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Ubuntu Claims 12 Million Users — Before Lucid 360

darthcamaro writes "It's always a challenge to try and figure out how many users a particular Linux distro has — but Canonical is now providing a new figure for Ubuntu that is 50 percent more than what they were claiming just 18 months ago. 'We have no phone home or registration process, so it's always a guesstimate. But based on the same methodology that we came up with for the 2008 number, our present belief is that it's somewhere north of 12 million users at the moment,' Chris Kenyon, vice president for OEM at Canonical, told Just in case you were wondering, Fedora still claims more — actually almost double, at 24 million."
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Ubuntu Claims 12 Million Users — Before Lucid

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  • NTP-servers... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by beaviz ( 314065 ) * on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @06:16PM (#31768334) Homepage Journal

    We have no phone home or registration process, so it's always a guesstimate.

    I always thought they used their NTP-servers to count installations...

  • by ls671 ( 1122017 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @06:31PM (#31768510) Homepage

    I run Slackware but I masquerade my OS string as Ubuntu ;-))

    I like to masquerade all ID strings, masquerading apache as IIS, sendmail as JavaMail etc. etc.

  • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @06:34PM (#31768562) Homepage
    I suspect someone's guesstimate may be off as just about every "most popular distro" statistic I've seen has consistently put Ubuntu ahead of Fedora pretty much since Ubuntu first arrived on the scene, except for brief periods immediately after new Fedora releases. Reconciling a 2:1 advantage for Fedora with that is kind of hard, but not impossible; lots of big corporates and SMEs use Red Hat, so Fedora would be a logical choice for their techies' personal use or installs where paying the Red Hat license fee isn't an option for whatever reason, and chances are they'd only download each release once. I'd guess that I used to run at a 6:1 install:download ratio when I was doing this with Fedora, and the German office did something simmilar with Novell/SuSE, so maybe both numbers are actually in the ballpark.

    Either way, these are not too shabby figures for Linux market penetration. I wonder how many of those installs are on the Desktop though? ;)
  • Re:Some guesstimate? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @06:39PM (#31768616)

    how many of those are dual boot systems with Windows?

    You're saying a dual boot system shouldn't count as a user?

    I own a wii. It's been unplugged for over a year and I play the 360 every day, but I am still a wii owner. Similarly, it seems to me if you have a dual boot system with ubuntu and windows, you're still an ubuntu user. Maybe there are ubuntu purists out there who would look down on you for that and would care to distinguish between the two, I don't know.

    I'd wonder more about the second part you hinted at:

    I have three machines like that. I'm not sure of any reliable way to differentiate dedicated stand alone desktops.

    Would you count as 3 users for this number? This article [] mentions that fedora counts unique IP addresses, if it said how the ubuntu number was found, I missed it.

  • Tell Linuxcounter (Score:4, Interesting)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @06:47PM (#31768736)

    Well, you better tell then! They estimate a total of 29 million Linux users world-wide. If just two distros- Unbuntu and Fedora claim 12 + 24 million, that is already 36 million, and you haven't even started counting Mandriva, SuSE, Debian, Mint, RedHat, or the dozens of smaller distros! If you believe all that, then MY estimate (more like guesstimate) would be close to 60-100 million Linux users.

  • Re:NTP-servers... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @06:47PM (#31768742) Homepage Journal

    "'We have no phone home or registration process,"

    Actually, there is an "opt-in" phone home process. Ubuntu has an option to participate in a software popularity contest thing. Those who opt in not only can be counted as using *buntu, but the poll tracks which software packages are installed.

    And, it is really "opt-in" because you are asked if you WANT TO participate or not. I'm almost certain that it defaults to "no", you have to click the "yes" button to participate.

    So, if this popularity thing tracks "x" million computers, it's pretty simple to double or triple that number, and claim "x times 3" installations.

  • Re:Some guesstimate? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @06:53PM (#31768824) Homepage Journal

    "Maybe there are ubuntu purists out there who would look down on you for that and would care to distinguish between the two, I don't know."

    Actually, I kind of look down on dual booting. It's rather silly, now that we have several methods of running virtual machines. Especially since running a VM means that you need almost no AV and malware security software running. If I get a drive-by infection, I can shut down the VM and restore it to a snapshot - no need to jump through hoops for half a day to clean the infection.

    But, that's just my opinion. I suppose that if I were even a half serious gamer, and I needed to get my machine's ultimate output in FPS and DirectX crap, I would find VM's to be inadequate.

  • Re:Sadly (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ratboy666 ( 104074 ) <fred_weigel AT hotmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @06:56PM (#31768858) Journal

    Sounds like you don't like the "rough and tumble".

    Sure, I have clients in that space. They are served by Redhat Enterprise Linux. With a support contract. If they feel frisky, they may go with CentOS. What are the important new features in RHEL (according to one of those customers)? Not the window manager. Gnome is fine (it's default), but, honestly, they don't care... Kernel crash handling and SystemTap, on the other hand, are to drool over.

    Ubuntu? Fedora? Those distributions are for people who like it a little rough.

    I went to your website. Seems that you are a bit young to be in the belt AND suspenders set, but you never can tell...

    Now you DO seem to be obsessing over the desktop. KDE, GNOME, PulseAudio, ALSA, OpenOffice, Totem, Amarok, etc. May I suggest that you just pick, and go with something workable? Otherwise, you will never have a stable desktop to work with. Or, use Mac or Windows. Just pick!

    For guidance, here is what I use.

    Fedora Core 8 base (hardened). XFCE GUI. Thunar file manager. FireFox 3.03. OpenOffice 3.1, Amarok 1.4, ALSA for audio, Evolution (whatever version comes with Fedora 8) for email, contacts and calendar. Multisync (whatever version comes with Fedora 8) for Blackberry sync. Smplayer (mplayer) for A/V.

    And, no, its not perfect. Let me give you my laundry list:

    Evolution won't call on Multisync. It is insisting that the only mobile device it likes is a Palm. Mplayer won't play the audio on .3gp videos taken on my Blackberry. Evince (PDF viewer) that I prefer blows when displaying bitmapped PDF documents.

    Nothing critical, making it a very useful desktop (for me). How did I get this together? Usually, I set a deadline for a decision -- and then just make it. I don't hop between stuff. So, I code audio to ALSA. Well... not exactly. I don't care much about high quality sound, so I usually just heave out ulaw to /dev/audio. Works for me; if I need anything fancier I'll revisit, but for 90% of my needs? It's ok. For other stuff, it's the same. About the only "regret" I have is that I seem to be locked into Evolution, but, it works, and it seems stable enough.

    So, it works, I'm happy enough, and I don't have to obsess over what other people use, or what could be better.

  • Recent Fedora (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @06:58PM (#31768896) Journal

    I'm typing this on my laptop running Fedora Core 12. After recent Fedora builds (from about FC 6) getting successively worse, I was teetering right on the edge of giving up on Fedora and getting a Mac. All my scripts and stuff assume a Fedora environment, (EG: yum) so switching to Ubuntu wouldn't have been significantly easier than jumping to MacOS.

    Fedora 12 brought me back to the fold!

    Drivers drive. Network managers actually manage networks. And widgets do proper widgetting. It's back to being what a computer O/S outta be - largely invisible!

    I can't comment on Ubuntu, but I can say, to the Red Hat team: nice work, guys!

  • by birukun ( 145245 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @07:29PM (#31769234)

    Until they jacked up some updates. I left RedHat Open Source product after using RedHat since 4.2. Ran into dependency hell with Fedora Core. I went Gentoo for a while (love the speed) but got lazy and tried Ubuntu. It has been my primary desktop and netbook distro ever since. (8.04) Solid as a rock. I even do the distro upgrades after being paranoid and backing everything up, but the upgrades have been flawless.

    Still use RedHat Enterprise products with no major issues except the occasional hardware support thing.

    Ubuntu just works. If there is a problem the forums have the answer. YMMV

  • Re:Some guesstimate? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Joe Tie. ( 567096 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @07:34PM (#31769286)
    Except almost everything I use windows for comes down to gaming. The one thing a VM fails at. It's not getting ultimate output in FPS like you mention, it's getting games playable at all. At least at the moment, my experience has been that a VM won't give anything even close to the reliability of wine when it comes to gaming. And wine itself is a bit of a gamble there.
  • Re:Some guesstimate? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nhytefall ( 1415959 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @08:04PM (#31769652) Journal
    I find this interesting, and wonder - how many of the users are the inverse of those above?

    Specifically, I run Ubuntu only in a VM - under Win7. The only thing I use it for is SSH tunnelling... and it works beautifully for it.
  • Re:Sadly (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MMC Monster ( 602931 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @08:04PM (#31769654)

    Only if it knows the user names.

    Just sayin'.

  • Re:Recent Fedora (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bluesman ( 104513 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @08:21PM (#31769878) Homepage

    Network managers actually manage networks.

    That's huge. I love Ubuntu on my eee 1005, but the default Gnome network manager is a piece of shit. It's a piece of shit on an older laptop I have works sometimes, if you shake the laptop right and the stars align properly.

    I installed wicd on my netbook which is great except it forgets ssid's of hidden networks. Apparently this has been fixed in the latest wicd, but the changes have not propagated to Ubuntu yet. I have a script that logs me on to my home network...but that sucks and means I can't recommend Ubuntu to anyone who wants to put Linux on an old computer.

    This is basic stuff; I'm surprised given Ubuntu's track record that it's not perfect by now.

  • Re:Some guesstimate? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pipatron ( 966506 ) <> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @08:25PM (#31769924) Homepage
    Yes, you're an Ubuntu user. You're also a Windows user. If you go to the gym for 3 hours/week you go to the gym. If you watch TV 3 hours/week you're a TV watcher.
  • by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @09:14PM (#31770416) Homepage Journal

    I'd also wonder: What percent of those linux boxes were bought with MS Windows installed, and are thus also counted a satisfied customers by Microsoft?

    (And they must be satisfied, since they aren't calling Customer Support. ;-)

    Actually, one of my two linux boxes is running Ubuntu, but it actially came with Ubuntu installed. The other was a castoff Windows machine from my wife ("required for work"), and is running a rather old Debian. It works fine as a gateway/router/server machine, even if it does have less than a GB of memory. Some of us benefit from MS's upgrade process that encourages customers to buy new hardware so often. But it does sorta rankle that MS and their fanboys count our machines as Windows machines.

  • Re:Some guesstimate? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @05:14AM (#31773210) Journal

    No. You don't need to have Linux on your desktop, leave alone multiple distributions of it, to know which hardware is supported -- you need a MASSIVE HARDWARE TESTING LAB to determine that, so if you want to know, you are better off just googling for it.

    I don't need to know everything that it supports (why would I care?). I only need to know how well it supports my hardware.

    Googling doesn't help much, because, frankly, it's quite a mess - you find a lot of old, outdated data (sometimes "outdated" by a month or two, e.g. by a fresh kernel, X, or other major package release), and this can go both ways - something that was fully supported fine before now has problems. Most often this happens with graphics, but there have been other regressions as well.

    You need Ubuntu installation to convincingly argue against using Linux on a desktop, like what you are trying to do (and failing) now.

    Well, it's better than arguing against using Linux unconvincingly (i.e. not backed by any facts, as in "lunix sucks"), don't you think?

    For what's it worth, never in my time had I argued against using Linux in general. I may argue at times that Linux is not the best solution for a particular scenario - and same for any other software or hardware offering (with the sole exception of PHP; there is no good scenario that would warrant the use of that abomination). I help people install and configure Linux if they ask me (and advise on the distro to pick), I advise people to install if they need an office suite but can't afford MSO, and so on.

    I'm also somewhat puzzled by what in my original post in this particular thread you have construed as "arguing against Linux"? If anything, the only comparison point I had mentioned was in favor of Linux (namely, availability of good Common Lisp implementations). The rest is, frankly, just your overzealous imagination, which may have been triggered by me mentioning that I use Windows as main OS.

Information is the inverse of entropy.