Friday Fun: Linux OS Market Share by Twibbon

Posted on Friday, July 24, 2009 by Erlik

One of the big problem of Linux is that it is difficult to estimate its market share. Web metrics give vastly different numbers based on the methodology used: from 2.11% for W3counter to 0.99% for Netstats. I thus propose a fun way to gauge the relative importance of Operating Systems: by Twibbon.

What the hell is a Twibbon?

A Twibbon is a little logo that you can add to your Twitter profile image to show your support to a cause, country, browser or operating system? You can have a look at my Twitter profile for an example. On the Twibbon website you can see how many Twitter users support the same cause as you, and thus conclude how important it is. Why only count Twitter users? Because Twitter is in with the hip people, anybody who is or will be somebody is on Twitter. These are the influencers, the people that matter! So without further ado let's see how the Twibbon numbers compare:

As of 23 July 2009 the Twibbon score for each operating system are:

I'm Linux: 94 supporters
I'm a PC: 124 supporters
I'm a Mac: 476 supporters
I use iPhone: 16 supporters

As you can see the most popular operating system is by far MacOSX followed by Microsoft Windows and Linux. The iPhone does not yet have many supporters, but I expect this to grow. Just for fun let's translate this into percentages and compare with the Netstat numbers:

Linux: 13% Twibbon market share, 1% Netstat market share
Windows: 17% Twibbon market share, 88% Netstat market share
MacOS: 67% Twibbon market share, 10% Netstat market share
iPhone: 2% Twibbon market share, 0.6% Netstat market share

This is absolutely not scientific of course, but it indicative of something: despite it's huge market share Windows does not seems to have lot of fans. If Netstats's numbers were actually correct (I doubt they are) and Windows was generating has much enthusiasm as MacOS it should have 4189 supporters. It should have 8272 supporters if it had the same level of support as Linux.

What this shows is that Windows is currently coasting on its past market share gains and on its dominance in the enterprise and the retail channel. If the young hip Twitter generation of today had shaped the computing landscape it would be vastly different from the one we know. Most of these don't seem to find Windows very interesting, but are willing to support MacOS or Linux.

In the end this is not much more that a bit of Friday fun, but maybe it is cause for a bit worry at Microsoft's headquarters and a bit of rejoicing in Cupertino and in Linux Land.

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3 Responses to "Friday Fun: Linux OS Market Share by Twibbon":

Mark says:

Actually all it proves is this: Mac users are the least worried about their twitter icons being messed with. ;-)

run Ubuntu 8.10 but I already have the band on my logo to support cancer research.

admin says:

Erlik, thanks for this great application of Twibbon stats! We've actually used this example in one of our recent blogs -

Great stuff,

The Twibbon Team,

Max says:

Nice stuff, but as you said, we can't take this seriously. There are lots of other things you don't take into account. Like how well known twibbon is among Twitter users, or how much are people willing to show their support to their OS.

The numbers you give here say that twibbon is not yet very famous (if we compare them to the overall number of Twitter users) and I think Linux and Mac users tend to show their support a lot more than Windows users (who afterall, simply use the same OS as everyone else).