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Stats Linux

No, the Linux Desktop Hasn't Jumped in Popularity (zdnet.com) 187

An anonymous reader quotes ZDNet: Stories have been circulating that the Linux desktop had jumped in popularity and was used more than macOS. Alas, it's not so... These reports have been based on NetMarketShare's desktop operating system analysis, which showed Linux leaping from 2.5 percent in July, to almost 5 percent in September. But unfortunately for Linux fans, it's not true... It seems to be merely a mistake. Vince Vizzaccaro, NetMarketShare's executive marketing share of marketing told me, "The Linux share being reported is not correct. We are aware of the issue and are currently looking into it"...

For the most accurate, albeit US-centric operating system and browser numbers, I prefer to use data from the federal government's Digital Analytics Program (DAP). Unlike the others, DAP's numbers come from billions of visits over the past 90 days to over 400 US executive branch government domains... DAP gets its raw data from a Google Analytics account. DAP has open-sourced the code, which displays the data on the web and its data-collection code... In the US Analytics site, which summarizes DAP's data, you will find desktop Linux, as usual, hanging out in "other" at 1.5 percent. Windows, as always, is on top with 45.9 percent, followed by Apple iOS, at 25.5 percent, Android at 18.6 percent, and macOS at 8.5 percent.

The article does, however, acknowledge that Linux's real market share is probably a little higher simply because "no one, not even DAP, seems to do a good job of pulling out the Linux-based Chrome OS data."

No, the Linux Desktop Hasn't Jumped in Popularity

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  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Sunday November 05, 2017 @03:25PM (#55494895)

    For the most accurate, albeit US-centric operating system and browser numbers, I prefer to use data from the federal government's Digital Analytics Program (DAP). Unlike the others, DAP's numbers come from billions of visits over the past 90 days to over 400 US executive branch government domains

    I'm skeptical that hits to .gov websites capture a representative subset of web users. I'd think that many people rarely visit .gov sites.

    • Yes, .gov domains are highly skewed, apparently towards the wealthy as evidenced by their showing iOS as far more popular than Android while other sources show Android with about 2/3 of the mobile website browsing marketshare.

      • Yes, .gov domains are highly skewed, apparently towards the wealthy as evidenced by their showing iOS as far more popular than Android while other sources show Android with about 2/3 of the mobile website browsing marketshare.

        Was that 2/3 of browsing or 2/3 of sales? I recall mention of Android representing 2/3 of sales but Android users upgrade more often and that actual usage may be closer to 50/50, in the US. Internationally, yeah, Android somewhere around 80%.

        And yes there is absolutely a demographic effect. Despite Android being far more numerous an iOS app will generate more revenue than its Android version. iOS users are more willing/able to spend money. In a university lecture I attended the professor also mentioned s

      • Yes, .gov domains are highly skewed, apparently towards the wealthy as evidenced by their showing iOS as far more popular than Android while other sources show Android with about 2/3 of the mobile website browsing marketshare.

        And Android has more than 80% of the phones, so agreed, the gov numbers are highly suspect.

      • I'm assuming federal workers would hit those sites more often and since federal civilian workers suck down an average salary of 88k I'd expect that to play a role in skewing the results given that the median income in the US is 44k or thereabouts.
        • For counting users (or their devices, with many users having multiple devices and some devices having multiple users), wouldn't the modal income (most frequent in population) be more appropriate than median income (half way between lowest and highest) ? Probably not make a lot of difference, but it would lower the figure somewhat.
    • I wonder what amazon.com's numbers are. They're probably a better reflection of browser use.

      • by nasch ( 598556 )

        You would also have the problem of undercounting mobile users since they'd be likely to use an app instead of a browser.

  • 2018 (Score:4, Funny)

    by fattmatt ( 1042156 ) on Sunday November 05, 2017 @03:29PM (#55494913)

    2018 will be the year of the Linux desktop, you heard it here first!

    • by tsa ( 15680 )

      Just like 1997 was! And '98, 2000 and and those other years we had! Linux has always been really successful as a just around the corner desktop OS.

    • I keep seeing these derogatory comments, but let me remind you about 2004 being named "The year of the Linux Desktop".

      Before that year not all desktop environments worked out of the box, and that year was the last time I had to tweak a stock installation. After that everyone had to make excuses for not installing Linux.

      Heck, back in university even the most reluctant of the profs has been moved to Linux by 2001. The students have been using Linux-only since 1999. I know this is not representative of corpora

  • Unlike the others, DAP's numbers come from billions of visits over the past 90 days to over 400 US executive branch government domains

    This strikes me as being a very poor source to use if you're interested in overall desktop statistics. People visit government domains much more often from work than from home, and government workers visit government sites more often than non-government workers do. Alternative OSes are less common in government jobs than non-government positions, and there's probably a skew

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      This strikes me as being a very poor source to use if you're interested in overall desktop statistics. People visit government domains much more often from work than from home, and government workers visit government sites more often than non-government workers do. Alternative OSes are less common in government jobs than non-government positions, and there's probably a skew one way or the other in generic home vs. work statistics.

      Not to mention government sites that throw up a warning that you're using an unsupported browser or won't let you do certain functions unless you use "approved" browsers.

    • Pornhub reported 3% market share for Linux in 2016, up 14% from 2015.

    • I'm not disputing that the recent stats cited are wrong, just objecting to advocating what seems to be an inherently statistically biased source as the "most accurate" for this statistic.

      As opposed to NetMarketShare's numbers, which we have no actual information on where they get there data from.

      And that's before ignoring that any general usage share data where any OS can double its share from one month to the next (unless it's from 0.1% to 0.2%) must use a bullshit method to get its numbers.

  • I'm not saying a massive jump, but certainly not immeasurable by any means. It grows every day.

  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Sunday November 05, 2017 @03:38PM (#55494961)

    It's been a VERY long time since I last checked, but I once found that multiple of the most popular browsers were incorrectly reporting themselves as running on Windows even when they were actually running on Linux. This was apparently being done on purpose for some compatibility/bug workaround or something, but was obviously significantly screwing with the numbers towards favouring Microsoft.

    Does anyone know if this is still the case at all?

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      If I recall correctly the solution was always to report a fake version where it was expected for compatibility and append the real data as a comment, there might have been a total stealth option but never as a default I think. So assuming the people who gather the statistics pay attention and use the real data we should be good.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not the case here.
      Linux Mint 18.2 (Sonya)

      Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Ubuntu; Linux x86_64; rv:55.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/55.0

    • If one runs Firefox inside Windows Subsystem for Linux, does it report Windows or Linux as the OS?

      Windows 10 could be a good OS if it had a decent package manager like apt!

      • Windows 10 could be a good OS if it had a decent package manager like apt!

        Personally, I use dnf, but I'm not sure that either of them would work that well for Windows. Not because of compatibility issues, but because they both depend on packages coming from a fairly small number of repositories, and conforming to certain packaging standards but most Windows users are installing packages from various and sundry websites run by people with no connection to Microsoft who probably don't set their packages u
      • I've often thought the same thing about osx. Homebrew and such things are just enough of a pain that I always hop back to Linux.
      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        Theres much more wrong with it than just the lack of a good package manager.

    • That I don't know; however, I do know this: Linux and BSD users are much more savvy about maintaining their privacy on the web. There's no way to ascertain for sure how people are in fact not running Winblows or CracOS.
  • by stabiesoft ( 733417 ) on Sunday November 05, 2017 @03:45PM (#55494987) Homepage

    I've got probably 8 machines, all running Linux. This box is the only one that ever surfs. The others are used for real work. Kind of sad that correct method to determine desktop share is surfing.

    • We'll have to ask which desktop people are using during the next census.
    • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Sunday November 05, 2017 @05:59PM (#55495551)

      I've got probably 8 machines, all running Linux. This box is the only one that ever surfs.

      The headless Linux boxes in the closet don't count as desktop Linux. Nor do the Raspberry Pi's doing appliance'y things. :-)

      • Exactly. I know plenty of people, myself included, who run Linux boxes, but very rarely as a desktop.

      • FYI, none are headless. If you count total linux boxes, add another 10 for beagle bones & pi's. These act as controllers for things like the pool. Check my website if you are looking for a linux based pool controller. I also have another one setup as a irrigation controller as just 2 examples. These SBC's along with ultra cheap P/S's have made it trivial to build stuff.

    • I've got probably 8+ devices, with different OS except no windows phone. This macOS box is the only one that really surfs. Don't ask what I do with the other devices. But just for sh*t and gigs, I changed the browser to detect my macOS as windows phone, so I can be the last 3 or so windows phone users on the net market share.
  • Who cares? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mike ( 1172 ) on Sunday November 05, 2017 @03:51PM (#55495019) Homepage

    The Linux desktop is only for smart people, and there are a limited number of those. Therefore, the Linux desktop will never be popular.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you go by user agent string i am connecting to web sites from a win10 machine.

    I haven't run windows on the desktop for a couple decades.

    Linux users may be less inclined towards cooperating with analytics.

  • Linux (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Sunday November 05, 2017 @03:57PM (#55495047)
    After trying to use linux for a nice 10-foot viewing environment for years, and dealing with codec issues, and screen tearing, hardware compatibility, third party launcher glitches, and most recently inability to view Netflix and no HEVC acceleration I bought a couple android boxes for $200 and they do exactly what I want. So, yeah, I can understand how linux has fizzled. I still use linux for some tasks/development but not nearly as much as I used to.
    • After trying to use linux for a nice 10-foot viewing environment for years, and dealing with codec issues, and screen tearing, hardware compatibility, third party launcher glitches, and most recently inability to view Netflix and no HEVC acceleration I bought a couple android boxes for $200 and they do exactly what I want.

      So you replaced Linux with... Linux. And that's an indictment against Linux?

    • That was in 2007. You should give it another try now, in 2017.
  • Yeah, that was me. I connected with the US Executive Branch several times with my Mac. Sorry!

  • So I got myself a nice expensive BlueTooth headphone. Awesome. Then I wanted to use it on my Linux computer. Well lucky me, the headphones came with a nice expensive cable...

    • Who configured the system?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by zmooc ( 33175 )

        Probably a conspiracy involving the Debian maintainers, pulseaudio and bluez or whatever it is called. They managed to introduce a 1 second delay by default and forgot to implement an Alsa driver as well as any sort of an attempt to remember my settings while switing between headphones and speakers.

        Anyway, if "who configured the system" is the answer to my BlueTooth headphones not working properly out of the box on a rather mint Debian install, Linux clearly still isn't ready for the desktop. And it's not l

        • So you chose a distribution that expects the admin to be advanced and isn't focused on things like audio at all, couldn't get your Bluetooth Headphones to work, and then call that "proof" that "Linux isn't ready for the desktop", acting as if nobody ever had any kind of problems like this with Windows. You *have* to be fucking kidding. That is possibly the most asinine thing I have seen someone try to pass off as valid in weeks here on Slashdot, or anywhere else for that matter.
          • by zmooc ( 33175 )

            So now I need a distro that's "focused on things like audio". LOL. It's a fucking headphone. Having a totally broken BlueTooth configuration out of the box is not something I want to spend more time on than grabbing the headphone cable or something that I would expect Debian to be exceptionally bad in. I've used many distros over the 20 years that I have exclusively used Linux and apart from support for proprietary software there's really no reason whatsoever to expect or accept Debian to perform sub-par on

  • 'This is the Year of the Linux Desktop' (aka every year since 1998) finally went down the tubes when Ubuntu went insane.

    We went from being able to say 'Oh yeah, just install Ubuntu' if anyone expressed curiosity (even if we were personally using Debian or CentOS or whatever) to going uhhhh.... finally we could point to Mint, but by then it was too late.

  • Huh? How is this more accurate than anything else?

    Can anybody validate the assumption that the distribution accessing US government computers is the same as the distribution across actual computers?

    As a few people noted, they use Linux systems for working but other systems for accessing the government. Personally, I do development on Linux and Windows 7 machines, surfing on an oldish Windows 7 machine and accessing banking and government websites on a Mac. That would mean I'm seen as a Mac user, when it'

    • As someone who does website development for government and private, as well as lots of analytics experience in both, I can confirm that the usage trends of technology around browser and OS are very different between government and private. On government sites, you'll see lots of antiquated usage (e.g. Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 7), as a lot of the site traffic is a mixture of external and internal usage. Generally, the internal usage is Internet explorer and Windows 7 based. Externals tend to use mo
  • So... what is ChromeOS counted as? Is it in the 1.5% "other" or somewhere else?

  • Drivers suck (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cheesyweasel ( 5072497 ) on Sunday November 05, 2017 @05:26PM (#55495425)
    I love linux, but when my friends try it out they have no idea what to do when a driver doesn't work properly, so they go back to using Windows. While it works most of the time, the times it doesn't makes it difficult for the non-technical person. Maybe that will change in the future, maybe it never will.
    • by Chrisq ( 894406 )

      I love linux, but when my friends try it out they have no idea what to do when a driver doesn't work properly.

      Funny, I have the same issue with Uber

  • They probably used Excel.

    • They probably used Excel.

      No, unfortunately they asked their Apple Watch "Hey Siri, what is Linux's desktop market share right now?", and the watch kept rebooting. So they just pulled a random number out of the air.

  • Exactly how does one tell the difference? It appears ChromeOS (or Chromium) is Linux (Gentoo) with a Google-built desktop and a custom set of tools. All the distros come with their own sets of tools. Is it required to have an approved UI to be considered Linux? Is there some sort of "official" approval committee?
  • The "problem" (if that's actually a problem because I'm glad not so many people use Linux that makes it a target for hackers) is the lack of information. Linux - actually the kernel wrappers OSes like Ubuntu, etc... because the kernel has been strong for a long time - improved tremendously over the past years. The software offer also improved greatly, looking at LibreOffice, The Gimp, browsers, photo software (RawTherapy, Darktable...), sound and video / graphics cards drivers, wi-fi, bluetooth, SSD manage
  • Do these figures count Kylin, which is just Ubuntu, and other international OS's? It would seem to me if you count the entire world linux has a huge share of desktops.
  • Are there still people out there who give a shit, instead of just happily using one?

  • What Alas? Linux is just shit. Why would any sane non-fucktard person use that garbage?

  • Not the first time, and won't be the last. Don't trust these suckers on anything.

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