the stereotypes I’m aware of, the one that best fits this figure is apparent in the phrase “doe gewoon, dan doe je al gek genoeg”, which translates to something like “don’t do anything outrageous, ‘normal’ is crazy enough as it is”.

More seriously, though, what kind of firefox ‘marketing campaign’ would work at a local level? It’s worth noting that there is just one local version of spreadfirefox.com (a Japanese, ‘beta’ version). Perhaps the national level is irrelevant here, and one should start by getting firefox on all of the computers at one’s university?

full report and/or /. thread

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11 Responses to “Dutch slow to take to Firefox?”
  • April 17, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    another well known stereotypical association of the Dutch is that they are stingy. Because an updated version of Explorer only works when its running under valid software… you could say “why pay for something you’re not going to use?” …. which translates into something like: Mozilla is free -> Explorer is not-> I paid for Explorer-> I will use explorer.

  • April 17, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    I’m not sure. I installed Firefox on my mother’s computer and urged her to use it but I am sure she uses Internet Explorer when I turn my back.
    Even though I made Firefox the default browser one of the first she asked me was ‘Where is Internet Explorer?’

    Some people are reluctant to use/learn new software after having used the same software for years. And very often people only switch software if they are not satisfied with it. We must admit that we are picky users, but our mothers and fathers are probably less picky and might not even notice that something is not functioning correctly. Does my mother care that IE is not treating stylesheets correctly? Hell no! Do I care? More than you could guess…

  • April 17, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    that’s a good one too :)
    But maybe it is something more like ‘uncertainty avoidance’ – you only use what you know.
    but what about the promotion question? Firefox, along with Wikipedia, is one of the most visible advertisements of something like an open source ethic (Linux servers I think of as useful, but not necessarily visible). Should we be more passionate about firefox?

  • April 17, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    wow, i spent too long writing that comment and anne beat me to my point :)

  • April 17, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    I did a quick search to find a similar study on the worldwide usage numbers of Linux server and desktop technology, but wasn’t successful.

    It would be interesting to compare those results to the numbers in the Firefox study, other open source projects and possible relevant data such as GNP, broadband density, etc., to see if there’s a visible pattern.

    (Would be a nice Information Visualization project, will suggest it to Yuri Engelhardt :-) )

  • April 17, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    I type an average of 1000 words per minute ;)

    Jeff: I recently looked up some of these statistics for my thesis.

    The open source Apache HTTP server remains the most widely used web server with a market share of 73,3%
    Source: Netcraft: April 2007 Web Server Survey. 17 April 2007.

    International broadband statistics: OECD. “OECD Broadband Statistics to June 2006.” (2006). 14 April 2007

    I’m having a hard time locating statistics. Nielsen//Netratings & Pew Internet are usually good and trustworthy sources, but they don’t cover all topics.

    Where do you get your statistics?

  • April 18, 2007 at 12:33 am

    @heleen: ‘Or people just don’t see a reason to start using firefox, because they feel IE works fine…’

    It’s probably (hypothetically speaking) also the case that people see IE as being the internet itself when they don’t have knowledge of any other webbrowser. So when you don’t know that there are alternatives with different functions, you think you have to adapt to a programme which you think constitutes something (the internet) which it doesn’t.

    Jeff made an interesting remark last week, that search bars are now seen as the way to navigate the internet. Some people don’t know that they actually can use the address bar. It’d be interesting to see how users actually see the internet? Is the browser the internet for them?

  • April 18, 2007 at 9:26 am

    Mass conformism and ignorance, facilitated by softdrugs and fun cultures, thrive in the Netherlands. There is enough moral literature about this. But the problem is that complaining about ‘the indolent youth’ won’t help us much forward. In NL life is good, we live in a happy bubble so why bother about browsers? The problem here is that one can’t ‘argue’ with good intentions against such a mentality. What we can do, as Michael suggests is simply to install Firefox everywhere we are and talk about it in public (as we do here).

  • April 18, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    Masters of media: you all got to buy some firefox clothes, thereby spreading the word, making a fashion statement and at the same time financially supporting the great project.

    You’ll make sure there is more mass to conform to, whilst introducing it in the fun culture (wear it to parties!).

    I’m sure the Netherlands will soon switch to firefox.

    http://intlstore.mozilla.org/index.php?cPath=2

  • April 18, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    I wish the longsleeve t-shirts would say “Get Firefox” on the sleeves. It would be perfect under my Thinkgeek “No I won’t fix your computer” t-shirt

    I recently almost ordered the “NEW American Apparel Firefox Track Jacket € 58.62” I LOVE IT. But the shipping costs make it rather expensive. If anyone else wants to order something we can share the shipping costs!

    BTW: The Euro is peaking so it’s cheap :)

  • April 27, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    […] the Netherlands take up of Firefox is one of the lowest in Europe. The European average is 24%, the UK it’s 18% and in Finland […]

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