A Million PCs Per Week Are Being Installed Of GNU/Linux

There are a couple of assumptions here:

  • page-views, which StatCounter records, are proportional to units installed, and
  • there are about 1500 million, more or less, desktop and notebook PCs out there, in the world.

Those are pretty reasonable. Being a bit off may change the number somewhat, but it’s still huge. The GNU/Linux numbers include Chrome OS which is about 0.2% share of page-views.

Week GNU/Linux (%) Millions (base 1500) Growth (millions)
1 1.38 20.70 0.00
2 1.45 21.75 1.05
3 1.53 22.95 1.20
4 1.64 24.60 1.65
5 1.75 26.25 1.65
6 1.80 27.00 0.75

However you slice it, the world is either pumping out of OEMs, converting from that other OS, or building from parts, about a million PCs each week running GNU/Linux. It’s a far cry from the ~1% number often mentioned. In the last six weeks, the growth has been 0.42%. That growth has come from seed planted by OLPC around the world and a bunch of computer-teachers like me… That growth has come from Canonical getting close to a bunch of OEMs shipping Ubuntu GNU/Linux. That growth has come from Google starting another beach-head with ChromeOS. That growth has come from a lot of consumers buying GNU/Linux PCs. That growth has come from some businesses and organizations seeing the light and getting off the Wintel treadmill at XP. That growth has come from everyone that escapes the mental lock-in that M$ has fostered by fair means or foul over decades of monopoly. I think Android/Linux has opened a lot of eyes. If */Linux works on servers and smart thingies, why not desktops?
See Top 7 Desktop OSs from Week 14 to Week 19 2014

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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22 Responses to A Million PCs Per Week Are Being Installed Of GNU/Linux

  1. l hickey wrote, “Can I get LG chromebase and access the Gentoo Linux terminal, and get the development tools?. And can I Miktek to make pdf’s with this hardware. I hope you say thats all possible (and easy).”

    Chromebooks have mostly a GNU/Linux OS plus browser and little more. One should be able to install GNU/Linux easily on most x86 Chromebooks. I don’t know about the ARMed ones. I’ve read there’s a “developer mode” which basically gives root access and allows installation of whatever you want. I would suggest searching Google for a Chromebook that can be easily installed with Debian GNU/Linux. You will have the tools among Debian’s ~40K packages.

    see, for example, this article about ARMed Chromebooks made by Samsung in 2012

    or this similar article about an x86 Chromebook. These are part of documentation on installing Debian GNU/Linux on specific hardware. Here’s a YouTube video showing how to put a particular Chromebook into “developer mode” to permit installation.

  2. l hickey says:

    I am a unix developer and want a full set of unix development tools, c compiler, make, linker,… along with vi, awk, … usual command line stuff. Can I get LG chromebase and access the Gentoo Linux terminal, and get the development tools?. And can I Miktek to make pdf’s with this hardware. I hope you say thats all possible (and easy). As an extra, can I use the HDMI cable to watch cable TV? In spite of 30 years as a developer with C/C++ and now recently retired, I don’t know how to replicate my work environment. There were always hardware and network people to help me access the AIX, Sun, Linux, and MKS toolkit on windows environments. Now I am on my own and on a budget. Thanks for any help.

  3. Deaf Spy wrote, “Windows still makes the majority of money on servers, Mr. Pogson.”

    He’s probably relying on IDC’s numbers which quote factory revenue. OTOH, users pay less for GNU/Linux. They like that.
    “-Linux server demand continued to be positively impacted by cloud infrastructure deployments, as hardware revenue increased 14.4% year over year to $4.1 billion in 4Q13. Linux servers now represent 28.5% of all server revenue, up 4.6 points when compared with the fourth quarter of 2012.
    -Microsoft Windows server hardware revenue increased 0.1% year over year in 4Q13 with quarterly server hardware revenue totaling $6.5 billion, representing 45.7% of overall quarterly factory revenue, up 2.0 points over the prior year’s quarter.”

    How long will that lead last with GNU/Linux growing 46 times faster? Do the maths. By Q4 of 2017, GNU/Linux will overtake that other OS at the factory. Of course that’s not mentioning that lots of servers ship from ODMs with no OS. They account for more than 10% of servers, putting M$’s imagined lead in the exaggerated camp.

  4. oiaohm says:

    Deaf Spy X11 server is not its Windows manager. Directfb is using framebuffer and X11 uses DRI or Userspace drivers(horible evil). These are two different subsystems completely.

    Even when you shutdown dwm on windows the graphical subsystem is still running in NT. The NT GDI is the X11 or Framebuffer equal inside NT.

    You fail because a Windows manager is not in fact required to draw graphics to screen under Windows NT. Where do you think the Windows boot up screen gets drawn before the windows manager starts direct GDI commands. The true core of NT graphical is GDI.

    I never said it was impossible to change the Windows manager on NT. The core graphical system on NT stays the same even if you change the Windows manager or have no Windows manager. In fact it has to stay the same. Windows image handling depends on GDI being functional. People forgot GDI full name. Graphics Device Interface, X11, Framebuffer, Wayland vs NT GDI. None of these are in fact a Windows manager.

    Without X11 and using framebuffer under Linux you can strip the DRI subsystem completely out as no longer required. It is also possible todo the exact reverse as well Strip frame buffer and leave KMS and DRI. Heck it possible to strip DRI/KMS and Framebuffer and go back to usermode graphical drivers under Linux as well. Yes the three horible directions. With hardware makers producing drivers for all 3. Yes some android graphical drivers are fully userspace.

    Yes gnustep and enlightenment can fire-up with not a single bit of X11 related code under them. This is past just changing the Windows manger. Name me a NT option that you can drop GDI out completely. There is not one.

    Linux problem too many graphical backend solutions. None secure or perfect. Wayland project major focuses has been KMS and other related back end tech.

    Deaf Spy UTF-8 on solaris Linux and majority of systems is 31 bit. The reality is UTF-8 is not what some people think it is. Yes you are stuffed up here as well.

  5. Deaf Spy says:

    Ohio, wasn’t UTF-8 enough? Won’t you stop embarrass yourself?
    Of course on Windows you can shut down the DWM, and run a new one. Gosh, this is what WIndows can do since Vista. Good morning, Ohio.
    See Windows Phone 8 – you have NT kernel with NT driver model, running a completely different Windows manager.
    See Windows on Internet of Things – you can have a running OS without a GUI. For you, that means without a WM running.

  6. Deaf Spy says:

    Windows still makes the majority of money on servers, Mr. Pogson. Linux is cannibalizing Unixes. So your point is moot.
    Btw, you seem to fail to grasp that Windows Server is not exactly the same OS as Windows 8. Same goes for Linux. Therefore, by comparing server to desktop, you compare apples to oranges. But you can keep on make-believing, it is your right to do so. Just don’t invent facts, please.

  7. oiaohm wrote, “The biggest hope the Linux Desktop has at moment for large home market punch is Valve with SteamOS.”

    I disagree. Gaming is a niche market in IT. Most of the next billion users of IT are looking at small cheap computers with */Linux as a less painful entry to IT than Wintel and they want IT for communication, research, distribution and maths, not gaming. Young folks everywhere love to play but much of the world leaves that behind soon because survival is more important. e.g. a farmer in Africa needs to know which town will give him the higher price for his cashews so he doesn’t lose money by walking many miles getting there. The guy doesn’t even have a phone except perhaps a smartphone because his community is not going to waste copper. They will use wireless as the first instance of Internet access. To us the price of a few bags of nuts is no matter but to this farmer it is a major part of his annual income. He will spend a fraction of that income to buy a solar generator and a smartphone because it will pay for itself the first year of use. All the other benefits of that IT come second by far and a desktop GNU/Linux machine will do the job as well for him except for mobility which he only needs a few times per year.

  8. oiaohm says:

    Deaf Spy you are playing a lets be in the dark game. Nextstep is there a equal on Linux. Yes there is it called GNUStep. Interesting enough it backends are X11 and Directfb. Enlightenment on Linux is also the same.

    Deaf Spy the reality is X11 is optional under Linux. Has been for a very long time. Problem here you run directfb you find you have no video card drivers on x86 platforms. Please note x86 platforms. Arm and PowerPC Platforms and others running Graphical without X11 as base like OS X with Linux has been possible for a long time. In fact running X11 on some of the other platforms is very hard due to lack of driver. The wayland project is about reducing the Linux kernel to only containing 1 graphical stack as well not 3 as there has been.

    X on windows is not like X on OS X. It is possible on OS X to shutdown nextstep and run X11 alone. Windows it not possible to shutdown windows graphical or again you lose your graphical drivers.

    How your graphical environment is constructed purely is coming down to provided graphical drivers.

    Deaf Spy if you take a good look at the Linux major desktop environments histories. You find most of them supported not running on X11. Reason for not keeping on going away for X11 is lack of drivers.

    Basically wayland is mostly about getting graphical drivers to provide what is required so Linux graphical environments can have the post X11 battle.

    Linux without the restriction of having to work to X11 design to have drivers will be a major-ally different beast. Major increase in security and stability. It going to be interesting to see what comes out of the Linux world when it shackles to X11 are removed.

    The two battling forces in the desktop for a while are going to be SteamOS(hiding debian with a standard Linux desktop accessible) and ChromeOS. Ubuntu maybe.

    SteamOS is a big one. Lot of game makers who have not considers Linux in the past due to SteamOS are doing so. These two are major-ally home market. Steam also provides a universal runtime independent to distributions.

    kurkosdr misses the fact many non X11 desktops for Linux that have died. Cause of death always exactly the same thing. Lack of drivers. Only the most stubborn of the non X11 desktops are left.

    Is one thing to say all the items without X11 was successful. I really wish this was true.

    “bazzar model” can be heavily disrupted by “cathedral models”.

    The biggest hope the Linux Desktop has at moment for large home market punch is Valve with SteamOS. Timing of SteamOS release hopefully should line up with wayland completion with driver support. Valve is not interested in Cloud centric. The fact SteamOS is backing Debian and Wayland does not spell good news for Ubuntu.

    I really suspect Mir might be another upstart where in the end Ubuntu is pulled kicking and screaming into alignment with everyone else. Mir case it will be Valve doing most of the pulling.

  9. dougman wrote, “the growth of Linux is quickening now”.

    Interesting choice of words. Many use “quicken” in terms of going faster, but it also means coming alive. I like that. To beat a dead horse:
    “181 Moby Thesaurus words for “quicken”: accelerate, activate, actuate, advance, advantage, aid, animate, arouse, awake, awaken, be begotten, be born, be incarnated, boost, brace, brace up, breathe life into, bring into being, bring into existence, bring to life, brisk, brisken, buck up, bundle, bustle, call into being, call into existence, cheer, chirk up, clear the way, come alive, come into being, come into existence, come to, come to life, conceive, conduce to, contribute to, crack on, crowd, cultivate, dispatch, drive on, dynamize, ease, electrify, encourage, endow with life, energize, enliven, excite, exhilarate, expedite, explain, facilitate, favor, fillip, fire, fortify, forward, fresh up, freshen, freshen up, further, gain ground, galvanize, give birth, give life to, goad, grease, grease the ways, grease the wheels, haste, hasten, hasten on, hearten, help along, hie on, hurry, hurry along, hurry on, hurry up, hustle, hustle up, induce, inflame, infuse life into, inspirit, invigorate, jazz up, kindle, lend wings to, live again, liven, loose, lubricate, make clear, make for, make sensitive, make way for, motivate, move, oil, open the throttle, open the way, open up, pave the way, pep up, perk up, pick up, pick up speed, pique, precipitate, prepare the way, press, promote, provoke, push, push forward, push on, push through, put forward, put on, put on steam, race, railroad through, reanimate, recreate, refine, refresh, refreshen, regale, reinvigorate, remove friction, renew, resurge, resuscitate, return to life, rev, revive, revivify, rise again, rouse, run interference for, rush, rush along, see the light, sensibilize, sensitize, set forward, set up, shake up, sharpen, simplify, smooth, smooth the way, snap up, soap the ways, spark, speed, speed along, speed up, spur, stampede, step on it, step up, stimulate, stir, unbar, unblock, unclog, unjam, urge, vitalize, vivify, wake, warm, whet, whip, whip along, zip up”

    It’s all good.

  10. dougman says:

    Hmmm…Intel / Google partnering on Chromebooks.


    Here is a damn fine write-up about Microsh1t and how irrelevant they are in today’s world.


    Pogson is correct, the growth of Linux is quickening now.

  11. Deaf Spy wrote, “At the end of the day, Linux, including the new ChromeOS which no one but Mr. Pogson would call Linux, is still lingering somewhere below 2%.
    Nothing new, people, move on.”

    Nonsense. Just as folks began to take GNU/Linux seriously on servers back in the day, folks are beginning to take GNU/Linux seriously on the desktop. GNU/Linux is not lingering. Globally, GNU/Linux rose from 1.2% to 1.6% in the last six weeks. That’s about 6 million more PCs. That’s Android or “7”-like growth.

    Think of it this way. In the last few years much of the world has accepted Android/Linux smart thingies as completely acceptable personal computers. That’s the foot in the door for other “innovations” like GNU/Linux. Consumers and businesses no longer accept that M$ is the one true source of an OS. Everyone, including the boss and the maintenance man knows that. M$ will have to work for a living from now on. To remain relevant with consumers, M$ will have to cut prices on everything. That’s happening. M$ is also advertising continuously, trying to cling to a slippery slope. To remain relevant with businesses, M$ has only cloud and server software to sell. GNU/Linux is quite competitive there so M$ will never have ~90% share of those. They will be lucky to get ~25%. Their client division is losing money, a lot of money. So, yes, we are moving on to a brighter future filled with FLOSS and GNU/Linux.

  12. Deaf Spy says:

    At the end of the day, Linux, including the new ChromeOS which no one but Mr. Pogson would call Linux, is still lingering somewhere below 2%.
    Nothing new, people, move on.

  13. Deaf Spy says:

    X is optional for Windows, too, Mr. Pogson. (Xming for the slow to use their favourite search engine). But, no sane person would use it, except for testing environment. Having UNIX as OS has nothing to do with what graph stack you want to use.
    Apple developed their graph stack based on NextStep, which is a novelty and not based on the crap that X is. UNIX is irrelevant.

  14. kurkosdr wrote, “Things without X.org:
    -MacOS X”

    Untrue. X is optional on MacOSX. That allows using X11 applications on MacOS. It is a UNIX OS underneath.

  15. dougman says:

    Hmmm, that isn’t cloud centric??

    Funny, as it seems M$ is going in that exact direction with Windows 9 or Windows 365, so one will be paying a annual subscription payment to malware.


  16. pogson says:

    kukosdr also wrote, ” if you run X.org on a linux server you don’t know what you are doing).”

    An Xserver is often run on a terminal server in LTSP labs in schools where security is of little concern but having one or more additional seats in the same space/budget is valuable, by people who know what they are doing. See, for example, multiseat X.

  17. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr sorry some servers do run X11. Not all Linux servers are headless and some game servers to be annoying don’t work if X11 is not installed. Yes Linux game servers..

    ALSA does not sit on top of OSS. ALSA and OSS are competing systems.

    PulseAudio got rid of 6 competing audio servers. Also windows audio and os x audio do have their own straight quirks on different hardware.

    Google did not have their graphical stack quickly at all. When Linux started their was a thing called Framebuffer interface. Or Linux first graphical interface. Yes Linux first graphical interface is not X11. Android interface is built on top of framebuffer this is why it could appear so quickly. Companies that make GPU’s for ARM provide framebuffer drivers interesting enough not X11 drivers. Now you want to use x86 video cards those GPU makers for Linux have only provided X11 drivers.

    The Linux Desktop community is struggling with uncooperative GPU makers.

    MacOS X has horribly bad GPU support as well.

    Linux community wanted to kill off X11 even in 1992. Since by then X11 was already known as a massive security mess and worked out as unfixable. Cathedral Model is in fact the model of video card makers that have kept X11 in existance. Sorry the X11 issue is not a bazzar model issue. The Bazzar Model has put up over 4 different replacements to X11 before wayland or mir none of them could get Video card drivers. The Bazzar model has also invested a huge number of resources to reverse drivers to attempt to get rid of X11.

    Wayland and Mir has the same hold up no drivers from ATI and Nvidia. Wayland and Mir already works on top of framebuffer drivers or android drivers(slightly modified frame-buffer system). Mir has techincial issues.

    Yes just to show how bad must have X11 is dug into Nvidia. Wayland makes a generic interface with X11 to run on top of Wayland and Nvidia has already come out and said we want to run our own custom driver to interface between X11 and Wayland so we can run X11 particular tweaks on our hardware.

    Does this explain why Linus gave Nvidia the finger. Nvidia and ATI and a little bit AMD have caused Linux major head aches.

    Intel also caused the Linux world lot of trouble with their video cards and saying they would not support framebuffer what resulted in the Linux world saying if you are so smart fix X11. They at least were decent enough to send one of their own developers in who worked out X11 by design is completely stuffed. What the Linux world already knew.

    Linux desktop issues are how limited you are if you don’t have hardware maker support.

    Lot of audio driver issues on Linux trace to using reversed tech without official specs or support.

  18. pogson says:

    kurkosdr wrote a bunch of stuff citing “facts not in evidence:”.

    Many corporations promote desktop GNU/Linux. Sadly, The Linux Foundation is not one of them. IBM, Google, RedHat, Suse, Canonical, most major OEMs and many retailers do promote GNU/Linux.

    GNU/Linux is not broken. If you have trouble with X or audio, I suggest you switch to Debian GNU/Linux.

  19. Mats Hagglund says:

    Anyway it’s time to download Linux Mint image and install it to pc. Have to test both Mint Cinnamon and MATE and decide which one is my default desktop from now on:


  20. dougman says:

    Funny, the Chromebook I am using on my desk is built from Gentoo Linux.

    Once the LG Chromebase becomes available on Amazon, I am ordering one and that’s a Linux desktop….much to your chagrin.

  21. kurkosdr says:

    All suffered a death on the desktop = All suffered a death

  22. kurkosdr says:

    “If */Linux works on servers and smart thingies, why not desktops?”

    Because there is no corporation like Google or RedHat promoting Linux on the Desktop? (save for Chrome OS, a semi-niche product, which however is the only thing driving Linux Desktop growth)
    Canonical doesn’t have the power, they can’t fix Linux’s audio mess, which is broken layers (PulseAudio) on top of broken layers (ALSA) on top of broken layers (OSS). And their attempt to fix X.org (hate and loathing) is lagging even behind Wayland (that’s almost and achievement).

    It’s stuff like the above that creates audio latencies, the volume bug, broken back compat and broken upgrades.

    PulseAudio is just an annoyance. But X.org is the kiss of death, killing everything it touches.

    Things that have X.org:
    -MeeGo (delayed ’till it lost relevance and dev interest)
    All suffered a death on the desktop by a thousand back compat problems and broken upgrades. Who is next?

    Things without X.org:
    -MacOS X
    -Linux Server (all Linux servers are headless, if you run X.org on a linux server you don’t know what you are doing).
    All successful.
    Are we noticing a pattern here?

    PS: Also, this talks volumes about the efficiency of the “cathedral model” and the inefficiency of the “bazzar model” open source is evangelizing.
    Apple and Google had their graphics stacks ready in very short time, before the last decade ended, but the Desktop Linux community still struggles with Wayland and Mir. And let’s wait and see what they deliver at the end…

    Essentially, the biggest hope the Linux community has is for Google to release a desktop OS (that isn’t cloud centric), essentially dump the product they paid to develop to promote their services (aka “the android model”). So much about the “bazaar model”…

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