A new month means new Linux marketshare stats from net analytics company NetMarketshare and they show Linux and Ubuntu usage is up for the fourth consecutive month in a row.

The share of Linux desktops monitored by the firm’s technology has grown consistently and continually for several months. The figures for June 2020 don’t prove the exception with Linux rising from 3.17 percent in May 2020 to 3.61 percent in June 2020:

linux marketshare in july 2020
Linux marketshare from the past 12 months

I think we can more confidently say that increase is now a trend and not an aberration or random error in the data (which wouldn’t be the first time). Or to put it another way, if its an error it’s a consistent one!

Still, when viewed against NetMarketShare’s historical data for desktop Linux (which only goes back as far as 2016, but still) this figure represents an all-time high for desktop Linux.

When viewed against historical data this figure represents an all-time high for Linux desktop share

As before the bump appears tone driven by Ubuntu. It’s Ubuntu-based systems that make up the bulk of Linux’s marketshare according to this company. The orange-tinged OS was up from 2.11 percent of all desktop Linux systems in May to 2.57 percent in June.

For reference, Linux Mint is tracked separately. Based on the same stats its current share sits on 0.0%.

Does this mean Linux marketshare is increasing, and increasing hugely? No; it’s still a small fish in the sea (much less a pond). But the share of Linux users is clearly growing among the sample base of this specific company (which says its tracks hundreds of millions of visits to a score of undefined but apparently popular websites, so counts for something).

But while the trend is exciting I must also point out that it is not being reported elsewhere.

Here is desktop Linux marketshare for the same 12 month period, this time furnished with figures from web analytics company StatCounter:

more linux marketshare in july 2020
A more sober chart showing few gains

Hmm. Virtually no movement at all — and certainly no post-April spike.

However, it’s not “proof” nothing is happening. Methodologies and sample bases of analytics company are different. It’s expected that they’d have different results. No spike in company B’s stats doesn’t mean there wasn’t a spike in company A’s.

Why is the increase happening (if it is happening)?

Sadly, that’s even more difficult to discern!

It could be because of more people working from home (and thus their own computers, which run Linux). It could simple be that their tracking software is now much better at identifying Linux. It could be {insert your favourite theory here}.

Either way, with little else to go on, these stats are interesting and encouraging if not universally conclusive.

We’ll never know the exact marketshare of Linux on the desktop but based on other data (like Distrowatch rankings, ISO downloads, Snap app installs, and other) it’s certainly north of most people’s assumptions.

big thanks @fabidotsh

marketshare netmarketshare Ubuntu