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    Elsewhere it’s been pointed out that these numbers are weird. Some percents that used to add up to 100% now add up to 150%. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34131216.

    I didn’t notice the exact problem, but when I first saw the sequence 23.2% , 25.6% , 26.6% , 25.3%, 40.23%, I immediately thought “that’s an astonishingly big jump.”

    If you divide 40.23% by 1.5, you get 26.82%, which would indicate a continued small increase following the last few years’ trend, not a huge increase. Without more analysis, I don’t know if that “correction” is reasonable or not, but it is intriguing.

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      Linux as a primary operating system had been steadily climbing for the past 5 years. 2018 through 2021 saw steady growth with 23.2% , 25.6% , 26.6% , 25.3% , and finally in 2022 the usage was 40.23%

      the growth is 23.2% , 25.6% , 26.6% , 25.3% , as such the usage was multiplied by 1.232, 1.256, 1.266, 1.253

      the market share eventually reached 40.23% in 2022

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        And a good thing to bear in mind - these stats are from StackOverflow, i.e, developers. General usage is still super low overall, which is expected.

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          i was wrong

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            The numbers 23.2, 25.6 & 26.6 link to:

            https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2018#technology-_-developers-primary-operating-systems https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2019#technology-_-developers-primary-operating-systems https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2020#technology-developers-primary-operating-systems

            Which show that those numbers are not growth but the percentage of users using linux in each year (2021 uses some weird format, and the link doesn’t work).

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              i was wrong

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            Good catch. That is questionable

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            Uh oh. What’s going to be the next frontier? Linux with updates on a mobile phone?

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              My GrapheneOS phone is running pure open source code (modulo firmware and some drivers), and had 6 updates during the month of December. That’s typical. I have Linux kernel security updates that aren’t available in stock Android yet. In general, GrapheneOS has the best security in the industry. Other mobile OSes are lame by comparison.

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                Linux with updates on a mobile phone?

                Uh… Android?

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                  Aren’t 97% of android phones running OS versions from the 1850s? Has that situation meaningfully improved in the last 5 years?

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                    It’s improving steadily. Initiatives like Project Treble and APEX are helping decrease the friction of upgrades on the OEM side, and higher end devices are seeing longer support periods than before, albeit still not on par with what Apple can guarantee.

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                      Will this help with OEMs abandoning security updates? My three-year-old phone with no issues for my usage is now no longer receiving updates, but a ten-year-old laptop runs the latest software just fine.

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                      If we assume that Android is to “Vendor” as Linux is to “Distro”, then it’s not a big leap to assume that we’ll never get to the point where every vendor/distro maintains modern versions. For example, one of my retired routers runs a Linux distro from early 2010s with no more updates, and Peloton runs an Android version from maybe 5 years ago?

                      Globally, there are tons of low-end phones and devices (especially in low-budget regions) whose vendors simply don’t prioritize updates.

                      On the other hand, there certainly are Android vendors who offer more aggressive and long-term upgrade paths: Pixel and Samsung come to mind, both offer 5 years of updates.

                      There are also lots of Android phones that are trivial to root and install your own open source distro like GrapheneOS or LineageOS, and maintain updates indefinitely (as long as the OSS projects survive). Sony Xperia is one I’ve used for that.

                      I don’t think we’ll ever see Android reach the same global percentage of up-to-date devices as iOS, at least unless iOS is someday commonly deployed on low-cost third-party hardware. If you segment on a per-vendor basis (Samsung, Pixel, etc), the numbers aren’t bad.

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                      I said with updates :-)

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                        My Fairphone receives monthly updates

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                          Now we just have to get everyone running Android a fairphone. :)

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                            The galaxy S21 my work gave me also gets monthly updates. I think the situation has improved lately

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                      Check out SailfishOS. A mobile Linux OS usable as daily driver since 2013

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                      I’m rooting for anything open source on the desktop but some of this unbridled optimism is, I believe, misguided.

                      I use both Docker (well, Podman) on macOS and WSL2 on Windows. I like both of them for exactly the same reason: they let me have Linux without the desktop parts, so I can spend more time working on things and less time trying to figure out why the same shell (Plasma) allows me to drag any number of folders to the panel one after another on X11 but not on Wayland. I use “Linux on the desktop” the same way I use “Amiga on the desktop”: only the fun subset that works under UAE.

                      The Steam Deck uses a lot of stock, open Linux components, but much of its userbase still uses it as a specialised machine. It’s not like Plasma on the deck doesn’t have the same set of bugs it has on other computers – it’s just that, given its more restricted usage patterns, you’re less likely to stumble into them.

                      The caveats of statistics aside, lots of workflows have also shifted in terms of technology. Office 365, for example, made the lack of a good native word processor and a good native file manager irrelevant for many users. The flipside is that the mechanism of this shift was one of negative action: Office 365 is just as slow, and just as bad at managing large heaps of documents on Windows, Linux, Android and macOS. It makes the choice of the underlyling environment less relevant and more amenable to price-based competition, where Linux is obviously really good. But it doesn’t mean much in terms of actual development – LibreOffice, Nautilus, whatever KOffice is named this year, and Dolphin are still quirky and weird.

                      If this is, indeed, the year of Linux on the desktop, we should remember that it happened in good part because commercial behemoths saw less opportunity for growth in providing good desktops elsewhere, so both Windows and macOS were neglected long enough to degrade to the point that they’re not much better than Linux. It’s still a dumpster fire, it’s just that the abandoned thrash from the big office building across the street has piled up for long enough it’s starting to ignite. That’s not a win, it’s still smelly and flamable.

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                        Yeah, strongly agree, “Linux on the Desktop” should mean “your desktop is running linux”, not “your windows machine has docker on it”.

                        “Your windows machine has docker on it” feels much more like a point for linux on the server than linux on the desktop. WSL and Docker on Windows are really linux as a service more than anything else. Counting them is a weird inflation.

                        I am however, willing to argue that the steam deck is linux on the desktop, even if it is really more of an appliance than desktop computer.

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                        The numbers can’t really be compared to prior years, as others have pointed out, due to a change in the survey design.

                        But, why are so many developers encountering Linux in their day to day lives even if they aren’t running Linux as their main workstation OS?

                        • For Windows developers, it’s the rise of WSL. Windows was always missing a great UNIX shell and now WSL provides it in spades.

                        • For macOS developers, it’s native support for Linux VMs & containers as well as the rise of M1/arm. These two trends make it so that macOS’s BSD heritage and local terminal is a less comparatively useful proxy for local development (vs just running a local VM or container running Linux, which is now easy enough, and fast), whereas perhaps in past years the BSD heritage was good enough to e.g. run Python, Ruby, or Node.

                        • For all developers, Linux is the standard deployment environment in the cloud, whether you are using Amazon EC2 or Google GCE or something else like DigitalOcean. Even developers running Linux workstations find a need to virtualize and containerize Linux environments.

                        • For all developers, IDEs have gotten better at working with remote Linux machines, or local containers. See VSCode “Remote” extension, and private networking tools like Wireguard, Tailscale, ZeroTier.

                        • Finally, Linux has showed up in a lot of “long tail” hardware use cases, such as Raspberry Pi, Android, NAS devices, Steam Deck, etc.

                        So I wouldn’t really call 2022 the year of the Linux “desktop”, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Linux is the “#1 #2 operating system”. That is, it’s not the OS everyone runs on their workstation, but it is the OS everyone runs in their workstation, from their workstation, or around their workstation. It’s the closest thing developers have to a “standard development & deployment OS” even while their workstations and desktop environments fracture on Windows/Mac/LinuxDistro lines. And if a developer has a homelab server or a favorite remote development VM, it is almost certainly running Linux and accessed via ssh.

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                          Year of Linux on the Desktop is for people who can’t stop navel gazing at their own setup.

                          Linux on the desktop has been viable for quite sometime, well before 2022. Rename this belief to “Year that Linux Was Arguably Trendy Enough”.

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                            Agree. I once said something similar.

                            Year of Linux desktop is only when non technical people have Linux on their desktop. Until then it is year of Linux desktop only for a subset of us.


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                            I don’t trust StackOverflow.

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                              Why not?

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                                Personally I prefer my stack not overflowed

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                              Amazing, I wonder what caused the sudden jump?

                              I moved from OSX to Ubuntu + Gnome in 2016, then Arch + Gnome a few years later and then Arch + Sway recently. Been very pleased with the overall experience. Running all this on a €900 Lenovo Yoga with AMD Ryzen 7 and it blows my previous MacBook (which was more than 3x as expensive) out of the water on all fronts.

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                                It’s simply because it’s not the same initial question from previous years.

                                In the past, you could only select one main OS, while in 2022 you could select more than one.

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                                  I wonder what caused the sudden jump?

                                  I have two bets, WSL2 getting really usable with working GUI, and Steam Deck.

                                  I’m running NixOS on Ryzen 7 5850U, with Gnome.

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                                    I also agree, WSL isn’t exactly “Linux desktop”.

                                    Anyway, next year I’ll gonna contribute in the other direction, the new company offers me either windows or Mac, so count one Linux less :(

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                                      Both run full screen Linux VMs quite well ;⁠) I’m actually not joking. VMware if you can pay or something like utm https://mac.getutm.app/ works great.

                                      This of course assumes you’re not bound by some os specific tools, but if there’s a win/Mac choice, that’s unlikely.

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                                    I wonder too, it’s a really big jump. Perhaps people gave up on their COVID sourdough starters and started a Linux install instead?