I saw some interesting statistics in my web server logs last night:
Windows: 51% MacOS X: 23% Linux: 19%
Over 40% of Random Hacks readers use MacOS X or Linux! This is a bit surprising, because Windows has roughly a 95% market share, and desktop Linux has well under 1%.
The browser statistics are even more skewed:
Firefox: 62% (4/5ths Firefox 2.0!) IE: 10% Safari: 8% Mozilla: 5% Opera: 4%
IE's market share is only slightly higher than Safari's!
What's going on here, and how it relates selling new technologies
This website contains articles about unusual programming languages, including Ruby, Lisp and Haskell. And anybody who uses one of those languages is likely to be an "innovator" or an "early adopter," as described by Geoffrey A. Moore:
Innovators pursue new technology products aggressively... At root, they are intrigued with any fundamental advance...
Early adopters... are people who find it easy to image, understand, and appreciate the benefits of a new technology, and to relate those benefits to their other concerns... Because early adopters do not rely on well-established references in making these buying decisions, preferring instead to rely on their own intuition and vision, they are key to opening up any high-tech market segment.
Most every technology startup hopes to sell their products to early adopters. After all, early adopters are actually willing to try new things.
But if you're targeting early adopters, you can't necessarily assume that IE is the dominant browser, or that only a few people run MacOS X. Because early adopters make unusual technology choices, they live in a technologically diverse world.
And if you want them to use your product, you'll need to take that into account.
(Rewritten to quote Geoffrey Moore.)