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The state of Linux according to Google

This is a look at the state of Linux through the eyes of Google Trends, Google’s highly useful search trend analyzer.

The Linux distributions compared

Everyone says Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution, and boy does it become obvious when looking at it through Google’s eyes.

Linux distributions compared

With all the buzz, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Ubuntu is king, and while the other distributions are experiencing a downward trend, Ubuntu keeps growing. It’s also interesting to see that Red Hat is firmly at the bottom when comparing these five distributions.

(Google Trends only allows you to compare up to five different search terms, if you wonder why we didn’t include more.)

KDE or Gnome?

How about Linux desktop environments? KDE or Gnome, which one is more popular? Once again, let’s see what Google have to say.

KDE and Gnome compared

They’re pretty much equal in popularity, but it seems like KDE shows up a lot more in the news (the small graph at the bottom).

Linux beats Windows Vista

According to this comparison, Linux is actually beating Windows Vista. However, it appears that “Linux” as a search term is clearly on the decline.

Linux versus Windows Vista

And just to tie in with the initial trend graphs for Linux distributions, how does the popular Ubuntu fare against Windows Vista?

Windows Vista vs Ubuntu

An interesting observation from the last two graphs, if you combine them, is that “Ubuntu” may soon be a more common search term than “Linux”. That would be quite a feat…


Though looking at search statistics can never give a complete picture, this gives an interesting perspective to how things are going for Linux, especially when viewed through the eyes of such a dominant and pervasive search engine as Google.

Did we miss something blatantly obvious and should be shot on the spot? Tell us in the comments (but please don’t actually shoot us).

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