Linux desktop global market share: Where’s SA?

A few years ago the South African government was one of the global leaders in promoting open source software. Its support for open source software extended all the way to the Cabinet, where it was agreed that open source software such as Linux was preferable to proprietary software.

So what happened? If a recent report listing the top 20 Linux using countries is anything to go by, “not much”, is the answer.

According to statistics gathered by by website monitoring service Pingdom, Linux desktop use in Africa is well under the global average and while a few African countries do feature in the top 20, South Africa is not one of them.

Globally, the report suggests, Linux is used on just 0.76% of desktop PCs. In Africa that number is 0.45% with Zimbabwe (3.15%) and Mozambique (2.93%) leading the way. Those two countries are listed at position four and five respectively in Pingdom’s top 20 list. Uganda is also on the list at number seven, Ethiopia at eight and Kenya at nine. Also in the top 20 are Tanzania, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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The continental leader as far as Linux adoption goes is Europe, which has an apparent Linux install base of 1.14%. Second place goes to South America with 0.88%.

South America’s strong showing is largely due to Cuba, which has embraced Linux with gusto – 6.33% desktop Linux adoption. Linux is also extremely popular in other South American nations with Venezuela and Uruguay taking up position two and three respectively in the top 20 list.

In Europe the top Linux countries, in order, are: Macedonia, Finland, Spain, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Estonia and Germany. Macedonia occupies position number six with 2.8% Linux share while Germany’s 1.26% is good enough for position 19.

Interestingly, the neither the US nor the UK feature in the top 20. The US’s 0.73% is almost equal with the global average, but is still a long way behind position 20 which is occupied by India with 1.26% Linux share.

Pingdom’s report is based on StatsCounter’s numbers. Using those numbers, South African Linux adoption is around 1.13%, well above the global average, but not nearly high enough to make the top 20.

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Linux desktop global market share: Where’s SA?