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Linux use on Steam ends 2023 with a multi-year high (thanks Steam Deck)

By - | Views: 43,229

Valve's latest Steam Hardware & Software Survey is out now for December 2023, and it shows that Linux and Steam Deck overall finished 2023 on a very positive note.

Something I continue showing over time on our Steam Tracker, we can see that December 2023 is the highest it's been in multiple years. Only just beating the previous high of July 2023 by 0.01%! This is all largely thanks to Valve's Steam Deck that ships with SteamOS Linux, and Proton that continues to help tens of thousands of games be playable on Linux systems.

Here's the December 2023 overall operating system results:

  • Windows 96.40% -0.16%
  • Linux 1.97% +0.06%
  • OSX 1.63% +0.10%

And just on the Linux side the most popular Linux distributions for gaming on Steam are:

  • SteamOS Holo 64 bit (Steam Deck) 40.53% -2.46%
  • Arch Linux 64 bit 7.85% +0.04%
  • Ubuntu 22.04.3 LTS 64 bit 7.04% +0.37%
  • Freedesktop SDK 23.08 (Flatpak runtime) 64 bit 5.22% +5.22%
  • Linux Mint 21.2 64 bit 4.70% +0.45%
  • Manjaro Linux 64 bit 3.64% -0.15%
  • Pop!_OS 22.04 LTS 64 bit 3.03% +0.35%
  • Other 27.99% +1.51%

It's worth noting that the Steam Deck has been a top seller over the last few weeks too. For the week starting Tuesday, November 14th it went back to 1st place globally on Steam (in supported regions obviously) and remained number 1 until Tuesday, December 19th where it dropped to 2nd place and has remained 2nd the following week up until today. So clearly Valve are still shifting plenty of units.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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About the author -
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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Steam OS Holo has -2.46%, is that a typo or are people removing Steam OS to to install other distros?
Highball Jan 2
Quoting: ArehandoroSteam OS Holo has -2.46%, is that a typo or are people removing Steam OS to to install other distros?

It just means less Steam Deck machines were apart of this recent survey.
CatKiller Jan 2
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Quoting: Highball
Quoting: ArehandoroSteam OS Holo has -2.46%, is that a typo or are people removing Steam OS to to install other distros?

It just means less Steam Deck machines were apart of this recent survey.

That statement is too strong. Proportionally fewer Steam Decks were sampled, yes, but they could very well have sampled more Steam Decks than last month as well as even more non-Deck machines.
kneekoo Jan 2
The year of the Linux Decktop is at hand!
Peffse Jan 2
Heh, just as an experiment I installed Debian on a spare drive a few days ago. I fought through the display manager not allowing me to click the password field, reinstalled Debian when I chose an incompatible desktop (KDE Plasma), reinstalled Debian when I chose a wrong desktop again (LXQT), reinstalled again (Cinnamon), reinstalled again (GNOME), finally settled on LightDM and LXDE as the only combo that worked. Ran a string of CAT6 across the room because wireless wasn't working. Immediately tried installing Steam. Package not available. Manually added Steam's repo, attempted install again. CPU not supported.

It was all for fun, but dang what an anticlimax.
Quoting: ArehandoroSteam OS Holo has -2.46%, is that a typo or are people removing Steam OS to to install other distros?
Sure would be groovy if SteamOS Holo would have a proper release for other systems.
Highball Jan 2
Quoting: CatKiller
Quoting: Highball
Quoting: ArehandoroSteam OS Holo has -2.46%, is that a typo or are people removing Steam OS to to install other distros?

It just means less Steam Deck machines were apart of this recent survey.

That statement is too strong. Proportionally fewer Steam Decks were sampled, yes, but they could very well have sampled more Steam Decks than last month as well as even more non-Deck machines.

This is correct. This is what I was trying to convey. Thanks for the assist @CatKiller.
Highball Jan 2
Quoting: PeffseHeh, just as an experiment I installed Debian on a spare drive a few days ago. I fought through the display manager not allowing me to click the password field, reinstalled Debian when I chose an incompatible desktop (KDE Plasma), reinstalled Debian when I chose a wrong desktop again (LXQT), reinstalled again (Cinnamon), reinstalled again (GNOME), finally settled on LightDM and LXDE as the only combo that worked. Ran a string of CAT6 across the room because wireless wasn't working. Immediately tried installing Steam. Package not available. Manually added Steam's repo, attempted install again. CPU not supported.

It was all for fun, but dang what an anticlimax.

What kind of system were you testing out?
Quoting: CatKiller
Quoting: Highball
Quoting: ArehandoroSteam OS Holo has -2.46%, is that a typo or are people removing Steam OS to to install other distros?

It just means less Steam Deck machines were apart of this recent survey.

That statement is too strong. Proportionally fewer Steam Decks were sampled, yes, but they could very well have sampled more Steam Decks than last month as well as even more non-Deck machines.
At any rate, in an odd way a good sign. I mean, I'm happy the Deck exists and believe it has led increased Linux adoption for gaming. But, if overall Linux is up despite Steam OS within that being down, that means overall Linux is clearly growing. That's a happy thing for me, since I want to see continued growth of desktop Linux in general, along with growth in use of the Steam Deck in particular; it wouldn't be so great if the Steam Deck became huge but the rest of desktop Linux shrank and became an irrelevant appendage.

Of course, caveats as usual given the bounciness of polls and the unknown nature of Steam sampling--none of this data is necessarily that real. But taken at face value, it's nice.
Peffse Jan 2
Quoting: HighballWhat kind of system were you testing out?
Oh it was entirely too old. 2005-ish gaming PC. I knew the chances were slim but I wanted to try anyway. The fact I got as far as I did is a testament to how versatile Linux desktop is nowadays.
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