Progress Report On The Year Of The GNU/Linux Desktop

We are approaching half way and I did a survey from StatCounter.
See StatCounter – Top 7 Desktop OSs From 1 Jan to 4 June 2015
It’s a mixed message around the world. There are three groups.

Europe stood alone at the beginning of the year at ~2% share but was later joined by North America. Both are dancing around 2.5% now. Spain, Germany, France, Czech Republic and Italy are all over 3%.

The Americas were another group starting at about 1.5% but North America took off while South America grew more slowly to about 1.8% despite huge shares in Uruguay and Venezuela.

Africa, Asia and Oceania were bunched at ~1% at the beginning of 2015 but have diverged. Africa has actually declined some while Asia grew slowly, .25% or so, and Oceania much faster with a spike as high as 2.74% but averaging about 2.25%.

Africa is interesting because it is an emerging market. For example, Chad moved from a daily average of 0.45% to 2.5% with daily spikes as high as 10%. They also have a rapid decline of “7” and the highest share in the world for “8”, indicating a very rapidly growing PC-infrastructure. Ethiopia fluctuates in the range of 3-4% and Kenya has fluctuated around 2%. Reunion is the superstar hovering around 9%. Unfortunately, populous countries like Egypt (~0.25%) and Nigeria (~0.7%) really let down the team…

North America is interesting because Canada and USA which are very interconnected economically have diverged in usage of GNU/Linux. USA has been as high as 3.4% while Canada is now languishing below 2%. No spike in May this year…

Clearly, there is still a lot of work to do spreading GNU/Linux desktops but a lot of progress has been made. Despite the low share-numbers, the growth of share and slight declines in emerging markets shows that a lot of units are shipping with GNU/Linux. In a few places, GNU/Linux seems to be keeping pace with “8.1” which is plastered all over retail shelves. So, we are in a breakthrough time. I don’t see any way this growth will not continue with “10” still vapourware and folks disgusted with “8.1”. OEMs and retailers have discovered they can sell GNU/Linux and ChromeBooks. There’s a lot more growth to come. A half-percent increase in share of a billion+ PC universe is five million more PCs running GNU/Linux in less than half the year. Global share could double in a year or two. That’s making the world a better place and bringing a lot more manpower to the task of showing the world what GNU/Linux can do. It’s a similar order of magnitude to the ChromeBook which is exciting every OEM and retailer today.

I think it’s fair to say the Digital Divide is closing rapidly but is not yet closed as long as there are countries with so little usage of GNU/Linux desktops as we see on StatCounter. The early adopters continue to grow in usage of GNU/Linux and most countries are increasing usage. April was probably GNU/Linux’ best month with 1.91% (143 countries over 1%)global share. In 2014, April showed only 1.34% (101 countries over 1%). That’s 42.5% growth per annum, great in any realm.

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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