Was just wondering if there is any solid data available as to how many people are using ubuntu. I was also interested in the attrition rate with ubuntu users, etc.

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    check here ubuntucounter.geekosophical.net Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 7:00
  • @VineetMenon that list is quite outdated... Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 7:25
  • @UriHerrera from where did u found out the dates? I can only see the launch dates. Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 7:30
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    I don't see why more people should not be using Ubuntu ... thanks to Ubuntu I was able to get rid of Windows Vista Basic that was running like molasses on my 2GB desktop and now I am so happy with Ubuntu I cant imagine using any other OS ... If only other people would venture out of their Windows "Shells" and try Ubuntu ... it just gets better and better with every new version Commented Jul 20, 2013 at 6:08
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    Related on Skeptics: Does Ubuntu have 40 million users?
    – unor
    Commented Feb 7, 2016 at 21:19

7 Answers 7


It is obviously not possible to provide solid data, since everyone can distribute Ubuntu for free (e.g. via a CD). Canonical (as one distributor) has therefore no way to know the exact number. (As a note: even companies like Microsoft might only know the number of legal owers of their software, but never the number of users).

What you can get are indicators of the number. You can estimate the percentage of Ubuntu users which are online with the default software configuration and multiply that by the number of registered website accesses that identify Ubuntu users, and multiply this by the percentage of those Ubuntu users who might have visited those websites.

Similar ways are applied in most estimates that you can read on somewhere on the internet. Often unique IP addresses are counted on security update repositories, but since I run an ubuntu server on strato, where all updates are always coming from strato servers, Canonical would never be able to include that server in any statistic. Also, since that server never browses on any websites, estimates from statcounter or similar will never track that installation. So again: no way to get to a solid number. Only estimates (and plenty of them)...

(I am very confident to say however, that we will have 200 million users in the next 4 years :-)


I think in most markets we're still around the 1-2% mark. People don't tend to like that stat. They want it to be 10% and try to swing sales stats around like they mean something, but I've made several logical arguments for ~1% on my blog.

Neither Canonical or Ubuntu counts its users. Downloads are not centralised by design so there's no way to count downloads. Because there aren't licenses there aren't sales to count and even if there were, we're dealing with free software. Downloads don't translate into installs or users. It could try a phone-home counter to do that but to but that would frankly be suicide (omgprivacy!), and there are still derivative users (Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, etc) who wouldn't be counted with an Ubuntu-only solution.

So while it's impossible to get exact numbers on these things, we can get some number from clients of various services. These give us a relative number (like 1%).

  • Web browsers give out their OS when they visit a site. There are problems with this data but if you look at the stats for the right website, most of the biases pale away. Here's a maintained collection of statistics from browsers.
  • Steam publishes hardware survey data which includes "OS Version". This is obviously geared to gaming so only really represents the percentage of Linux users in amongst Steam users.

According to the Ubuntu homepage at http://www.ubuntu.com/ there are at at least 20 million users that use Ubuntu every day. Las year Ubuntu estimated that there were around 12 million people that they "know" of. So its great to see such a big increase!

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    Where do they get 20 million from?
    – endolith
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 20:58

The figures for Ubuntu users worldwide in 2020 vary depending on the sources some of which are more up-to-date than others. Currently it's been estimated optimistically at about 100 million users.

  • So the answer stating 200 million users by the year 2015 was overly optimistic... Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 11:33
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    Can you cite some sources? Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 6:12
  • @WinEunuuchs2Unix: according to this source, the estimated number of Ubuntu users in 2015 was over 1 billion. Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 6:13
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    @DanDascalescu That's an absurd figure derived from how many users viewed a webpage or downloaded data from a server that is running Ubuntu Server even though they were running Windows, macOS or Android operating systems on their own devices. Most of these users used Ubuntu indirectly which was not what this question asked. The question that was asked is "How many Ubuntu users are there worldwide?" directly.
    – karel
    Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 6:29

In December 2015, this Ubuntu blog post by Dustin Kirkland, estimated there were over 1 billion Ubuntu users:

How many “users” of Ubuntu are there ultimately? I bet there are over a billion people today, using Ubuntu — both directly and indirectly. Without a doubt, there are over a billion people on the planet benefiting from the services, security, and availability of Ubuntu today.

  • "using Ubuntu — both directly and indirectly" might this not suggest that he includes webservers into that? That "people benefit from", by accessing webpages (regardless of what OS is on their computer)? Or if webservers are included, the number were higher?
    – Levente
    Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 9:57
  • Ah yes, that's karel's interpretation too: askubuntu.com/questions/80379/…
    – Levente
    Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 9:59

40M desktop users in 2015 according to ubuntu.com

https://insights.ubuntu.com/about/ (archive) said 40M on desktop on 2015 Q3

I could not find the methodology.

Mark was a bit too optimistic about the 200M in 2015, but we'll get there eventually.

  • Hey brother! The page is now dead, and the last archived version from 2017 said 40M users still. See also this Ubuntu blog post from December 2015, which estimated 1 billion users. Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 6:14
  • Hi @DanDascalescu ! :) Hmmm the page you pointed out says "billion people today, using Ubuntu — both directly and indirectly", so I wonder what he counts as "indirectly", e.g. is he counting "people who accessed a website that runs on Ubuntu" (feels likely), while for "How many Ubuntu users are there worldwide?" I'd expect "How many people run Ubuntu on desktop/CLI directly". Anyways, fun fact. Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 9:08
  • @DanDascalescu That blog post refers to "indirect users" which is an artificial and misleading concept in the context of this question, not direct Ubuntu users who are people who actually use the Ubuntu operating system. It's artificial because it lets you say that anyone who owns an iPhone is an Ubuntu user. It's misleading because it not true that anyone who owns an iPhone is an Ubuntu user. Indirect users could be actually using any operating system such as Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, etc. and the asker of this question is not asking about any of these non-Ubuntu operating systems.
    – karel
    Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 9:23

There's a website, called, "The Linux Counter," where you can register as a Linux user and also register the information about your system.

When I am posting this answer 39,506 machines registered for ubuntu distro.

No mailing lists or anything, it seems, if you choose to register. Once you register, you get a cool little Linux logo, showing you as a registered Linux user, with your registered user number.

From the website, you can see a breakdown by country, state and city, as to how many registered Linux users there are in each place. Also, you can see how long Linux boxes have been up without a reboot.

These are my details :

Registered Linux User #501089
Registered Ubuntu User #30648

Registered Linux user

There is another site which allows to register Ubuntu users separately. I am 30648th Ubuntu user. Currently the ubuntu counter website is offline.

  • It shown only users who registered, not real users. So it's probably one of most not precise methods.
    – Jurosh
    Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 20:03

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