Informing you of NetMarketShare‘s monthly tally of desktop Linux users has become something of a “thing” on this site — and who am I to buck the trend: August’s figures are now out.

But brace yourself: things are a little droopy.

Stats uncorked for August 2020 reveal that use of desktop Linux systems (excluding Chrome OS, which is tracked separately) fell to 2.69 percent, down from 3.57 percent in July:

netmarketshare graph
Linux’s marketshare Jan – Aug 2020

This is not an insignificant drop of itself; a ~0.8 percent dip is minuscule in the context of all desktop computer users being tracked it translates to a sizeable chunk of all Linux users (those tracked by this company, anyway).

Why the drop?

Well, one posit to explain the (comparatively massive) surge in Linux users back in the Spring was the “working from home” factor, i.e. people not stuck using Windows and macOS computers at work but their own ones at home which, it was suggested, meant Linux.

So August’s dip could be the effect of people returning to work — though presumably at places where macOS is mandated as Windows usage saw a dip in August too.

Thing is, we’re not going to know.

Usage stats about anything are (rightly) subject to debate, scrutiny, errors, flawed methodology, and so on. NetMarketShare’s tracking is based on a comparatively small pool of systems, and has been out of trend with stats from other analytics companies this year.

Indeed, here’s a graph over the past eight months, this time showing analytics figures from StatCounter:

gs.statcounter stats
Linux’s marketshare Jan – Aug 2020

Paints a different picture of the past eight months, right? StatCounter reports a small increase in Linux usage between July and August.

As always, take Linux marketshare stats with a pinch of sodium.

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