Linux Statistics – 2024

Written by: Branka

Updated: February, 17, 2024

Posted in:
Home Insights

In terms of operating systems, where does Linux stand? Underrated as it is, the OS dominates some categories in which other systems fall behind, most notably mobile. Linux is imperious in this area, without a match — and mobile accounts for over half of the entire global internet traffic today. Despite its open code format, most of its qualities remain a mystery. So let’s check out some basic Linux statistics to jump ahead.

Linux Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • 47% of professional developers use Linux-based operating systems. (Statista)
  • Linux powers 39.2% of websites whose operating system is known. (W3Techs)
  • Linux powers 85% of smartphones. (Hayden James)
  • Linux, the third most popular desktop OS, has a market share of 2.09%. (Statista)
  • The Linux market size worldwide will reach $15.64 billion by 2027. (Fortune Business Insights)
  • The world’s top 500 fastest supercomputers all run on Linux. (Blackdown)
  • 96.3% of the top one million web servers are running Linux. (ZDNet)
  • Today, there are over 600 active Linux distros. (Tecmint)

Fascinating Linux Usage Stats

1. 47% of professional developers use Linux-based operating systems.

Windows is the top choice for 61% of those surveyed, while close to a third of professional developers, i.e., 44%, use MacOS. Only 3% use Windows Subsystem for Linux, while 1% of developers use other operating systems.


Primary Operating Systems Among_Professional Developers

2. Linux powers nearly 40% of websites whose operating system is known.

This is compared to 22% of websites that use Windows. The latest Linux usage stats also show that 47.7% of the top 1,000 websites and 38.8% of the top 10,000 websites in the world use the OS. Similarly, 49.9% of the top 100,000 websites and 45.4% of the top 1,000,000 websites globally are Linux-based, proving its prevalence among the competition.


Distribution of Linux-Powered Websites by Global Ranking

3. Women accounted for 9.9% of the Linux kernel Git population.

The latest available data suggests this translates to approximately 330 women developers. The percentage of Linux users who were female falls quite short as well — they make up 6.8% of activity on the kernel or around 4,000 commits. OpenStack numbers show that women accounted for 11% of the population (around 340 active developers), while their activity accounts for 9% of the total commits.

(The Linux Foundation)

4. Linux has over 27.8 million lines of code.

Based on Linux statistics, developers added over 817,700, removed 285,485, and modified 11,859 lines of code for the kernel 5.14 release. Many consider this tremendous amount too big to be run on a smaller device. Contrary to the common assumption, vendors don’t use all the lines at once on all devices. It’s one of the perks of open-source; everyone can take what they need.

(Linux, Linux Kernel Archive)

5. SpaceX has used Linux-supported systems to complete 65 missions so far.

This includes the famous Falcon 9 missions. Being the primary choice of governmental agencies as well as private companies, Linux users include other high-end space organizations, including NASA and ESA.

(OMG! Ubuntu!)

6. About 90% of Hollywood special effects rely on Linux.

If you ever wondered how breathtaking special effects are created, they’re mostly made in Linux. Approximately 90% of visual effects in Hollywood rely on Linux at some stage of production. Linux usage stats show that the flexibility of the existing devices and open-source code provided the system with a natural advantage over other operating systems.


7. 85% of smartphones are Linux-powered.

To be precise, 85% of smartphones are Android-based, which originates from the Linux kernel. Today, Android has a significant dominance in the market — and since the launch of Android 11, the platform has lived off of Linux Kernel Long-Term-Support, Linux user statistics confirm.

(Hayden James)

8.  0.44% of Steam users are playing on Linux.

Steam is used by many gamers all around the world and there are thousands of games available on it. Despite the popularity of Windows among gamers, recent statistics show that Valve’s Steam uses Linux as a useful alternative, with about 4,000 gamers using Linux in 2018 in terms of supported games. Most Linux users use Ubuntu (0.18%), while 0.6% use Linux Mint. 

(Statista, Blackdown)

9. Mozilla VPN allows users to set Linux-based computer locations to over 30 countries.

Linux statistics confirm that it’s possible to connect to over 400 servers worldwide, with the possibility to access any content users want. However, Linux usage is not a prerequisite to access it: people can connect up to five devices with different operating systems, including Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android. Of course, this is just one of the good VPNs for Linux that users should turn to.


10. Intel and Huawei Technologies rank as the two biggest contributors to Linux Kernel.

For instance, Intel employees added 12.6% in contributions to Linux, with 96,976 lines changed. On top of that, their contribution by the number of changesets was 8%. The most surprising fact comes in the form of contributions from Huawei. Contributors from this company made an 8.9% addition (1,434 changesets) and 5.3% modified lines (41,049).

(It’s FOSS)

Linux Market Share Statistics

As expected, Windows is the most popular OS for desktop, with a market share going up to 73.72% — being the only OS with a share of over 70%. Apple’s Mac has been gaining ground lately but is still a minor player with 15.33%. 


Leading Desktop Operating Systems Worldwide by Market Share

12. In 2019, Linux accounted for 13.6% of servers globally.

Even a cursory glance into the Linux vs Windows server market share comparison would show that the latter has the lead, but they scored similar growth rates between 2018 and 2019. Windows grew from 71.9% to 72.1%, while Linux-powered servers reached 13.6%, up from 12.9%.


Server Market Share Worldwide by Operating System

13. The Linux market size worldwide will reach $15.64 billion by 2027.

A CAGR of 19.2%, the growing number of servers globally, and the rise of internet penetration rates drive the Linux market share, statistics confirm. The burgeoning expansion of data centers comprises the key factor in the market growth. Led by IT, healthcare, and manufacturing industries, many branches are switching to Linux, which affects the market size.

(Fortune Business Insights)

14. Linux stands behind the top 500 fastest supercomputers in the world.

Linux has been dominating the list for the last three years. Back in 2016, 498 supercomputers used Linux as the operating system, while the remaining ones used Unix. One main reason behind heavy Linux adoption lies in its open-source nature. Namely, all supercomputers have specific purposes, and having an operating system that allows adjustments to those needs means a great deal.

(Blackdown, ZDNet)

15. As of 2017, about 90% of cloud infrastructure operates on Linux.

Additionally, 82% of smartphones and 62% of embedded systems run on this OS, the latest available Linux usage statistics indicate. 4,300 developers from over 500 biggest companies worldwide, including IBM, Google, Renesas, Red Hat, Intel, and Samsung, contributed to its code.


16. 96.3% of the top one million web servers are running Linux.

Among the websites that run on Linux, remarkable ones include Twitter, Yahoo, and eBay, speaking volumes about Linux popularity. The internet is increasingly dependent on Linux — 96.3% of the top one million web servers use Linux, server statistics indicate. Windows (1.9%) and FreeBSD (1.8%) share the rest.


17. Today, there are over 600 active Linux distros.

Another 500 are in active development, constituting a complex living system that is continuously upgraded and expanded. Some of the most commonly used are Debian, Gentoo, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, Fedora, Kali Linux, Arch Linux, and OpenSUSE, Linux distribution usage statistics show.


18. Ubuntu accounts for 33.9% of the Linux market.

That means that over a third of websites that use Linux run on Ubuntu. Second place goes to Debian, which accounts for 16% of Linux-based websites, followed by CentOS with a share of 9.3%. Other distributions, like RedHat, Gentoo, Fedora, and SuSe, have a much smaller share, i.e., below 1%. Their shares are 0.8%, 0.5%, 0.2%, and 0.1%, respectively.


Top Linux Subcategories by Market Share

19. The US has the most Ubuntu users, and almost two million websites run on it.

Linux statistics demonstrate that some 66% of users opted in for the OS to handle their data, with English being the primary language of 59% of the users, followed by Spanish with 7%. Germany is the second country with the most users of Ubuntu, as 256,845 German websites run on this OS.

(BuiltWith, Ubuntu)

20. 50% of users referred to AI and machine learning as the next big growth areas for this OS.

Conducted to gather insights to improve decision-making processes at Ubuntu, the survey found that half of the respondents expected the OS to branch out artificial intelligence, as well as machine learning. Perfecting Kubeflow, a platform devised to leverage the cloud to make AI and ML practices easier, is one way to tackle this.


21. Red Hat has a 33.9% share in the worldwide server operating environment market.

According to Linux server statistics, the number of subscriptions for this service grew by 14.1% in 2018. Paid subscriptions also comprised over 51% of commercial server operating system deployments in the same period. Based on the latest numbers, Red Hat, a ‘progeny’ of Linux Kernel, has touched over $10 trillion of the global business economy. For comparison purposes, Microsoft owns a 47.8% share, and the rest of the market takes up about an 18.3% share.

(Red Hat)

22. Over 1,000 members with official developer status contribute to the Debian Project.

Debian’s architecture is the basis for several other Linux distros, including Ubuntu. Linux usage stats confirm that thanks to these developers and other volunteers and contributors, the architecture’s versatility makes it a solid ground for the evolution of other distros. Therefore, both individuals and companies can search for those best suited to their needs or even bundle applications based on Debian to fit multiple business objectives.

(Summer of Code, StorageCraft)

23. Heavy industry and engineering account for 5.45% of Gentoo use.

Gentoo provides its users with an all-around Linux distro, which has an advanced package management system — Portage. Linux usage statistics disclose that there are 16,101 websites powered by Gentoo, with 13,893 unique domains. Other industries relying on this Linux distribution include computer electronics and tech (4.6%), vehicles (3.97%), and science and education (3.72%).

(SimilarTech, Linuxiac)

Final Thoughts

Despite its complexity, Linux usage statistics prove the OS to be one of the most popular platforms among developers. Since its launch, Linux went through a transformation that made it a force to be reckoned with. From smartphones to space stations and programs, many things rely on the OS and its distributions. Even Microsoft, one of its toughest rivals, utilizes Linux code, verifying its status as a major agent in the tech world.

Linux FAQ

How many people use Linux?

Latest Linux statistics show that 2.68% of desktop PCs and laptops worldwide run on this platform. The number of Linux users sits at over 32.8 million, in addition to 1.6 billion Android users.


How many people use Ubuntu?

Though it is difficult to determine a precise number, the latest Linux usage statistics and available Ubuntu data suggest that there were over 40 million desktop users. It’s actually one of the most popular distros of Linux, with approximately 34.5% of all Linux-powered websites. Ubuntu and Debian combined also represent 49.9% of all Linux distributions for web usage.

(Ubuntu, W3Techs)

Who uses Linux?

Linux usage is widely applicable to various types of operations, from smartphones to space missions, and its open code and versatility provide the greatest advantage over its competitors. Here follow the noteworthy Linux users:

  • Google
  • NASA
  • CERN
  • The US Department of Justice
  • French Gendarmerie.


What runs on Linux?

According to the Linux usage statistics, some common services that run on the OS are web browsers, games, different open-source applications, and basic things like a PDF reader or a video player. Basically, everything in your browser should work on Linux. Of course, many Microsoft and Apple products don’t run on Linux, but they all have open-source replacements supported on this platform. Despite limitations, many closed-code applications built using web-based tools are available for Linux — including Spotify, Slack, Minecraft, and Skype.

(How-To Geek)

How many Linux distributions are there?

There are over 600 active ones and 500 distributions in the development phase. According to Linux statistics, some of the most popular ones include:

  • Debian
  • Ubuntu
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux
  • CentOS
  • Fedora
  • Gentoo
  • Arch Linux
  • Kali Linux
  • Linux Mint.

These are just some of the most popular ones, and many of them have their own distributions. For example, Ubuntu is one of Debian’s distros. These two combined make up a significant percentage of the Linux distro market share.


Sources: Statista, W3Techs, Hayden James, Statista, Fortune Business Insights, Blackdown, ZDNet, Tecmint, The Linux Foundation, Linux, Linux Kernel Archive, OMG! Ubuntu!, Werts, Statista, Mozilla, It’s FOSS, Statista, Developer, W3Techs, BuiltWith, Ubuntu, Ubuntu, Red Hat, Summer of Code, StorageCraft, SimilarTech, Linuxiac, Statista, Ubuntu, TechRepublic, How-To Geek