Recently the Desktop Linux Survey was published. It showed how the different Free Desktop components and distributions are rated among different users. While of course these numbers are by no means reliable it makes fun to use them for some simple calculations.
The last Desktop Linux Survey was interesting, but hardly surprising. But most important is that this was no real statistic: the sample was not representative by any means.
Also, as Distrowatch.com noted, there are inconsistencies if you compare these results with other surveys. For example the web server logs for Distrowatch.com give OpenSuse 5 % of the cake, while the Desktop Linux Survey lifts OpenSuse’s share to 20 %.
Still, these numbers give some opportunities to play with. And that’s something I like. 🙂
Let’s take Fedora: in all three columns listed at Distrowatch it gets roughly 5 %. Let’s take this as true.
Now, according to Fedora’s statistic tool smolt there are around 125,000 registered Fedora users out there. If Fedora really has a market share of 5 % this would result in 2.5 million users.
But smolt is only an opt-in tool and is not offered during text installations (Servers, etc.) at all. According to Fedora’s statistics page the estimated ratio between smolt data and reality is 1 to 10. This would result in 1.25 million Fedora users – and therefore in 25 million Linux users.
Looks nice, especially considering the fact that Apple’s userbase was around 22 million half a year ago.
There is another possible approach to these numbers: Ubuntu’s Mark Shuttleworth estimated 8 million Ubuntu users in an interview in late December 2006. And both the Linux Desktop Survey and the web server logs from Distro Watch gave Ubuntu roughly 30 % of the cake. This makes more than 26.6 million Linux users 8 month ago.
German traffic lights
The numbers mentioned above only include popular distributions. They do not include embedded devices or corporate installations like the one of the German drugstore chain.
Now Linuxdevices.com posted an article about the German company Signalbau Huber. Signalbau Huber produces and installs traffic light systems across Europe. And they mentioned now in this article that they are going to switch their software from some Debian based thing to Sysgo’s embedded Linux solution ElinOS.
Unfortunately the article doesn’t say anything about how many Debian installations are already out there, but I gues there are quite some across Europe. This is again an example for the fact that it is impossible to track all Linux installations out there – and that there are many more than most people expect.