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Linux Marketshare on Desktops Apparently Hit 6.91% in September, Higher Than Mac (netmarketshare.com)
98 points by grover_hartmann on Oct 1, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 45 comments



OMGBuntu doesn't believe the figure http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2017/10/linux-marketshare-6-91-pe...

> The figure is impressive but is also highly irregular and out of sync with the reported Linux marketshare from other companies like StatCounter and Wikimedia.

> [...]

> Netmarketshare also stress that the graph showing Linux’s big leap is based on “preview data that has NOT been reviewed by Quality Assurance”.

Anecdotally, I was at an Erlang and Elixir event on Saturday morning. The first three speakers were using Ubuntu machines. I didn't notice what the fourth one used. Maybe it's the subject but conferences use to be MacBook monocultures with an occasional Linux or Windows machine.


September is when school starts in the US, leading to increased Chromebook usage(?)

That's one likely reason.



The last few times this stuff has appeared here and elsewhere, most assumptions are Chromebooks and school year are accounting for a big part of it.

Technically Chromebooks are Linux, but it doesn't seem right to combine them with Linux when doing broad charts or data like this. It would be better to separate it out.

A smaller part could be headless Chrome being fully unleashed. Though I'm not so sure about this.


Chromebooks in schools are definitely huge. At the ed-tech company I worked for they accounted for ~35% of users.

That only explains this trend if they just started counting Chromebooks though, because there was no drop during the summer.



Nice. Separates out Chrome OS. I like Free BSD getting separated out too. Sadly it's at [a rounded] 0% :p.


Chromebooks are only big in the US.


Actually CBs have now gained traction in Australia and NZ.


Hard to make the distinction between Chrome OS vs Linux, especially considering you are just a crouton away from being a full linux desktop.


I would wager its a mixture of people frustrated with both Microsoft and Apple recently going all in on Linux maybe, but it's hard to prove that I suppose?


Hah. I just responded to your other comment here. As I said there, I have a hard time believing people's collective frustration with those OSes would manifest itself within 1-2 months now.

Also unless there's some data about people's frustrations, I find it hard to believe ~4% of computer users previously with Mac and Windows got frustrated enough to switch to Linux. Are people but a tiny minority on sites like this frustrated with either OS?

Anecdotally, I don't know anyone in my life who has switched to Linux this year or last year. I know people on Linux but they were already on it. Again completely anecdotal, but I go out to coffee shops, Barnes Noble, libraries, student centers, and co-working spots frequently in various cities in the east and west coast. I rarely if ever, see Linux being used.


"Anecdotally" - that there is your problem. You obviously do have a pretty wide ranging experience but you have probably seen less that a few (say) 10,000s systems in your life - maybe 100,000s. Most of those you will not remember what they run OS-wise or even remember them.

I'm not totally convinced by the report either but mainly because I can't get at the data, sampling methods etc. To be honest I didn't try too hard. That said, I would never rely on anecdote - there is a damn good reason why we both automatically mention the word whenever we spout off in a forum such as HN.


I used anecdotal evidence because OP was talking without proof too. So I didn't see the harm.


Fair enough, just trying to understand it just as everyone else. My only other thought is maybe with all the recent ransomware news some have switched (companies maybe?). Hard to say really, but I hear you. I work in a all Linux shop, and one of my coworkers who works on Linux all day keeps Windows on his home laptop and doesn't care to switch out the OS cause it just works for him.


I'd think Red Hat would be impacted by that happening. Not all shops would pay Red Hat, but certainly a percentage would. Red Hat made no indication of such things happening in the past few months nor impacting their immediate and near future in their latest earnings report.


I've never seen anyone aside from devs running a linux desktop device, so while I'm not saying this can't be right, I am a bit sceptical. For an average user, Linux can still be quite challenging to use as their main OS.


My wife uses Arch on her laptop - she doesn't really know what it is and doesn't really care. She does know that she has less down time than with Windows when updates happen. She uses Facebook (the internet sigh) very heavily, email (Evolution to an account on my office Exchange server) heavily plus a fair few other things - basic word processing and spreadsheets via LO.

I'm a KDE aficionado for good reason. I put a few large icons (KDE allows you to scale your icons really well) on the desktop, with a pretty wallpaper, that have easily understandable functions, that are locked in place. The ability to lock the desktop layout is a killer feature that I do not see available on Windows or Mac or most Linux WMs.

Obviously, it does help that I'm an IT Consultant but "For an average user, Linux can still be quite challenging to use as their main OS." No it doesn't need to be so. The KDE Plasma UI can be made very simple or unbelievably complex to suit the required UX.


I've installed Linux on family member's computers before just to get calls when an update broke the graphics driver. Just try and let your wife install and update Arch herself, I'm sure she'd give up quickly. That being said, most users just need some icons and a web browser, almost any OS works for that.


There is nothing challenging to my father. 67 years. Internet browsing is exactly the same and he feel safer.


A few months ago, I saw one of my dads friends (my dad is 59) share a product that you plug in via the USB port on an "old laptop" and it brings life to it. It was no doubt a Linux distort on a USB stick. The product claims to bring life back to old slow laptops. If he can get excited about it without understanding what it does, and we know once you have a USB stick running Linux you're pretty much golden depending on how much you want to do, well he would probably enjoy running Linux off that USB stick and not know the difference. Just tell him where the "Internet" icon is. Also many older people adopted iOS and Android and I never had to stand by and explain it all to neither of my parents despite them not being Windows based devices. People adapt. Just hard to say what caused this Linux spike.


That’s actually a brilliant idea. State what it does, not what it is...


I would add, I think it's a bit simpler then that - practically nobody sells computers with a Linux distro preinstalled, and that's the only way an average user is going to get one.


Chromebooks are Linux.


I'd take that wager every day of the week and twice on Sunday.


Anecdotally, I have to say yeahhhhhhhh riggghttttt. Especially since this seems to have happened suddenly in Aug / Sept. Headless Chrome seems like a far more likely explaination than “2017 is actually finally the year of desktop linux”.


Could be. There is a similar, but much smaller, uptick in Chrome browser usage for the same period.

Edit: And now it is gone. Seems there is some tweaking of the numbers happening...


Do Chromebooks count?

The uptick from August to September looks enormous, but if Chromebooks did well in back-to-school sales to students and schools, it might be real.


Not just sales to individuals, but schools are adopting the Chromebook as a part of their infrastructure. They are actually a really awesome solution for the EDU space.


Indeed. Every single kid in my kids district has a chromebook. 800ish right there.


I think in the last 20 years Linux has become many orders of magnitude better on all fronts. It's a rolling snowball that has already surpassed other platforms on many levels. The only reason there's only 6-7% market share is that's there very few people selling it. I would say it's an huge market opportunity.


uuuh, no.

i've got ubuntu (i3wm) on my home machine and would never consider anything else for my development environment. Not having to manually manage windows was an eye opener to me.

but from my experience, most people aren't open to change. they don't want to relearn anything. they just want their old way, forever and ever on.

there will be some software that they've used for years. This software will probably be (at best) similar to the linux alternative. But it will be different. And they don't want different. They want the same UX.

This applies to both Windows and Apple Users. Its especially confusing if said person knows jack shit about their chosen platform.


Err, it seems netmarketshare is actively tweaking their data.

I just hit refresh on the page, and the number dropped from 6.91 to 4.94...


Based on the chart the share was a stable 2.5% this year. Then there was a slight uptick in July, and a rapid increase from 2.5% to 7.5%.

Was there any major Linux release that would explain that ? Otherwise, i'd go with "This report contains preview data that has NOT been reviewed by Quality Assurance."


Seems like here in this thread like before, casual consensus, is Chromebooks and headless Chrome.

The data could be a bit wrong too like you're saying. It doesn't seem like Chromebooks should've made that big of an effect. Maybe a ton of schools are using them now though?


Maybe its te headless rendering support in chrome.


I would easily blame Windows 10. Automated forced updates, in file-manager advertising (although to be fair it's just for their cloud file hosting offering so it doesn't bother me half as much as it bothers most). There's other things as well, and Windows 8 the previous incarnation was not well received either. Microsoft really needs to revamp their entire OS team because everywhere else in MS land people are getting happier, but when it comes to the OS itself people are still upset. I've been using Ubuntu / Linux for as long as Windows 10 has been out. I used to use it on and off, but now that Linux is usable on some of my more modern hardware it's hard to switch back. I only use Windows at work for .NET development.


Why would some backlash against Windows present itself all of a sudden in a 1-2 month span now?

You're also using a lot of "I". Windows 10 has been received decently by the public. Windows 8 wasn't but it wasn't the worst reception either since a lot of people were so happy with Windows 7. This could possibly make sense if Windows 10 hadn't come out. But even then the number increase is too great in a short time span to blame Windows 8/10


Simple explanation: Chromebooks in schools being powered on.


I've always wondered about the people using linux for privacy reason going the extra step to mask their operating system and block trackers. Would they appear anywhere here ?

Out of all people using linux as their desktop/laptop I know about a third are privacy minded and take this extra step.


From 2.5% in July to 4.9% in September. Seems highly unlikely that many millions of people decided to switch desktop OS within a couple of months, without anyone noticing.


It seems that they are tweaking the results live because I see 4.94% now. Almost 2% lower than Mac.


Linux will dominate the desktop share and we are all waiting for that day. Cheers :)


I wish MGTO and photoshop worked on Linux. I would switch in a heartbeat.


Is this because of the popularity of Chromebooks?




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