Pingdom Home

US + international: +1-212-796-6890

SE + international: +46-21-480-0920

Business hours 3 am-11:30 am EST (Mon-Fri).

Do you know if your website is up right now? We do! LEARN MORE

Linux popularity across the globe

The Linux landscape is constantly changing and has a strong community of both developers and users. But where is Linux the most popular, and where are the different Linux distributions the most popular?

To try to answer these questions, we have looked at data from Google with the highly useful Insights for Search, which gave us a number of interesting and often surprising results.

Aside from just looking at Linux itself, we have included eight common Linux distributions in this survey: Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Fedora, Debian, Red Hat, Mandriva, Slackware and Gentoo.

(We use both Ubuntu and Red Hat here at Pingdom, so of course we had to include those two!)

How we determined popularity

To have a way to judge popularity, we have looked at where a specific search term is most popular, i.e. how likely it is for someone in a region (country or state) to search for that specific term, for example “Linux” or “Ubuntu”. Google calls this “regional interest”.

If a high proportion of the searches in a country are for the term “Linux”, this should also indicate that Linux is popular in that country, or at least that there is a high interest in Linux.

Linux popularity globally

On a global level, the interest in Linux seems to be the strongest in India, Cuba and Russia, followed by the Czech Republic and Indonesia (and Bangladesh, which has the same regional interest level as Indonesia). The first Western country when looking at regional popularity is Germany which is the 10th country in regards to search popularity for Linux.

Linux popularity map

Linux popularity in the United States

In the United States, interest appears significantly stronger in Utah and California than the rest of the country. California’s high position is understandable, considering it is the home of Silicon Valley, but we are not sure why the interest for Linux is even higher in Utah. Perhaps some of our readers might shed some light on this?

Linux popularity map USA

You can dig deeper into Google’s search statistics for Linux here.

Global popularity of the different Linux distributions

As mentioned in the introduction, we looked at eight common distributions: Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Fedora, Debian, Red Hat, Mandriva, Slackware and Gentoo.

Some interesting observations
  • Ubuntu is most popular in Italy and Cuba.
  • OpenSUSE is most popular in Russia and the Czech Republic.
  • Red Hat is most popular in Bangladesh and Nepal.
  • Debian is most popular in Cuba.
  • Cuba is in the top five (interest-wise) of three of the eight distributions in this survey.
  • Indonesia is in the top five of four of the distributions.
  • Russia and the Czech Republic are in the top five of five of the distributions.
  • The United States is not in the top five of any of the distributions.

Note again that when we say “popular” here, we mean how popular the search term is. After all, this is based on Google search data.

It might also be worth pointing out that the results are normalized, so the size of each region is removed as a factor. In other words, everything is in proportion to the size of the region (the total number of searches in that region, we assume). That means that larger regions are not favored over small, as would be the case otherwise.

Now on to the results for the individual Linux distributions.

Ubuntu

Ubuntu popularity map

Countries with highest interest in Ubuntu:

  1. Italy
  2. Cuba
  3. Indonesia
  4. Norway
  5. Czech Republic

Dig deeper into Google’s search statistics for Ubuntu here.

OpenSUSE

OpenSUSE popularity map

Countries with highest interest in OpenSUSE:

  1. Russia
  2. Czech Republic
  3. Moldova
  4. Germany
  5. Indonesia

Dig deeper into Google’s search statistics for OpenSUSE here.

Fedora

Fedora popularity map

Countries with highest interest in Fedora:

  1. Sri Lanka
  2. Bangladesh
  3. India
  4. Nepal
  5. Zimbabwe

Dig deeper into Google’s search statistics for Fedora here.

Debian

Debian popularity map

Countries with highest interest in Debian:

  1. Cuba
  2. Czech Republic
  3. Germany
  4. Belarus
  5. Russia

Dig deeper into Google’s search statistics for Debian here.

Red Hat

Red Hat popularity map

Countries with highest interest in Red Hat:

  1. Bangladesh
  2. Nepal
  3. Sri Lanka
  4. India
  5. Cuba

Dig deeper into Google’s search statistics for Red Hat here.

Mandriva

Madriva popularity map

Countries with highest interest in Mandriva:

  1. Russia
  2. Czech Republic
  3. Poland
  4. France
  5. Indonesia

Dig deeper into Google’s search statistics for Mandriva here.

Slackware

Slackware popularity map

Countries with highest interest in Slackware:

  1. Bulgaria
  2. Indonesia
  3. Brazil
  4. Russia
  5. Poland

Dig deeper into Google’s search statistics for Slackware here.

Gentoo

Gentoo popularity map

Countries with highest interest in Gentoo:

  1. Russia
  2. Czech Republic
  3. Belarus
  4. Moldova
  5. Estonia

Dig deeper into Google’s search statistics for Gentoo here.

Conclusion

Linux has a lot of distributions (though Ubuntu is currently dominating the scene according to Distrowatch), but although we only included eight of those distributions it seems clear that many of them are favored by very different regions of the world. In other words, the distribution of the distributions (pardon the pun) is far from uniform.

In general, Linux seems to have a stronger popularity in the East than in the West, with some exceptions (like Cuba). This is perhaps not surprising, considering that it is free software and many of the countries where Linux is most popular have a relatively low income per capita compared to most countries in the West. Or perhaps there is just a stronger focus on free software and Open Source in these regions.

This could also indicate a weaker standing for Windows in the East.

We would love to hear your opinion on the results, especially from Linux users living in the countries mentioned in this survey. Let us know what you think in the comments!