This article is from the Frequently Asked Questions for Linux, the Free/Open Source UNIX-like operating system kernel that runs on many modern computer systems. Maintained by David C. Merrill with numerous contributions by others. (v1.0).
A: Linux is freely available, and no one is required to register with any central authority, so it is difficult to know. Several businesses survive solely on selling and supporting Linux. Linux newsgroups are some of the most heavily read on Usenet. Accurate numbers are hard to come by, but the number is almost certainly in the millions.
However, people can register as Linux users at the Linux Counter project, which has been in existence since 1993. In May of 2003 the project counted more than 134,000 users, but that is certainly only a small fraction of all users. The operator of the Linux Counter estimated 18 million users, as of May 2003.
Visit the Web site at http://counter.li.org/ and fill in the registration form.
The current count is posted monthly to news:comp.os.linux.misc, and is always available from the Web site.
[Harald Tveit Alvestrand]
A: In 1999, International Data Corporation released its first commercial forecast of Linux sales. The report quantifies Linux vendor sales in 1996, 1997, and 1998, and forecasts through the year 2003.
To obtain the report, contact IDC at firstname.lastname@example.org. Their Web site is http: //www.itresearch.com/.