26 Exquisite Linux Statistics [Updated for 2021]

It goes without saying that we live in a Windows-dominated digital world; however, Microsoft’s operating system is far from being alone in the field. When it comes to professionals, people who actually use computers to develop new tools and platforms, a surprisingly large number use Linux instead. Even in 2021, Linux statistics show quite an impressive trend, indeed.

Why is this the case? Well, Linux is an open-source software, which means that it’s completely free and transparent for all of its users. It also has superior customization options and enormous community support. Its security is also one of its most vital features, which is far from insignificant.

All of this, combined, makes Linux into a force to be reckoned with. Here are the top 24 Linux usage statistics for 2021 to show you just how massive this operating system.

Top 7 Linux Users Statistics (Editor’s Pick)

  • 55.9% of all professional developers used Linux in 2020.
  • 83.1% of all developers list Linux as the platform that they prefer to work on.
  • Of all the websites with a known operating system, as many as 31.3% use Linux in 2021.
  • 76.9% of developers listed Linux as the platform that they preferred to work on in 2020.
  • 90% of all Hollywood special effects are made on Linux.
  • 75.16% of all smartphones on the planet work on the Linux kernel.
  • The majority of banks are switching to Linux to avoid piracy and cut costs.

Linux as the Preferred Tool of Developers

1. 55.9% of all professional developers used Linux in 2020.

(Stack Overflow)

When it comes to the primary operating systems of all developers, as many as 55.9% of them listed that it was Linux-based. When we look at Windows vs Linux usage statistics, we see that the percentages are not far away. In 2020, 51.2% of professional developers used Windows, too. Also, MacOS was used by 25.6% of developers. The truth is that this is due to the use of the word primary. Windows users often use Linux for development, while using Microsoft’s OS privately. Speaking of which…

2. 76.9% of developers listed Linux as the platform that they preferred to work on in 2020.

(Stack Overflow)

As many as 76.9% of all developers firmly claimed that they love working on Linux the most. Windows is near the bottom of the list, winning the favor of 57.5% of developers, which is a significant difference, taking into account the fact that it’s such a popular and widely used platform. Even MacOS and iOS are below Linux with 64.4% % and 61.1%, respectively. Docker and Kubernetes are in close second and third place with 73.6% and 71.1%, respectively.

3. 90% of all Hollywood special effects are made on Linux.

(Linux Journal)

App and web development are not the only fields where Linux is a force to be reckoned with. You see, about 90% of all Hollywood special effects, to this very day, are made in Linux. However, the most important part is that things seem to be progressing quite fast and in the nearest future, Linux may dominate an even greater share of the market. Since Hollywood is a major trendsetter in the industry, this might be an indicator of a future trend.

4. More than 15,000 developers have contributed to the Linux kernel since 2005.

(Blackdown)

Linux is not just used by developers for their projects, but is also actively developed by them. To support this fact, statistics show that more than 15,000 developers have contributed to the Linux kernel since 2005. This is a great testament to this incredible community, but also just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to the developer-Linux codependency.

Most Interesting Linux Facts and Statistics in 2021

5. Linux 1.0 was released in 1994.

(Penn Manor)

If you’re wondering who created Linux, know that the story starts with Finnish computer scientist Linus Torvalds. The development of Linux started in 1991, but it wasn’t until 1994 that Linux 1.0 was released. The year 1998 was the next big date in the history of Linux. Why? Because this is the year when IBM invested $1 billion towards its development.

6. According to the latest stats, Linux participated in the global server market with a share of 13.6% (2019).

(Statista)

While Windows had a market share of 72.1% that year, Linux OS took the second position. The Linux server market share of 13.6% was also an increase compared to the previous year, and with the growth of demand for open source systems, it will be interesting to see the 2020 results.

7. Ingenuity, the drone accompanying Perseverance on Mars, is based on Linux OS.

(IEEE Spectrum)

This is more than just a fun fact about Linux, as this is the first time Linux is flying on Mars. Also, this means that the drone’s code is open-source. Anyone can find the code online and make their own Ingenuity. 

8. 71.93% of all smartphones on the planet work on the Linux kernel in 2021.

(StatCounter)

Defining Linux and a Linux user is a far more challenging task than it may seem at first. Why? For instance, you need to keep in mind that the Android OS works based on a Linux kernel. In other words, about 74.6% of all smartphones on this planet (that use Android OS) can be listed as Linux-based, as well. As far as Linux kernel statistics go, this is one of the most relevant and fascinating. Moreover, these stats are incredibly relevant, because a huge portion of internet traffic in 2020 was mobile.

9. Of all the websites with a known operating system, as many as 31.3% use Linux in 2021.

(W3Techs)

Linux kernel often serves as a basis for many servers used in website hosting. One of the most interesting facts about the Linux operating system is that 31.3% of all websites, whose operating systems are known, use it. Remember, however, that the accent here is on the word known.

10. When it comes to the worldwide desktop OS market, the Linux market share in 2020 was 1.91%.

(StatCounter, W3Techs)

Linux market share of 1.91% wasn’t as fascinating when you think about the desktop operating systems market. However, when it comes to websites that run on Linux, its market position looks different. It was used by a large number of both low and high traffic sites. In fact, Linux’s position in this field is quite similar to that of Windows.

11. Linux is crucial for the future of AI in 2021.

(The Next Web)

In order to fully unleash the potential of AI, it is necessary to build more powerful supercomputers than ever before. Due to the fact that it offers a highly customizable, open-source kernel, all the world’s supercomputers operate on Linux. The reason why this is relevant in 2021 is because of the development of the world’s most powerful supercomputer, symbolically named Frontier, that is in progress.

12. 100% of the world’s 500 most powerful supercomputers were running the Linux operating system.

(Top500)

When it comes to the field of supercomputers, it’s important to mention that when examining 500 of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, all of them run on Linux OS. Since this is a dream job of every tech-head out there, this alone might alter careers in Linux statistics data.

Linux Statistics - Black Laptop

The Demographics of Linux Users in 2020

13. 10.5% of Linux-using developers in 2016 were women.

(The Linux Foundation)

According to the survey conducted in 2016, about 10.5% of all Linux-using developers were women. The figure itself may seem relatively low, but there are several other factors to take into consideration. 

First of all, it’s important to mention that there’s a significant portion of Linux users whose gender is still unknown. Second, the number of female developers globally is significantly lower than that of male developers. This is one of Linux users’ statistics that is the most likely to change in the near future. For example, in 2020, 74% of keynote speakers at Linux Foundation events were women.

14. 59% of all Ubuntu users use English.

(Ubuntu)

When it comes to the number of Ubuntu users, the most popular Linux distro, a staggering 59% use the OS in English. Spanish is second place on this list, with 7% of users, and French and Portuguese follow with 5% each. Chinese and German are close behind with 4% each. Russian, Italian and Polish are used by 3%, 2%, and 1% of users respectively.

15. 28% of Ubuntu users go for the 1920×1080 screen resolution.

(Ubuntu)

Gender, nationality, and region of origin are not the only things that separate Ubuntu users from one another. In fact, the personal preferences of customization are just as important. Therefore, it’s handy to know that about 28% of all Ubuntu users go for the 1920×1080 screen resolution. 1366×768 is the second-favorite resolution with about 25% of users preferring it. As for the pixel density, 160 is quite a dominant number, with as many as 55% of all users choosing it, Linux user statistics show.

16. The majority of banks are switching to Linux in order to avoid piracy and cut costs.

(InformationWeek)

One of the most important things you need to keep in mind is the fact that Linux is open-source and, as such, free-to-use. For major institutions, OS licenses can be a major expense, seeing as how they are incredibly expensive for the number of devices they use. Linux is also amazingly secure; for institutions like banks, this answers the question of – why use Linux. For instance, banks in China have switched to Linux in 2005 to avoid piracy, while a lot of US-based banks switched to various Linux OS in order to cut costs.

Linux Statistics in Gaming

17. According to ProtonDB, as many as 13,697 Windows games work on Linux in 2021.

(ProtonDB)

When it comes to gaming on Linux, it’s worth considering the number of games that are developed for the platform. Namely, in January 2018, there were 4,060 games on Linux, according to Steam Linux game statistics. Seeing how the number has risen in the past few years, we can tell that one of the latest obstacles for Linux users is about to be removed. These numbers are huge and represent more than mere Linux facts.

18. 84% of hackers use social engineering as a part of their attack strategy.

(eSecurity Planet)

The main reason the OS you use matters when it comes to security is due to the most common hacker strategy and behavior. Namely, 84% of hackers use social engineering as a part of their attack strategy. Believing that you are safe from hackers just because they have nothing to gain is also a popular myth. As many as 24% of hackers see themselves as students of technology. This means that even if they have nothing to gain, they have something to learn. And Linux is a good way to protect yourself, Linux security statistics indicate.

19. Even though Linux users are only 1% of its users, Steam isn’t the only gaming app for Linux.

(Blackdown)

The majority of Steam users go for other OS options for gaming. Due to this fact, about 1% of all Steam users play games on Linux-based platforms. Still, there are other, more Linux-friendly gaming platforms like Play on Linux or Wine, both of which are more than valid options.

Linux Distro Statistics for 2020 and 2021

20. Ubuntu was the Linux distribution that took most of the market share in 2020, growing from 38.7% in January to 47.3% in December.

(W3Techs)

In 2020, Ubuntu’s growth when it comes to websites market share was remarkable. In 2021, however, it slowed down to 45.3% by the end of February. Still, Ubuntu is the best-known and loved Linux distribution. 

21. The latest Ubuntu version was released in April 2020.

(Ubuntu)

The latest Ubuntu version, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, was released in April 2020. This is one of the best examples of just how frequent these updates are. As you might have noticed, every version has an interesting gaming pattern. The version numbers are named in the YY.MM of the release. This is the method that makes things a lot simpler to keep track of.

22. It takes less than 18 minutes to install Ubuntu.

(It’s FOSS)

An average Ubuntu installation time takes less than 18 minutes. This is just one of the reasons why Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distro. It is also a reason why as many as 80% of all Ubuntu users prefer to go for a clean installation instead of an update. When it comes to the region where Ubuntu has the greatest popularity, this title goes to the US. This is also one of the most important Linux distro usage statistics to consider.

23. It is believed that 96% of the top 1 million websites all run on Linux-based servers.

(Blackdown)

Another thing that interests people are Linux server statistics. According to the 2020 stats, it is believed that 96% of the top 1 million websites all run on Linux-based servers. This hardly comes as a surprise since the Linux kernel is widely used even outside of conventional Linux distros. One should add that almost 70% of all known websites use the Unix-based operating system, stats on what percentage of servers run Linux show.

24. 60% of cloud instances found on Azure are powered by Linux in 2020.

(Blackdown)

When we talk about Linux cloud statistics, the first thing that comes to mind is the fact that 60% of cloud instances found on Azure are powered by Linux in 2020. Most importantly, the majority of experts expect to see further growth of this number in the following years.

25. Debian, one of the oldest distros in the Linux family, contained 283 million lines of code.

(TecMint)

Debian is probably one of the best examples of just how formidable is Linux actually. Why? Mostly because its version contained 283 million lines of code. Also, even though it’s one of the oldest Linux distros out there, a new version arrived in 2019. The version before it was planned to be supported until the mid-2024. In other words, continuity and persistence are the two words one can use to describe Linux.

26. There are almost 600 distributions of Linux.

(Blackdown)

One of the most compelling facts about the Linux operating system is the sheer number of distros out there. As of 2020, there are as many as 600 distros. Moreover, 500 of them are still in active development. As we’ve discussed previously, the active Linux community fights hard to extend the expiry date on every kernel, distro, and OS out there.

Conclusion

In order to understand some of these Linux statistics, one must first understand what goes into Linux. Seeing as how many distributions and forms of Linux and Linux-based software there are, it would be safe to assume that the majority of the world uses Linux tools and OS at least in some form. Moreover, since more Linux-based devices and tools get developed every day, so the popularity of Linux, as a whole, is constantly growing.

Different groups and industries find Linux to be irreplaceable and use it either as a main platform or their preferred platform for work. In other words, even if it’s not the biggest OS out there, it’s definitely near the very top, regardless of which metrics you take into consideration.

FAQ

What percentage of servers are Linux?

When it comes to servers, Linux is a dominant force in the field. In fact, when it comes to the top 1 million globally and what percent of servers run Linux, the answer is almost all of them or 96.3%. Comparatively, only about 1.9% use Windows. This is more than enough to demonstrate just how dominant this platform is in this particular field.

Which country uses Linux the most?

When it comes to Linux and its popularity across the globe, it’s worth mentioning that India, Cuba, and Russia are spearheading. Other than these countries, it’s also incredibly popular in the Czech Republic, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. Even amongst the western countries, there are some that favor Linux harder than others. A perfect example of this is Germany.

How many Linux OS are there?

There are literally hundreds of distributions or versions of Linux. According to some estimates, there are 600 distributions, 500 of which are in active development. Some of the best-known ones are Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux Mint, OpenSUSE, and PCLinuxOS. Each of these versions has its strengths and downsides. Some of them require a more advanced skill level to use (Arch Linux or Slackware), while others may be a tad more niche-specific (various versions of Ubuntu).

How many Linux users are there in the world?

This question is fairly difficult to answer, seeing as how we would first have to define a Linux user. When it comes to desktop OS, about 85% of the market share belongs to Windows. However, every Android phone uses the Linux kernel indirectly. Every router, modem, printer, and scanner are probably based on a smaller Linux system. Also, the majority of websites are based on Linux servers. This brings us to the fact that about 3 to 3.5 billion people use Linux, at least in some way.

Is Linux growing in popularity?

At the moment, there is a slight rise in the use of Linux. Once again, it all depends on what you’re counting as Linux. Chrome OS, for instance, is built on top of the Linux kernel and if you take the number of all Chromebooks in use in the last several years, this certainly seems as a solid and reliable rise. Also, the vast majority of supercomputers in the world run on Linux. So, the growth of AI as a trend certainly contributes to its increase in popularity.

Do hackers use Linux?

It goes without saying that Linux is incredibly popular amongst hackers. The two main reasons for this are that it is quite easy to modify and customize because it’s an open-source operating system. Second, a lot of security distros on Linux can be abused and turned into hacking software.

What’s so good about Linux?

Linux is an open-source software, which means that it’s transparent, highly customizable, and free to use. This latter part is something that makes it especially appealing to both individual users and businesses alike. Other than this, it has huge community support and so many distributions for one to choose from. The distributions are actually what makes this question somewhat absurd. Asking if Linux is good is somewhat like asking if food is tasty. Some of its distributions are great for some people and specific purposes, as uses for Linux are limitless.

Why is Linux faster than Windows?

This question, as well, is quite a relative one. Some versions of Linux are definitely faster than some versions of Windows but, then again, there’s no reason why this would be the rule. The biggest pro-Linux argument (when it comes to its speed compared to its Windows counterpart); would be that Windows tends to get more bloated with each update. Linux distros simply don’t work in this way since they tend to scale individual hardware.

Is Ubuntu a Linux?

Ubuntu is probably the most popular distribution of Linux. Officially, Ubuntu is released as a desktop, server, and core for the Internet of Things (IoT) version. Amongst the community of Linux users, it is widely believed that Ubuntu is the best distribution for beginner users.

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