Kirkland: Over One Billion Ubuntu Users

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 23 December 2015 at 07:45 AM EST. 22 Comments
In response to my article this past weekend about It Doesn't Look Like Ubuntu Reached Its Goal Of 200 Million Users This Year, Dustin Kirkland of Canonical's Ubuntu Product and Strategy team has come out to say that number should be over one billion.

First of all, I welcome all constructive feedback on my articles. Dustin didn't like the article with my assumption that Ubuntu didn't reach 200 million users this year, a goal set out by Mark Shuttleworth back in 2011 at UDS Budapest. Dustin believes, "I bet there are over a billion people today, using Ubuntu -- both directly and indirectly. Without a doubt, there are over a billion people on the planet benefiting from the services, security, and availability of Ubuntu." However, this comes down to how Mark's goal was interpreted.

The way I -- and seemingly many others -- interpreted Mark's 200 million goal was 200 million users of Ubuntu on desktop/mobile/bare-metal-server/TV/etc. Something where Ubuntu is physically running on the device full-time and not say multiple VMs running off one machine. Back during UDS Budapest, most of the talks were desktop related. Back in 2011 when the goal was laid out, OpenStack was in its infancy and Ubuntu was preparing to roll out at its first technology preview of it.

For backing his billion count, Dustin pointed out that there have been millions of Ubuntu images launched by Docker, 20+ million instances of Ubuntu in clouds and bare metal installs in 2015, two million Ubuntu Cloud instances in 2015, and that Ubuntu can be found in Google's self-driving cars, robots, drones, and other unique cases.

For indirect users of Ubuntu, Dustin counts PayPal, Dropbox, Snapchat, Wikipedia, Instagram, Netflix, Uber, and other services that rely upon Ubuntu servers for powering their business.

Regardless of how Mark's goal from 2011 is interpreted, we can at least all agree that Ubuntu has a -- LOT -- of users. To see Dustin Kirkland's numbers from his perspective on a billion Ubuntu users, visit his blog.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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