Perceptions of operating systems

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Perceptions of operating systems results from mental models formed over time. This article discusses some of these factors.

Psychological type

An online post posted on the Ubuntu Forums investigated if there is a correlation between the preference to use Linux and personality.[1]

The extraverted sensing types, such as the ESTJs are more likely to prefer Windows, whereas the Introverted Intuitive minority are more inclined towards a Linux operating system. ESTJs compose at least 11 percent of the population.[2] It is possible that in a world full of introverted initiatives, Linux rather than Windows might be the dominant operating system.

Self-reported type on Ubuntu forms

Users on the Ubuntu forms self-reported their psychological type. We presented this data in a table (as shown below):

Myers Briggs Type Count Notes
INFJ 2 One INFJ might be mistyped
INFP 1 Forum post suggests slight preferences. Could be an INTP
ISTJ 1 No data to indicate preferences
N 17

The sample (n = 17) is a reasonable size in human-computer interaction (HCI) studies. The small group suggests while intuitive types are over-represented in the sample, Ubuntu is not exclusively used by initutives. In fact several sensing types: ESFP, ISTJ and ESTJ were among the Ubuntu users. Further, at least one INFJ may have been mistyped. The representation of intuitive types could be due to intuitive bias in the MBTI community. The majority of users were INTJs and INTPs. Analytical psychology suggests that the adoption of Ubuntu by INTPs and INTJs may be to defend against the emotional pressures of society. It may also explain criticism of the Linux community as being hostile and toxic.[3] The toxicity would stem from the inferior Fe of the overrepresented INTP and INTJ types.

Our reasoning

The table below brainstorms some ideas for psychological types, what OS they would likely prefer and why based on the field of analytical psychology.

Myers Briggs Type Operating System Reason
INTP Linux Analyze how it works
INTJ No Preference It is technically superior to other OSes
INFJ Linux Appeals to INFJ's community values
INFP Linux Uniqueness through customization
ISTP Linux Contains powerful maintenance tools that requires logic
ISTJ Windows Familiar and comfortable to perform routine work in a productive fashion
ESTJ Windows Works well in corporate environments to achieve work
ESTP No Preference Spends most time on Facebook or social media sites
ESFP Windows Prefers Access to Commercial Grade Photo editing suites
ENTP No Preference Explores unfamiliar systems, but debates against the one he is using
ENFP Windows Familiar to use to make deep, meaningful social connections
ENFJ Windows Since Windows is the majority OS, they will prefer to use it

to maintain social harmony

ESFJ Windows Maintain social harmony and use Windows to inspire others
ENTJ No Preference Use OS to accomplish a goal, so there is no preference
ISFJ No Preference Willing to work hard and try
ISFP No Preference Feel quirky, cool and different from others, unexpectedly changing OS

Reasons governing selection of an operating system

Ubuntu and Linux

On Open, the top 25 reasons for using Linux were listed.[4]

  • customization of the graphical user interface
  • efficiency and things just work
  • cost of using Linux
  • a wide selection of apps and tools
  • Feeling of looking like a real technician and programmer
  • No limit to what can be imagined
  • More secure and stable
  • Sense of user being in total control
  • Presents learning challenges
  • Useful for data handing and analysis


One of the selection choices governing Windows seemed to not be that of technical superiority but that alternatives such as Ubuntu lacked features such as office production tasks.[5] Other reasons for selecting Windows stemmed from its technical support and widespread use across the business sector.[citation needed]



  1. 4KvRMU7Nnv (2007-04-09). "Is there a Linux Personality?". Ubuntu Forums. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  2. "ESTJ Personality ("The Executive")". Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  3. Moore, Matthew. The Linux Community Is a Hostile Environment., Accessed 12 July 2022.
  4. Huger, Jen (2016-08-25). "25 things to love about Linux". Open Source. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  5. Brookes, Tim (2011-11-11). "Why Linux Isn't As Good As Everyone Makes It Out To Be [Opinion]". Retrieved 2017-01-04.