Are People Losing Interest in Linux?

Are People Losing Interest in Linux?: Linux is slowly but surely losing popularity. That is according to Google Trends, a well-known tool from Google Labs that shows the most popularly searched terms from the beginning of 2004 up to present. The graph below shows the downward curve of searches for the "linux" keyword:

Should Linux users, lovers and enthusiasts like us be miserable about this? --I don't think we should be.

My theory is that people are becoming more aware and well-informed about Linux nowadays and doesn’t depend much on Google. They already know what sites to visit when they needed news or information on Linux. Another factor to consider is the popularity of Ubuntu and other Linux distributions. People now are more specific (they don’t just type the keyword ‘linux’) when searching for data regarding their favorite distros. Social bookmarking could also be another key reason for this descending trend. More and more people are relying on Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon and other social bookmarking sites in discovering articles, blogs, and just about anything related to Linux or any other subject matter.

Same thing is also happening to Microsoft (as shown above), but not Apple. Apple is steadily going upwards, and its Google search volume is now equal to that of Linux. But why is Linux sliding sharply more than Microsoft? Are people really losing interest in Linux? Is Google Trends reliable enough? And is it really a measure of a subject’s popularity?

Let me know your thoughts!


  1. Run the same time-frame for Lnux vs. Ubuntu, and I thik you'll find out where those searches went. Ubuntu is way up over the same time frame.

    So in some way, people ARE losing interest in Linux: They've just replaced the interest with a specific distro.

  2. Yep. Try Ubuntu and you will be surprised.

    I love Fedora, so that's too bad for me :'(

  3. I have seen a drop in Linux interest. Personally as well, I find myself getting frustrated and rebooting into XP a lot now. In fact, it's getting to where I first boot into XP for any serious work since Ubuntu is so unreliable.

    I'm not alone, either. I've seen more and more posts on Digg about how people are trying Ubuntu or FC and then switching...back. I think XP is ugly and incredibly boring. But I'll pick boring over unreliable anyday.

    I love Linux as an idea. And as a server platform, it's rock solid. But most of the stuff I want to do on the desktop in Linux is just unreliable. Gnome is slow, Beryl crashes and reboots my laptop, wireless is a joke and applications are a mixed bag.

  4. Ubuntu and I WISH Someone would figure out to say Kbuntu I do not like Gnome are stealing the search show. Linux isn't Searched so much. We look at since Susan Linton does such a good job of searching. (And standing in at Distrowatch ) Naturally I want to see a new distro who searches google I look at distrowatch. Never mind Free Software Mag. What do I look for?

    I search openSuSE forums and ubuntu forums using on site tools.

  5. @kuriharu it's just Fedora since 7, not Fedora Core :)

  6. I used Ubuntu for 4 years, but it pissed me off so much I finally switched to Windows 7, and am not going back any time soon. I think Vista drove people to Linux as an alternative, but when they realized it doesn't work any better, they waited for Windows 7.

  7. People who use linux are usually more knowledgeable in IT than the average windows/mac user. Therefore a lot of linux users no longer use google due to the filtered search results and privacy concerns.

  8. Ubuntu is a pain in the butt, in fact most gnome dists are. KDE is improving massively especially openSuse. It has a beautiful desktop once configured. I love the eyecandy like wobbly windows and scale features. Wireless has improved massively on opensuse 12.1 also. I agree, linux users tend to stay away from google.