It depends what turns your crank but in the world of FLOSS, Android/Linux had to be one of the biggest stories. As well as the number of users who adopted the OS in 2011, >100 million, it seems to be a financial engine just getting warmed up. 2012 should be another great year.
While Android/Linux was huge, GNU/Linux was as well. The number of users is probably about the same as the number of users of Android/Linux. Even NetApplications reports nearly a 50% increase since July.
I still have no clue what changed last summer except for students being released into the wild after experiencing GNU/Linux at school. I am not surprised at the rate of growth of GNU/Linux but at the sudden reporting of that by NetApplications. NetApplications seems to have a particular clientele who pay to have their page hits counted. Probably they are businesses because schools and NGOs are not so generous with money. Has business seen the light and begun to adopt GNU/Linux more widely on the desktop? Is some smart thingie out there reporting as GNU/Linux rather than Android/Linux? Are there some more huge migrations happening? The magnitude of the change does not fit any explanation other than huge growth overall. The increase since July is about 0.4% of 1500 million PCs, 6 million PCs. That’s an order of magnitude larger than the Russian government. Perhaps it’s every school kid in Brazil. Perhaps NetApplications decided to count things more reasonably. Usually when they change methodology, GNU/Linux drops like a stone…
Perhaps people began to realize that the same benefits GNU/Linux gave on servers and Android/Linux gave on smart thingies could be had on other PCs.
Anyway, it will be very interesting to see how this change continues. At this rate, GNU/Linux will take over the world shortly: 2012 – 3%, 2013 – 6%, 2014 – 12%, 2015 – 24%, 2016 – 48% etc.