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Linux hits nearly 4% desktop user share on Statcounter

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According to Statcounter, which should be taken with a pinch of salt of course like any sampling, the Linux share on the desktop hit nearly 4% in December 2023. Last month was a record too and a clear trend over time, as going back a couple of years, it was rarely coming close to 2% but now it's repeatedly nearing 4% so it's quite a good sign overall.

The latest from Statcounter shows for all of 2023 below:

  • January - 2.91%
  • February - 2.94%
  • March - 2.85%
  • April - 2.83%
  • May - 2.7%
  • June - 3.07%
  • July - 3.12%
  • August - 3.18%
  • September - 3.02%
  • October - 2.92%
  • November - 3.22%
  • December - 3.82%

Looking at December it shows Windows rising too, with macOS dropping down. If we actually take ChromeOS directly into the Linux numbers for December 2023 the overall number would actually be 6.24% (ChromeOS is Linux after all).

Here's how just Linux looks over time on Statcounter since early 2009 until now:

Seems like a pretty clear trend over time don't you think? Nice to see this happening elsewhere, just like we've seen over years with the Steam Survey.

You can see their stats over here.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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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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It seems rather odd to me that macOS lost 5% of its users in one month while Windows gained 3%. Unknown went up by 1.5%. Were macOS users too busy going to Christmas parties during December?

1% is a significant jump. Way more than any single month in Statcounter's history.

More numbers better, of course.

QuoteIf we actually take ChromeOS directly into the Linux numbers for December 2023 the overall number would actually be 6.24% (ChromeOS is Linux after all).
I'm willing to accept this if programs built for ChromeOS work on Linux distributions like Arch, Ubuntu, Fedora, and openSUSE. Is that the case?

I don't know enough about software to know how much the kernel influences compatibility compared to, say, a C Library.
buono Jan 3
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Gonna have to start a new website - gamingonbsd soon.... :)
Pengling Jan 3
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Quoting: buonoGonna have to start a new website - gamingonbsd soon.... :)
I know it's a joke, but I must admit I'm curious about the state of gaming on BSD - it's a subject that I know absolutely nothing about!
win8linux Jan 3
Quoting: buonoGonna have to start a new website - gamingonbsd soon.... :)

Too mainstream, BSD is used on the PlayStation 4 and 5. :P

GamingOnHaiku when
CatKiller Jan 3
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Quoting: pleasereadthemanualI'm willing to accept this if programs built for ChromeOS work on Linux distributions like Arch, Ubuntu, Fedora, and openSUSE. Is that the case?
That way round is trivial: ChromeOS uses web apps. The other way round is harder, but ChromeOS has been able to run Linux applications in a container for around five years. Work is ongoing to make Steam and Steam games on ChromeOS a thing.
Quoting: CatKiller
Quoting: pleasereadthemanualI'm willing to accept this if programs built for ChromeOS work on Linux distributions like Arch, Ubuntu, Fedora, and openSUSE. Is that the case?
That way round is trivial: ChromeOS uses web apps. The other way round is harder, but ChromeOS has been able to run Linux applications in a container for around five years. Work is ongoing to make Steam and Steam games on ChromeOS a thing.
Well, sure, web applications work on everything. The New Java. I'm sure that's what's at least partially motivating Adobe to port Photoshop to the Web in some limited form.

I've never owned a Chromebook—surely there are native programs on there not accessible from the web? I know CrossOver has its own ChromeOS version. I know the main point is the web, but since you can install Steam and play Steam games, that's at least one program you can use.

But the way you phrased it makes me think native ChromeOS programs don't actually work on Linux

If Adobe comes out with its entire suite for ChromeOS (namely After Effects) but it doesn't work on Linux, I would not consider ChromeOS a Linux distribution, because it being "based on Linux" would mean nothing for the effective market share of Linux.
mad_mesa Jan 3
My hypothesis is that statcounter is seeing Steam Deck, and/or that the new ChromeOS Flex may have a slightly different user agent string that is making it miss their special case exception that would otherwise prevent it from getting grouped in with the other Linux distributions.

In either case we should probably expect that they will further break Linux apart in their stats by shifting Deck to the tablet section (or making a new handheld category), or adding more special case exceptions for ChromeOS or other distributions.


Last edited by mad_mesa on 3 January 2024 at 1:21 pm UTC
CatKiller Jan 3
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Quoting: pleasereadthemanualI've never owned a Chromebook—surely there are native programs on there not accessible from the web?
Nope. Until last year ChromeOS the UI and ChromeOS the browser were exactly the same binary. The change last year to separate them was to make ChromeOS more Linux-like.

They dabbled with having web-apps-but-packaged-differently for a while but dropped that (as Google tends to do) a few years ago in favour of just-web-apps.

The thing that ChromeOS can do that desktop Linux can't (but which Windows can) is run Android applications. But people generally don't think of Android (or Windows) as a desktop Linux OS.
Lachu Jan 3
So, standalone ChromeOS have had smaller market share than other desktop Linux distributions?
CatKiller Jan 3
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Quoting: mad_mesaMy hypothesis is that statcounter is seeing Steam Deck, and/or that the new ChromeOS Flex may have a slightly different user agent string that is making it miss their special case exception that would otherwise prevent it from getting grouped in with the other Linux distributions.

In either case we should probably expect that they will further break Linux apart in their stats by shifting Deck to the tablet section (or making a new handheld category), or adding more special case exceptions for ChromeOS or other distributions.
Who's habitually browsing websites on their Steam Deck?
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