Even NetApplications, which people tout as showing a tiny 1% share of web-connected PCs shows it:
Around July/August of 2011, the share for GNU/Linux took off with growth of up to 10% per month. That’s 1.5 million new machines per month running GNU/Linux if you believe Net Applications. I think the numbers are much larger so this is a lower bound to the effect.
Events related to GNU/Linux in that time frame:
- Suse/M$ renewed their agreement
- Kernel.org was attacked. At least someone is interested…
- Linux 3.0 arrived
- Canonical improved its sales channel to business.
- A year earlier Android/Linux phones overtook iPhone in purchases and Putin signed up Russia for GNU/Linux
In short, I cannot find any single event in the news that would correlate with this move in adoption. Is it a shift in the way Net Applications counts? Is it the collective will of the world to use FLOSS? I don’t know, but it seems real.
The difference is that Wikipedia has been seeing those rates of increase all along while Net Applications is playing catchup. Both graphs of Log(share %) show the same slope after 2011-07 of ~0.02 per month (5% of share increase per month). Welcome to the real world, Net Applications.