Red Hat Software Inc’s Bob Young estimates there are now 7.5 million Linux users worldwide, excluding those with free downloads. His low estimate for 1997 is 4.35 million, the high a whopping 10 million, compared with a mean of 3.5 million in 1996, 1.5 million in 1995 and 0.5 million in 1994. In reaching the […]
Red Hat Software Inc’s Bob Young estimates there are now 7.5 million Linux users worldwide, excluding those with free downloads. His low estimate for 1997 is 4.35 million, the high a whopping 10 million, compared with a mean of 3.5 million in 1996, 1.5 million in 1995 and 0.5 million in 1994. In reaching the number, sure to provoke some controversy in the close-knit Linux community, Young says he didn’t use numbers from the well-known net-based Linux counters, sales of Linux CDs (he estimates US Linux suppliers shipped 750,000 units in 1997, up from 450,000 units sold in 1996), ftp downloads, or information from the currently-running internet based RSA Security DES Challenge II. In order to try to beat the RSA DES Challenge II, distributed.net is using computers’ idle processing time all over the world. The statistics recording which operating systems the volunteers’ computers were running are: Win32 (95/NT) – 111,788,489; MacOS – 48,878,795; Linux – 29,834,793; Solaris – 21,619,282, which Young says is interesting if not very conclusive. His survey did use magazine surveys, evidence from its own customer base, Linux journals and Datapro’s 1997 Unix and NT survey which says Linux has jumped from being the seventh most commonly installed version of Unix in the survey sample to being the fourth most commonly installed, behind Solaris, HP-UX, and AIX. Young’s study was prepared as a paper for January ’97’s Usenix conference.
Rival Linux company Caldera Inc told us a couple of weeks ago (CI No 3,357), there could not be five million Linux users because it had sold fewer than 100,000 copies, buy Young says Caldera’s products depend on proprietary binary-only add-ons that are only available from Caldera and ship with a single user license. So when they say they have less than 100,000 users they are not kidding (except for some illegal copies that might have been installed). By the way, Caldera’s 100,000 CD-ROMs compare to our sales of over 600,000 copies in the same period. Young says Red Hat, Slackware and other Linux shifters don’t depend on proprietary code, meaning any customer is able to install a copy of Red Hat Linux on as many computers as he can put his hands on without so much as bending a copyright law. Red Hat ships proprietary tools such as the Bru Back-up software which is licensed for only one machine, but says Red Hat Linux is not way dependent on that. Young expects to sell over 400,000 of Red Hat this year.