Is linux losing it’s importance among desktop users?

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Longtime Linux pundits are missing an important market change when they are debating the popularity of Linux Distributions. Susan Linton wrote on June 20th, 2011 her thoughts on the question surfacing on the web: “Is Ubuntu on the way out?”. Her comments were based on Distrowatch’s Linux Distributions Page Hit Rankings. As of today, Ubuntu is in the number 2 position behind Mint. Ubuntu had been shortly in the number 3 position after being on top for quite some time.

Linton wrote, “Some initial comments seem to indicate that premise is incorrect. Several assert that Ubuntu is probably just finding a new audience. One said, ‘I think the real question is: Is Ubuntu on the way out for new users?’ Another said, ‘I get the feeling that those of who are more power-users are moving over to other distros such as Fedora and Arch.’ ”

Linton started to ask a more important question when she went on to say, “But Ubuntu was always on top because it was the distro to look at when you were first starting. So maybe, and it pains me to think this, there just aren’t as many new people coming to Linux as there once were?”

TheJemReport asks a disturbing question for Linux supporters, “Is linux losing it’s importance among desktop users?” With the rising popularity of mobile devices, Linux is losing the battle for the third-place spot for desktop users. In fact, right now, according to one report, Linux is in 4th place for desktop users and in jeopardy of falling from that position. recently reported market share for Q1 2011 OS / Linux Market Share of desktop users. Linux was reported to have 0.94% market share of desktop users. This number is well below iOS, which is now third at 1.92% of the market. For as long as we can remember Windows (89.72% ) and Mac (5.21%) have been number one and number 2 in market share of desk users, but Linux was always considered the up and comer in third place. That is not true anymore. What is more striking is that Java ME is close behind Linux at 0.91% of the market and Android is coming up fast with 0.50% of the market. It is possible that Linux distributions fall to sixth place overall.

A note on Linux distributions: Over the last year Ubuntu has been the clear favorite Linux distribution, with Mint, Fedora, Debian, and openSUSE taking the 2nd,3rd, 4th, and 5th place spots respectively. Distrowatch tracks 322 distributions, so if you are looking for alternatives, there is no short supply.

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