How Many People Use GNU/Linux? Lots!

I was reading in the transcripts of IPI v RedHat that back in the day, 12 million unique IP addresses connected to RedHat and Fedora repositories to update/install systems. If that number is good enough to use in court, it is probably good enough to use in my blog. When I checked today, Fedora Project showed 1.913 million in a recent week. If I combine that with an estimate of Fedora’s share of users of GNU/Linux, we have a very large number of users of GNU/Linux. According to Wikipedia, 2,350,000 hits came from Fedora of 111,806,000 hits that came from GNU/Linux (including Android/Linux). Unfortunately some of Fedora’s counts may be for multiple IP addresses to the same machine (DHCP), and some of the machines could be servers. According to RedHat, 10% of its machines are desktops, but most Fedora systems are desktops, so we should count Fedora machines as 1.913 million. Many will be behind a router and be undercounted that way (NAT), so let’s stick with 1.913 million.

Conclusion: There are 111.8/2.350*1.913 = 91 million machines running GNU/Linux these days.

50% of those are mobile, according to Wikipedia. It could be that the IP addresses are a serious over-count but I doubt it. How often does your ISP change your IP address? Mine has been stuck for years. Most of the PCs on which I have installed GNU/Linux have been behind a firewall so they may even be under-counted. Perhaps GNU/Linux users depend too much on Wikipedia while Fedora users spend too little …

If there are 1400 million PCs and a few hundred million smart thingies, 91 million comes to about 5% of web-connected devices, way more than the 1% number bandied about on the web. It is still “too low” for my liking so I still have work to do.

Testimony of Michael Tiemann, Vice-president of Open Source at RedHat:
Q. Can you put a finer point on that? Is it a percent?

A. I can tell you — first of all, I can’t tell you exactly how many machines we support as servers versus desktop. But from a revenue perspective, 90 percent of our revenue is based on the server relationship; 10 percent of our revenue is based on people who are using a desktop configuration.


“Q. (By Mr. Krevitt) So, Mr. Tiemann, will you just tell us what that is? I think the jury understands how we got to these things, but what is that that’s now on the screen?

A. So what that is, is that is the sum total of all of the unique IP addresses during the period from the beginning of October 2007 to the end of December 2008, distinguished on the left by those unique IP addresses that originated in the United States. And the number on the right is the number of unique IP addresses for that period coming from outside the United States.

Q. So if you add these two numbers up, you would have the total number of unique IP addresses that hit Fedora during the 14-month period October ’07 to December ’08?

A. That’s correct. If you add those two numbers, it rounds up to 9.8 million total.”

Testimony of Stephen Gray:”Once again, at any moment in time, the servers that are at any location might have a variety of different tools on them. So I don’t want to say that no server ever has, right?

But I think what you’re talking about, if you’re talking about the majority of servers, yeah, I don’t think they run Fedora or openSUSE.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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7 Responses to How Many People Use GNU/Linux? Lots!

  1. Steve says:

    “How Many People Use GNU/Linux? Lots!”

    How many people use Windows? MORE 🙂

  2. shackra says:

    well, much people right now want something different, later will appreciate their freedom ;).

    GNU/Linux Rulez! 😀

  3. Thanks for the stats. I love them.

  4. Mats Hagglund says:

    After checking the visitors of my blogsite (non-geek, hardly any pc-stories etc…) over 32 000 hits here are the numbers:

    Windows: 82,0%
    Linux: 7,7%
    Mac: 7,5%
    Other: 0,1%
    Not told: 2,7%

    I’ve also tested that counter and it makes fail presumptions. I checked it once with HTC Android and counter was thinking it was MacOS perhaps because the browser of that smartphone was Safari. How realiably with PC’s?

    95,4% of visitors are coming from Finland or Sweden. I’ve checked that Linux markeshare is above average in Finland. When visitors are coming from USA there are great deal of Mac-users. Several visitors from Germany and France are using Linux. Also in Estonia.

    I guess the real markeshare of Linux in Finland and Sweden is perhaps somewhere between 7-10% in Sweden less than 7%, in Finland over 8%.

  5. I just used the testimony of some expert in the trial. I think most individuals would install Fedora as a desktop GUI and businesses would install RedHat for servers but there are exceptions. RedHat stated that 10% of their subscriptions were for desktops.

    Hmmm RHT’s last 10Q gives $200million as the revenue from subscriptions for 3 months. If $20million is for desktops, say at $100 each that’s a lot of desktops… 200K. I guess there is a mix of renewals and new subscriptions. At $1k per server, that’s also 180K servers. Not bad.

  6. nightgoblin says:

    Interesting. Your estimate is pretty close to w3schools.com data (it was 5.1% for February).

  7. Ray says:

    But I think more people uses fedora for servers than desktop.

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