40 Linux Statistics You Need to Know

Two decades ago, a college student named Linus Torvalds started working on his new computer software project. It was supposed to be just a hobby, but on October 5th, 1991, the young computer scientist released the first kernel of the first completely free open-source operating system – Linux.

Over the years, Linux has become one of the most powerful operating systems, used in aerospace engineering, smartphones, and powering platforms like Google, Amazon, Netflix, and many others. Despite its broad adoption, Linux remains a mystery for many people. Our article will help you discover more about this operating system and its distributions through 40 impressive Linux statistics that will make you wonder why you don’t already use it.

Key Linux Statistics

  • The Linux kernel has 28,276,974 lines of code.
  • Over 4,000 developers contributed to the latest Linux kernel.
  • 71.8% of IoT developers choose Linux as their preferred operating system.
  • Linux has over 600 distributions, with another 500 in development.
  • The most popular Linux distro is Ubuntu (employed by 32.8% of users), followed by Debian (14.4%), and CentOS (10.8%), according to Linux usage statistics.
  • Of the top 1 million websites, 18.4% work on Ubuntu.
  • The Linux distro Debian has 1,000 active developers.
  • Linux’s desktop OS market share is 2.38%, and the number of users doubled over the past two decades.

What Is Linux?

Just like its main competitors, Windows and macOS, Linux is an operating system that enables communication between hardware resources and the end-user. The first version of Linux was launched in 1991 by the Finish software engineer Linus Benedict Torvalds. Torvalds’ idea was to create an open-source platform that is entirely free to use. Twenty years later, network statistics for Linux seem to be telling us that Torvalds succeeded: Linux is the world’s most popular open-source OS, with 15,000 people actively participating in the platform’s development.

There’s also a story that Steve Jobs offered Torvalds a job if he stopped working on Linux development. Obviously, Torvalds rejected the offer, and today the world has a powerful, open-source operating system that’s constantly evolving. On top of that, all Linux distributions, except Red Hat, are completely free to use, unlike macOS and Windows.

1.One of the most interesting Linux facts is that 95.9% of Linux is written in the programming language C, followed by C++ (1.9%), and Assembly (1.3%).

(OpenHub)


2. Linux kernel has 28,268,647 lines of code.

(OpenHub)


3. Over 4,000 developers contributed to the latest Linux kernel.

(Linux)


4. The top individual contributor is Linus Torvalds, with 3.19% of the commits.

(Linux)


5. 52% of the Linux Foundation employees are women.

(The Linux Foundation)

Linux Network Statistics

While he created the first Linux version, Torvalds was just a student and didn’t plan to make anything significant. However, Linux has since become the standard for all reliable cloud environments, the world’s data centers, and virtual machines. Over half of the world’s supercomputers work on Linux, and so do the world’s most popular websites, including Google, Youtube, Facebook, and many others.

6. Linux is the chosen operating system for 42.4% of all websites whose operating systems are known.

(W3Techs)


7. Web servers completely rely on Linux, too. Of the top 1 million web servers, 96.3% employ Linux environments, according to Linux server statistics.

(ZDNet)


8. Nine out of ten public cloud providers use Linux, including Amazon Web Services, Alibaba Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

(The Linux Foundation)


9. The twenty-five most popular websites, including Twitter, Yahoo, and eBay use Linux as their operating system.

(Alexa)


10. 90% of the workload deployed on the cloud is based on the Linux system, the Linux Kernel development report reveals.

(The Linux Foundation)


11. Linux is the only operating system that powers the world’s powerful supercomputers. 54.2% of those are on a specialized version of Linux, while 23.6% use CentOS.

(Statista)

Linux Usage Stats – Who Adopted the Linux OS?

Aside from being the first-choice operating system for supercomputers, web servers, and cloud deployment, Linux is widely used in many other software and hardware environments. The Internet of things (IoT) is one of the fastest-growing sectors, according to the latest IoT statistics, and Linux powers it. From smartphones and home devices to self-driving cars, and robots, Linux dominates in almost every sector. Even NASA relies on a powerful Linux platform.

12. 65 SpaceX missions were completed using Linux-powered technology, according to the latest Linux statistics.

(omgubuntu.co.uk)


13. 60% of auto shipments rely on Automotive Grade Linux, a project designed for carmakers, suppliers, and tech companies.

(The Linux Foundation)


14. 71.8% of IoT developers choose Linux as their preferred operating system.

(ITPro Today)


15. Hollywood movie makers also love Linux. Up to 90% of special effects in movies are made thanks to Linux, including the world’s most popular franchises, like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter.

(omgubuntu.co.uk)


16. Linux is also the chosen operating system for Android smartphones, meaning that 85% of all smartphones in the world are Linux-based, according to the operating systems’ usage statistics.

(Hayden James)


17. The number of Linux-compatible games available on Steam, the world’s most popular gaming platform, exceeds 6,500 in June 2020. 

(Steam)

Who Else Uses Linux and Why?

Linux is used by many businesses, organizations, state institutions, and even entire governments. There are several reasons for that: First off, Linux is affordable compared to Windows OS or Mac. Secondly, the Linux environment is highly secure, which is why many countries left Windows for Linux. According to Linux statistics for 2021, China, Cuba, North Korea, and many other countries run Linux-powered computers. And third, Linux is customizable, meaning that in addition to moving all their data and work to Linux, users have the opportunity to develop their own Linux version, which some countries took advantage of. For example, China’s version of Linux is Kylin Ubuntu, which is the Ubuntu distro with support for the Chinese language.

The United States Department of Defense, the Federal Court, and the New York Stock Exchange also use Linux.

18. Linux user statistics show that India is among the top three countries that use Linux, with a 3.52% share of the desktop operating system market. 

(Statista)


19. The White House website has been Linux-based for two decades, since 2001. 

(The Register)


20. In 2005, the city of Munich’s administration decided to transfer 14,000 desktop computers to Debian.

(Compare Business Products)


21. In November 2006, the French Parliament chose to switch from Windows to the free Linux distribution Ubuntu, which resulted in moving over 1,000 workstations to Linux.

(Compare Business Products)

Linux Distribution Usage Statistics

Unlike Windows or Mac, the Linux desktop OS comes in many flavors. Ubuntu, Debian, and Elementary are just some of over 600 Linux distributions that you can choose from. All versions except Red Hat are free, but not all of them are beginner-friendly. Ubuntu, one of the first Linux distributions, is among the easiest to use, and so is Elementary, so those are good starting choices for those who want to switch to Linux from another OS.

22. Linux has over 600 distributions, with another 500 in development.

(TecMint)


23. The most popular Linux distro is Ubuntu (32.8%), followed by Debian (14.4%), and CentOS (10.8%), according to the latest Linux distro statistics.

(W3Techs)


24. The US produced the biggest number of Linux distributions (63), followed by Germany (25), France and Spain (22), and Canada (20). 

(Distrowatch)


25. Linux Ubuntu is used by 13.9% of all websites that publicly disclosed their OS. 

(W3Techs)


26. 59% of Ubuntu users speak English.

(Ubuntu)


27. Linux users prefer simplicity and speed, and Ubuntu ensures they have that: It needs between 10 and 18 minutes to install on any computer.

(It’s Foss)


28. Customer statistics of users on Linux show that Fedora is used in over 16,000 US companies, primarily those focused on software development and information technology.

(Enlyft)


29. Of the top 1 million websites, 18.2% work on Ubuntu.

(W3Techs)


30. The Fedora Linux distribution is the most used in the US (41%), India (6%), and the United Kingdom (5%).

(Enlyft)


31. Nearly half of the top Fortune 100 companies use Red Hat, including Lufthansa, Porsche, X by Orange, and many others.

(Red Hat)


32. Four out of the top five industrial companies run on Red Hat, Linux distro usage statistics show.

(Red Hat)


Developers and Linux

Developers love Linux, and it’s not a big surprise that the OS has a large user base of both professional developers and amateur coders. It’s a free open-source platform, and anyone can contribute to its development.

33. 83.1% of developers said that Linux is the operating system they love the most, according to Stack Overflow’s survey.

(Stack Overflow)


34. The same study from 2019 also shows that 54.1% of developers participating in the survey did development work for Linux.

(Stack Overflow)


35. 15,000 is the number of developers who have participated in Linux’s development since 2005.

(The Linux Foundation)


36. The Linux Debian distro has nearly 1,000 active developers.

(Debian)

Linux Market Share Statistics

Market share operating system data shows that Windows holds over 80% of the global OS market, followed by macOS. Linux is at the bottom of the list. Nevertheless, this powerful OS has its own user base that has marked continuous growth over the past two decades. Linux is also the primary option for users who prefer free, open-source systems and want to avoid the less flexible Windows and Mac software environments.

37. The global Linux market value is $3.89 billion, but it’s projected to reach $15.64 billion by 2027.

(Fortune Business Insights)


38. Linux held a 1.01% share of the world’s OS market, according to the Linux stats from May 2021.

(StatCounter)


39. Linux’s desktop OS market share is 2.38%, and the number of users doubled over the past two decades.

(StatCounter)


40. Although the adoption of Linux is going slowly among individual users, the adoption of Linux for servers is much higher. Whether you’re looking for powerful dedicated servers or cloud servers, 13.6% of the world’s servers make up Linux’s server market share.

(Statista)

Further reading

FAQ

How many Linux users are there?

The top Linux facts and stats tell us that, despite Windows and macOS dominating the market, this OS has a constantly growing user base. Since 1991, when Linus Torvalds developed the first version of Linux, Linux has taken over 2.38% of the global desktop operating system market share.

What percentage of servers are Linux?

While the number of individual Linux desktop users is notably smaller than that of Windows and macOS users, the world’s most powerful servers can’t run without Linux. According to the Linuxservers world statistics, 13.6% of all servers deploy Linux environments.

Why is Linux less popular than Windows?

Linux is less popular because it’s a more challenging and creative platform than Windows or macOS. Windows, for example, has only one OS, while Linux distributions are ever-increasing in number. Some of the most popular Linux distros are Ubuntu, Debian, Elementary, Fedora, and Red Hat. However, the Linux user interface is considered less user-friendly, detracting from its popularity among regular users. Even though some Linux distros, like Ubuntu and Elementary, are easy to install and use, Linux primarily attracts developers.

Which country uses Linux the most?

Linux has users worldwide, but the largest base of Linux users is in India, Cuba, and Russia, according to Linux statistics. The Czech Republic and Indonesia also have a significant number of various Linux distro users.

How many versions of Linux are there?

Linux has 600 available distributions. The biggest Linux distro market share belongs to Ubuntu – one of the most beginner-friendly Linux distributions.

Does NASA use Linux?

Yes, NASA computers use Linux.

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