After 30 Years, Linux Finally Hits 3% Market Share

Linux enthusiasts rejoice! After a long journey, according to StatCounter's data, by June 2023, Linux has achieved a 3% desktop market share.

Linux has a long history that dates back more than 30 years. However, it has never been as popular among regular computer users as other operating systems such as Microsft’s Windows or Apple’s macOS.

Of course, for many years, Linux has emerged as a dominant force in the realm of server operating systems. Due to its exceptional performance, stability, reliability, and security, it has been widely adopted in server/cloud/IoT environments.

However, these days, Linux is no longer limited to these environments alone; it is rapidly gaining momentum as an operating system of choice for many desktop users, especially developers.

And the most recent figures confirm this, giving all advocates of Linux and open source in general reason to rejoice.

Linux Operating System Achieved a 3% Desktop Market Share

According to StatCounter, a web analytics company, by June 2023, Linux has reached a 3% market share in the desktop segment. This is a remarkable achievement considering its fierce competition from other operating systems.

Desktop Operating System Market Share Worldwide
Desktop Operating System Market Share Worldwide

While someone may seem the figure modest, it signifies a growing acceptance and recognition of the power and versatility of Linux.

In any case, the achievement of a 3% market share by Linux is undoubtedly a cause for celebration among its dedicated community. It reflects the growing recognition of Linux’s strengths and the efforts to overcome its historical barriers.

Moreover, with the continued development and innovation within the Linux ecosystem, its market share will continue growing in the coming years.

The growing importance of cloud computing and the rise of server infrastructure have also contributed to Linux’s success. Still, the main reason for reaching this figure is the operating system’s growing popularity among desktop users.

With exceptionally easy-to-use and entirely user-centric Linux desktop distributions, the operating system is no longer what it was 20 years ago – a complex equation available only to highly technically enlightened hackers.

Linux Growing Popularity among Desktop Users

Linux with GNOME Desktop.
Linux with GNOME Desktop.

Yes, I know. Over the last 10+ years, each one has often been heralded as “Linux on the Desktop,” although it turns out that’s not quite the case. But still, we’re close to that point now. And for good reasons.

Free, Lightweight & Customizable

The main appealing aspect of Linux for desktop users is its lightweight nature, free from corporate bloatware, and especially the limitless customization options.

It allows users to tailor their desktop environment to suit their preferences and workflow. With a vast selection of desktop environments like GNOME, KDE, Xfce, and many others, users can choose the one that best aligns with their needs.

Valuing User Privacy

Another important factor driving Linux’s growing popularity among desktop users is privacy. Compared to other mainstream operating systems, Linux generally collects no user data.

While some distributions may try to collect basic telemetry data for improvement purposes, the level of data collection is typically minimal and can be disabled or opted out of entirely. This aspect appeals to privacy-conscious individuals who prefer more control over their personal information.

Linux is a Developer’s Dream Come True

Linux has long been the operating system of choice for developers worldwide, and its allure continues to grow.

First and foremost, Linux’s open-source nature empowers developers with unparalleled freedom. They can access and modify the source code, customize their environments, and contribute to the community, fostering collaboration and innovation.

Furthermore, performance is also a crucial factor. Linux’s efficiency, scalability, and ability to run on diverse hardware architectures make it ideal for resource-intensive tasks.

Lastly, its command-line interface and powerful scripting capabilities offer flexibility and automation, streamlining development workflows.

Bottom Line

So, as Linux enthusiasts rejoice, it is essential to remember that the journey does not end here. Linux has proven its worth, and its rise to a 3% desktop market share is a testament to its resilience and adaptability in the desktop field.

With ongoing advancements and increased support from the Open Source community and businesses, Linux is poised to become an even more formidable player in the world of operating systems.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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  1. Dear sir,

    While I agree with you on the advantages (performance, stability, reliability, security, customization, privacy, lightweight nature, no corporate bloatware, etc) of Linux, its rate of adoption is considerably weak and consistently weak because of various reasons and causes that your article does not mention.

    Linux as an operating system had an excellent opportunity of improving its desktop market share when Windows Vista was released and then when Windows 8 was released.


  2. 3% market share over 30 years cannot be blamed on the approaches of open source vs commercial/capitalist.

    There are a few things that really work against Linux and I’ll list a few obvious ones:
    1) It doesn’t cater for non-IT people. There is still too much dependence on using the command line to accomplish things that in iOS and Windows are done through clicks.
    2) The community is hostile. Even if you are in IT you need to learn to navigate the community for support. Compared to Windows and iOS, finding answers to problems is particularly difficult because of an ascerbic online community.
    3) Things that should have disappeared 30 years ago are still problems in the operating system. Not least of which is the handling of locales. I cannot transfer Excel files from my Windows machine to my Linux machine because my Windows machine uses points to denote decimals (as in most companies and homes in South Africa) while Linux does a hard-enforce of the documented standard in South Africa which is a comma for decimal. This breaks my files and I am unable to perform calculations on Excel files due to this. Ridiculous, relevant and sad.

    • All those few things you notes are all totally false and show me how much you have little to no experience on Linux in general. If you haved tried 1 distribution you have try 1 distribution, not Linux in general. It is basically like trying a car, if you try an Honda Civic and you don’t like it, doesn’t mean that you will not like a Tesla. If your Civic doesn’t have autopilot function and everything, it doesn’t mean that no cars can have them.

      1- if you try some big, well known user-friendly distribution, such as Linux Mint, Pop Os, Ubuntu, etc, you should be able to achieve most things if not everything you can do on windows by using only the user interface. All common task are usually easy to do and pretty intuitive.

      Sure, if you look for help on Linux community, it is really frequent to see people helping with a command line and the reason for that is simple. It just do everything needed, users error can hardly happen when doing a simple copy paste in the terminal, while describing what to do using the user interface will take much longer and may varies depending of distribution versions, desktop environment, and version, language of the user interface, etc. Too many variables=Much harder to explain, take much more time and may necessitate useless back and forth communication.

      This doesn’t mean that there have no way to do it using only the user interface. People who make those user-friendly distribution know that most common-users prefer using a user interface for everything they have to do.

      2- Strange that you say that, because most Linux user find the same from Windows users. Also something I never really rarely saw is Linux advocate going in windows news and forum to say how bad windows is, but wired enough I see all the time windows advocate like you bashing on Linux, saying how bad and non user-friendly is or whatever.

      3- This is once again totally false. Just looking my distribution I’m in right now and decimals are all set to ” . ” and not ” , “, but I could change the setting if I want to used comma if I want too. The default may change depending of the distribution, but nothing in Linux itself limit to a simple standard. And LibreOffice and Microsoft Office allow to set this directly in the app settings, without changing global system settings anyways.

      And yes, you can run Microsoft Office on Linux using Wine, in case the documents you try to open doesn’t work great in LibreOffice.

      • Fireztonez: I agree with your assessment of using Linux. I am not a techie, but I have used Linux since 2006 with lots of success. I current use POP!_22.04LTS and find that is is very capable. I learn new things about it all the time. The most important aspect of using Linux is the great community support. The Linux community is always ready to help another. Personally I think that if computers were sold without a OS and let the buyer to choose the OS that Linux use would increase dramatically. Every computer in the stores has Micro$oft on them. If we could get M$ off prior to sales then Linux would be the champ.

  3. To the previous comments: there’s always a solution, but for windows zombies, nothing will suffice. Back around 1992 or so, my ISP had ‘Powered by Linux’ on their homepage. I inquired and was provided a link for the free Debian download. Kernel was at v.9. I loaded and ran it with no issues, added the graphical pieces and the rest is history. There were only about 2400 native apps at the time and now around 60K. Windows networking was a nightmare at the time. Not for Linux, but you know what the rumors of the time were.

  4. As a long time Linux user this is great news. But I feel like the numbers referenced are wrong. That’s because it separates Chrome OS out, which is wrong because it’s a Linux distribution. Yes it doesn’t have your normal GNU user space, but Linux is the kernel only not the user space so Chrome OS is a Linux OS. Additionally I know it’s trying to differentiate server from desktop. But I feel like you have to throw Android into the numbers as well since it’s Linux as well.

  5. It’s the apps: no one installs an OS just to look at it. Linux will never gain more than single digit market share until there’s a port of major Windows software.

    People are indifferent, unknowing, fearful, or just plain lazy to learn new apps. Got to get Office, QuickBooks, Quicken, Adobe, and other major apps to run on Linux.

    Until then, as I said, single digit market share.


    • I honestly don’t think most people care that much. If there were a lot more laptops with linux preinstalled instead of windows, that alone would bring some percentages. Most people really don’t use specialized software and MSOffice is already available through a browser, pretty sure PS and even some CAD programs won’t be far behind. As for games, the Steam Deck is exploding in popularity right now, running a derivative of Arch.

    • For almost all apps, there are open source alternatives; they’re just not widely known. Eg. LibreOffice, GIMP, Kdenlive, OpenSCAD

    • The Linux apts are there: LibreOffice is superior to M$ Office, GIMP is a great substitute for Adobie, and Linux will run Quickbooks Cloud (just not desktop) If you have Quickbooks why do you need Quicken? Evince is far more robust than Adobie Reader. There must be some reason that the top 500 Super Computers run on Linux.

    • Read the linked article, ChromeOS is supposedly 4.15% of the desktop market share. But ChromeOS is not really Linux, just as Android is not really Linux, otherwise Linux would be counted as #1 OS.

      • Linux is a kernel, not an OS. ChromeOS is using the linux kernel. Android is using the Linux kernel. “Linux” in the graph above should probably be “Ubuntu/RedHat”

  6. I am a Linux desktop user myself, but I am honest: Linux increased marked share on desktop to 3%, but the general market share on desktop decreased in favor to mobile. If you look at general market share, Linux is 1.28%, pretty much the same as 10 years ago. What really happened is many Windows-on-desktop moved to Android-on-mobile.

  7. My wife’s Windows computer can’t even get WiFi and Bluetooth for a PCIE AX210 working. My Linux laptop is a breeze, there’s always a CLI solution for any issue. Fixing anything on Windows is confusing. Most people don’t even try. They get rid of it or pay someone to fix it. It’s full of ads and the UI is horrible. KDE runs circles around it.

    If Linux was in schools, everyone would use it.

    • You are correct, if Linux was used by the schools it would bounce to being number one. does M$ still have the Blue Screen of Death?

  8. I agree with the comment, that Linux community in general is hostile and in many cases useless. The point of contacting community is usually a newbie problem. Vast majority of responses in such case is to ridicule the person instead of answering the question. The most often (useless) answer is “google it, it is old problem”. But the biggest problem with Linux is lack of hardware and software combability. Practically every device that one buys will work flawlessly with Windows with all the functionality. That is not the case with Linux. Some devices will not work out of the box with Linux, require mystic command line interactions to make them work and usually functionality is a subset of what available under Windows. In some cases devices contain chip that will not work with Linux at all. The software included with many devices (printers, WiFi routers, usb devices etc) are versioned only for Mac or Windows. Switching to Linux means that later buying some hardware is a lottery or limited selection of devices and limited functionality. Setting them up means interaction with rude, unfriendly community support. I lived through this when I set up file server based on Linux. It did not worked out initially and required community help – bad experience. Vast majority of “advices” were pointless such as “it works for me”. Some were plain wrong and very few helpful. The problem for newbie is that he or she hardly can distinguish bad advice from the good one. It took a lot of useless discussions with community and I never ended up with a device that meet all my requirements. At the end after few years I just gave up and ended up buying QNAP NAS. Interestingly it runs Linux internally, but it is set up by experts and work flawlessly with Windows. The point of all this is why bother? My Windows work excellent, I do not have problems with devices, all my software works fine and since Windows 7 I have never spent a dollar on new versions of Windows. They were free Microsoft upgrades of previous OS. They even transferred license to my new machine. But even if I had to spent $99 every few years on new version of Windows, the user friendliness and excellent compatibility easily wins with hours waisted on Linux community discussions to make something new working.

    • What are you talking about Linux not working out of the box. Linux has worked with out any hardware problems on my last 6 computers. I have bought several Android endoscope and I still can not fer them to work with Android, but worked right off with my Linux computers. BTW I got into using Linux when the mother board on my Microsoft Windows e-Machine computer went bad and I bought a new MB and it did not work with my Windows OS, so I then switched to Linux and had not trouble getting into Linux and that was in 2006. So you can not state everything works out of the box with Microsoft,because it doesn’t. Also I had a Music capture device and the instructions and the company said it would not work with anything but Windows. I actually emailed them and that was the reply. Well I found that by using Audacity I could use the device just fine with Linux. I even emailed the company and told them that and they still said it only worked with Windows. Well it also works just fine with Linux.

    • Right on the money Jack.
      Linux guys do not want to answer question : “Why do you give your product for free and only 3% of the people want it and use it ?”
      I ran all my mission critical software on Debian Linux (spreadsheet, word processor, database) but Windows wins hands down for everything else.
      As you mention above adding any new hardware is flip a coin if it will work or not. Linux wastes developers working on hundreds of distributions and desktop environments and nobody wants to work on new drivers and new hardware support bug fixing is lousy too.

  9. I have used Linux exclusively for the last few years. I am currently using MX Linux.

    For some reason, everytime I log in for online banking (at both my credit union and at the bank) I get emails from them saying that my device has changed. I don’t mind these but every time they say my OS is Windows 10. Perhaps the data metrics are inaccurate. I think some distros or individuals spoof Windows because some websites refuse obvious Linux users with messages saying that your browser or OS is unsupported.

  10. I’m not particularly intimidated by the command line. Or nasty people in forums. Usually there is somebody who actually can help. What bothers me is the hardware. I would like to find a device that would allow me to try different distros without becoming side tracked with hardware issues. I’m prepared to spend $1.5K+ for a device (before all the peripherals) but I want assurances that the various distros I try will work. That’s the advantage Windows has. I can buy a PC – any PC – and be assured Windows will work. I’m not a fan of Windows, which is why I’m prepared to move to another OS. But the hardware uncertainty makes me hesitate. My only other option, when Windows 10 quits working, is Apple. It has it’s own problems but hardware isn’t going to be one of them.

    • All the Linux distros have generic built kernels now. twenty years ago when you had to boot linux off of a floppy disc, your concern was a real issue across distros. You could always custom build a kernel to get the support you need, but few people want to do that, nor should do that. These days, I just buy whatever laptop I want or whatever pc I want and throw Ubuntu on there and never even think about it. Like you, it was a concern of mine up until ten years ago. Honestly, If I were you, I would just keep a bootable thumb drive handy and you can boot from the thumb drive into a live Linux desktop. Then you can confirm for sure if everything is supported. It’s just not a concern these days unless you have some very specialized equipment and the company only supports a specific OS. In that case though, You are at the mercy of that company.

      As a side, you can’t always trust that Windows will support your hardware even if it comes with the machine. My mothers laptop came with windows and a month after owning the machine the low power storage reader and the special function keys stopped working after the first update. Booting her machine off of a live Linux thumb drive showed all the hardware still working fine, special function keys and the low power storage reader as well.

      All in all, I think it’s worth giving it a shot. It’s not the concern it was 10 years ago.


    • If you have a budget of $1.5k for a laptop you have a choice of Linux laptops. Look at System76 in the US, Tuxedo in Germany, Slimbook in Spain, Entroware in the UK. They all supply strong kit and they will all cope with multiple distros. Hope you make the leap, I am sure you won’t regret it.

  11. Despite all of the advantages granted to Linux (performance, stability, reliability, security, customization, privacy, lightweight nature, no corporate bloatware, free-as-in-beer, etc), the desktop market share has only reached 3% after 30 years. I do not see this as an outstanding success; it may be more of a partial failure.

    1- Linux community is sometimes agressive and sometimes even hostile. I have experienced this more than once and did not like it.

    2- Lack of hardware and software combability: proprietary “firmware”. This phenomenon exists and it does affect the rate of Linux adoption.

    3- Familiarity of Windows OS. This, I believe, is the biggest factor. Most non-savvy computer people do not know anything besides Windows. They have been using Windows for years, so they can not imagine themselves using a computer that would not have Windows OS. And even if you could convince them otherwise, they dread – not without some valid reason – the time and efforts they would have to spend to get accustomed to a new way of using and getting accustomed to their new OS.

    4- Linux installation. Personnally, I can not imagine a non-savvy computer installing Linux all by himself/herself. The partitioning step is a difficult task: how to achieve a good and efficient (otherwise an excellent) HDD partition (with GParted or some other partitioning utility) requires understanding and knowledge: grub, primary partition, extended partition, logical partition, etc require understanding.


  12. I could care less about market share. As long as Linux is there I am happy and will use it. Chevy has better market share than Lexus, does that mean a Chevy is better than a Lexus?
    Linux will never have the big money advertising, or the manufacturers building computers for it and no one else because it is open source, so it’s share will stay low.
    But it is an inexpensive and excellent alternative to the locked down, do it my way, spying, expensive OS’s like MS and Apple. Linux just works. Linux gives me many options, Linux puts me in control.

    • > Linux will never have (…) the manufacturers building computers for it

      Your statement is imprecise. About ± 8% of advertised PCs for sale
      on HP, Dell and Lenovo websites have Linux pre-installed. On Amazon,
      it is about ± 10%.

      And they have started selling Linux PCs since 2008.


      • About ± 8% of advertised PCs for sale
        on HP, Dell and Lenovo websites have Linux pre-installed. On Amazon,
        it is about ± 10%.
        Thanks you make my point for me, 92-8. That is an advantage. 50/50 would no be an advantage for either OS.

  13. To the previous comments:” there’s always a solution, but for windows zombies, nothing will suffice.”
    I always wonder why Windows users spend so much time reading and commenting on Linux? I haven’t been on a Windows site in 20 years, when I switched to Linux. Why do they have to try to convince us Windows is better? You really have to wonder why? Insecurity?

  14. Windows, Apple and Linux desktop died long time ago. Modern desktops are just web application launchers.

    The web took the world by storm a decade ago.

    And even corner scenarios when lot, lot of power is needed is been conquered by modern and optimized webasm engines.
    I can play a modern flight simulator in my browser ( ) at 50 fps with no need to install anything or worrying about licences, security updates, … Comming back to the pre internet era in the post fiber optic internet makes little to no sense.

  15. . Vast majority of responses in such case is to ridicule the person instead of answering the question.

    That is completely untrue. I have used Linux for about 20 years and have ran into one forum like that, Debian. Many OS’s are totally geared to newbies. Like Zorin. One of the most helpful sites you could want to find. Also Ubuntu Mate. Great people many very knowledgeable and always very helpful. Some like Mint are also helpful, but having more users it is a bit harder to get an answer. When people don’t get help it is because of asking in a very rude manner. ” I spent two week on this stupid OS and it still doesn’t do what I want?” Do you think that will get you help anywhere. Every forum has a very informative post for new users, how to ask, what to ask, and what information is needed to get help. But people have to give information. WIFI won’t work. Well that isn’t going to get you much help either.

    I asked this before, if you are such a big fan of Windows, why do you wast so much time on Linux sites like linuxiac? I have not been on a Windows site since leaving Windows. Why would I, I don’t use it? Happy to hear from any Windows users here why they read Linux sites?

    • Q: `Happy to hear from any Windows users here why they read Linux sites?`
      A: To see what`s new around, you know, some people are curious.
      You don`t go outside often, do you?

      • No, I go outside a lot. I also read a lot of tech sites. Being curious is one thing, making comments running something down is another. What I don’t do is go on Windows sites and disparage Windows to people who like Windows. I hate Windows, but it seems a useless waste of time to do that. Not on that but it is very rude. If you are happy use what you like and what works for you. But you will never convince me Windows is better, no matter how hard you try, and I see no reason to try to convince you Linux is better if you are a Windows fan. Again, just a waste of time.

  16. Just think that almost all those cloud sites are running on Linux. not Windows or MacOS, or Android of what ever.

  17. With great confidence, we can talk about a number much higher than 3% Linux distributions are growing, I myself like to create in such a way that I would be unknown

  18. The main problem why Linux has not a bigger market share is political economy. Microsoft, Apple, Google and the like use their market power to keep control on the market. They buy their way through people’s computing (devices & software in schools/workplace; pre-installed software in devices, etc.). I understand that the focus of the free software community is on tech, but if the community doesn’t acknowledge the power of the political economy and the possible ways to steer this power towards a better outcome (namely via public support, regulation, law), they will always look for wrong problems and solutions for enabling free computing.

    • That is just conspiracy theory that is completely false.
      Truth is that people use operating system and brand name computer what they feel the most comfortable with. Vast majority of people for various reasons feel most comfortable and familiar using Windows while Mac people only trust Apple.
      Same like with the cars – advertising is everywhere by all car companies but people buy what they have money for and car brand name they think gives them the best value for that kind of money.

  19. If the entire world moved to Linux, this will not make it a happy freedom loving place.

    Rather, Linux would simply be taken over by corporate interests and the desktop will become like Tiktok.

    It would be nice if usage rose a tad to, say 5%, but I never want to see it above 10%.

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