StatCounter provides a wonderful service to humanity by giving us their sample of the shares of page-views on selected websites by operating systems and browsers. Flawed as this is, it’s one of the best sources of information about how GNU/Linux is doing in the world of real people. The data reveal that little by little, GNU/Linux is being used on more desktops each year while that other OS is struggling to remain relevant. That GNU/Linux grows while shipments of legacy PCs stagnates is absolutely marvelous.
One of the continents where many governments actively promote use of FLOSS internally and by citizens is Europe. StatCounter provides a handy way of getting out all the data from each country and downloading a comma-separated-values file. We can combine that with information available from Wikipedia on Internet-connected populations to have some idea of how many people actually use GNU/Linux in Europe. I still think the numbers are low but at least they appear to be consistent over time. For Europe, over the last month, StatCounter reports that 1.82% of page-views come from GNU/Linux desktop/notebook PCs. My calculations come to 1.73% by weighting the shares by numbers of Internet-connected users. This supports StatCounter’s contention that page-views is a good choice of measure. It still doesn’t get around obvious bias in the weight of sampled sites being English/USA… but it’s not bad regionally.
Assuming that about 1.75% of Internet-connected users in Europe use GNU/Linux and that there are 537 million Internet-connected people in Europe that comes to 9.3 million users. That number could be low since multiple people may use a single PC but, like the shares of page-views, I trust that there is some correlation between PCs, users, and shares. I’m sure not all of them are programmers or other computer geeks. They are largely folks who want computers to work for them, not the other way around. I intend to explore the rest of the world this way. Asia, Africa and South America should be fun. My own neighbourhood is too fixed on PCs being with that other OS. The world is leaving us behind.