Linux Desktop Market Share Steady at 0.8-3.5% In July 2020

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Numbers from the American outfit Netmarketshare indicate that the Linux laptop and desktop market share nearly tripled between March and June 2020 while the Linux market share number from Valve's Steam store remained steady around 0.8%. The numbers for July are out and they show close to zero change between June and July 2020. The discrepancy remains.

written by 林慧 (Wai Lin) 2020-08-04 - last edited 2020-08-16. © CC BY

Linux market share fell from 3.61% in June to 3.57% in July according to data.

We previously reported that data from netmarketshare would have Linux desktop market share nearly tripling between March and June 2020. That level of quarterly growth, if continued, would result in a 100% Linux desktop market share by the middle of 2021.

The Steam hardware survey has, in contrast, not shown any Linux market share growth in 2020. Linux desktop market share has remained steadily below 1% at around 0.8-0.9% the entire year according to the Steam data.

This rather large gap between the Steam data and the Netmarketshare data continues in July with one minor difference: The Netmarketshare data did not show any Linux market share growth in July. Their story is that Linux desktop market share fell from 3.61% to 3.57% (essentially unchanged) between June and July 2020. The Steam market data shows a 0.02% reduction to 0.86% (essentially unchanged) during that same period.

There is a big difference between 0.86% and 3.57%.

It could be that the Netmarketshare is correct and not some kind of mistake. It is possible that a lot of computer-savvy people who wanted to try Linux but never had time got time to try Linux due to the way many countries handled recent global health issues. And it could be that those very same people are not interested in playing games, which would explain why overall Linux desktop market share nearly tripled while the Steam numbers remain stagnant. It is also possible that the Netmarketshare are plain wrong.

It is interesting that the Netmarketshare claims that there are 2.625 times as many GNU/Linux desktop users today as there were in March regardless of how accurate their data really is. We will definitively keep an eye on both the netmarketshare operating system market share data the steam hardware survey data in the future.

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