Do Artists Use Ubuntu?

To celebrate the 500th member of the Ubuntu DeviantArt group. I’ve put together some stats for Operating System Use based on self stated use on profile pages:

Windows 7/Vista/XP – 410,000 (76.9%)
Mac – 87,700 (16.3%)
Ubuntu – 20,300 (3.7%)
Linux – 16,000 (3%)
Total: 533,300

These results were compiled by using a strict google search for deviantArt profile pages with the “Operating System: X” as a term. The number of found results were given as the size of the population. Windows and Ubuntu varients (XP/Vista/7) and (Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu) where folded in.

Kubuntu actually accounts for 25% (5k) of the artists who use Ubuntu. 5% use Lubuntu and Xubuntu with the rest saying they use just Ubuntu (not specifying).

Windows Vista and Windows 7 have equal populations with 100k each, 210k is left for windows xp users.

We have a long way to go to attract for artists and creators to Ubuntu and making the open source ecosystem of tools the creators choice for their work. Although these stats may not be reliable, only half a million users out of an estimated 9 million deviantArt users had specified what os they use on their profile page.

Note: Linux is a compound of “Linux”: 3,700, Slackware: 3,160, openSuSE: 2,970, Red Hat: 1,220, Debian: 937, Fedora: 344

Your thoughts?

27 thoughts on “Do Artists Use Ubuntu?

  1. Interesting that very few Fedora artists are using deviant art or do not want to mention using Fedora.

    [Note: that this is not a tribalism issue, but an important thing to note since Fedora has an active Community Art/Design Team]

    Looks like we have more artists in Ubuntu but are not really using their talents.

  2. Even though its self-selected I think stands up pretty well as a relative measure of interest. Thanks for explaining the details of the folding.


  3. Sorry in advance Martin but I’m going to give you some grief over terminology.

    Ubuntu isn’t an operating system…it is, more correctly, the Ubuntu distribution of GNU/Linux (or, if you prefer, GNU+Linux as Richard Stallman tends to term it) and, likewise Linux is merely the kernel used in GNU/Linux (GNU+Linux) operating systems and not an operating system in its own right. It would be much more correct, given the percentage of the whole due to GNU rather than Linux to abbreviate to GNU than to Linux.

    Please see for further details and corroboration of the above.

    It is important that we get these things right as we owe a huge, and continuing, debt to those who created and gave us GNU and those who continue to maintain and extend it. Were we to ignore the efforts of those who add directly to the GNU/Linux (GNU+Linux) distributions under the Canonical or Debian banners I have little doubt that there would be an outcry so PLEASE may we give equal respect and acknowledgement to the GNU projects?

    If any project is to attract, and to maintain, developer attention it needs to have the results of that attention be given due acknowledgement so these are important issues and I very firmly believe that we should take care to get the terminology right….I hope you do too.

  4. It could be in part along the same lines as Macs make things “easy”, so artists and people who don’t want to have to be technical, are going to be attracted to the easiest-to-use solution.

    Ubuntu is the easiest-to-use solution for Linux and with the breadth of free, open source tools it only comes natrually that it would be a larger portion of the Linux population.

    I am surprised, though, that openSUSE has a larger population than Fedora as Fedora does have an active Artistic team. Goes to show what I know .. 🙂

  5. Almost 7% use Linux – that’s more than I thought. Especially, since the pirated Adobe Collection doesn’t run under Linux. 😉

  6. Interesting, I would have expected the OS X numbers to be higher.

    I’m looking forward to StatOwl’s october OS share numbers now that Chromium and Epiphany have their useragents fixed on Ubuntu..

  7. @David: I respectfully disagree, you are correct that the Gnu project is owed a great debt but I’m in no mood to call any operating system Linux, Gnu/Linux or Gnu. Because it would be a lie. Ubuntu and other FreeDesktops are not Linux, they contain Linux. They are not Gnu but they contain Gnu. There is so much more to them which have nothing to do with either Gnu or Linux projects that it would be disingenuous to try and steal the glory from the larger Free Software community.

    We should _all_ be happy about the free software we use and celebrate the entire community not just a select few packages.

    Ubuntu is an operating system.

  8. @David: And I disagree as well. Stallman tried to years to get a GNU operating system running. It took Linus Torvald’s linux kernel to get the wheels started. Linus has said just call it Linux. Even though GNU claims they had an OS, has anyone seen it? No!

    Maybe your comments are why people don’t specify their OS? Who wants the religious crap of God Stallman and his disciples

  9. Don’t you think your listing “Ubuntu” and “Linux” separately are not good?

  10. Sorry, but you’re technically wrong. If you had separated, for instance “Debian” from “Linux” I would understand: after all you have Debian versions that aren’t running the Linux OS (for instance, ), but if you’re running Ubuntu you’re running Linux. So, regardless of what you call, it doesn’t make sense to have two separated items (Ubuntu and Linux), the same way it wouldn’t make sense for you to have:

    Windows (includes all versions) – xx%
    Windows 7 – yy%
    Mac – aa%
    GNU/Linux – zz%

  11. Mind & Aron: I don’t think it’s bad to list what I decide to list. Basically this is me deciding what to measure and your complaints so far are not good enough to make me feel I’ve made any sort of error in my choice.

  12. Are you claiming that Ubuntu is not “Linux”? Mind pointed out it looks like you are counting GNU/Linux distributions twice, with Ubuntu being the most popular (except the numbers don’t add up).

    You also don’t have an “undeclared” of “other” option listed. Were the users able to choose other OS’s like Plan 9, ReactOS, Free/Open/NetBSD, FreeDOS and Haiku? From your presentation of the results, it looks like they had to choose from a drop-down list. What was the default option (if any)?

  13. James: The users could type in anything at all into that profile field in deviantArt, I have no control over the terms used.

    All Ubuntu numbers are for Ubuntu alone, they’re not counted twice.

  14. Ubuntu is a Linux distribution. Fedora is a Linux Distribution. OpenSUSE is a Linux Distribution. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a distribution. Debian is a Linux Distribution.

    So why do you separate between Ubuntu and Linux in thsi way? Doesn’t make sense. And ever stronger way for your fanboyism would be to say:

    “almost 7% use Linux and mor than 60% of that is Ubuntu!”

    That would be factually correct and still allows you to show your fanatism about Ubuntu while not discriminating against other communities.

    Jan (Red Hat’s EMEA Evangelist for full disclosure)

  15. Jan Wildeboer: I could say that, but this is all bias on both our parts. I strongly disagree with calling Red Hat == Linux or Fedora == Linux. Linux is a kernel project and calling the entire community under the same branding is a lie that we must extract ourselves from. This community is full of all sorts of programs and packages not just the Linux kernel project.

  16. Interesting numbers. Thought this is only the number of those who choose to list their O.S., it’s interesting to compare against the usage share of in general:

    Again, though the numbers may not reflect reality, we probably don’t have any better info to go by. Putting the numbers together similarly, we get for the general usage:

    Windows 7/Vista/XP – 88.66% | Compare to 76.9%
    Mac – 6.82% (OS X) + 1.40% (iOS) | Compare to 16.3%
    Linux – 1.08%(general) + 0.34% (android) | Compare to 3.7% (Ubuntu) + 3% (Other Linux)

    I’d think we’d see the use of iOS and Android usage on DeviantArt increase as artists start using tablets based on Android or the iPad; I doubt there’s a large number who would primarily use their smartphones for art… 🙂

    Anyways, since the the numbers from DeviantArt are from self-selection, it would be hard to put much faith into them.

  17. If I was an deviantArt member, I would probably leave my OS undeclared. No 2 computers here are running the same OS. The router is actually running a non-GNU (busybox instead) floppy Linux distro called Freesco.

    Because the “OS” field is free-form, you risk missing a lot of OSs you have never heard about or unusual spellings. For example, I think you ignored the BSD variants.

    I am not exactly sure how you restricted the search to profile pages, but here are my results:
    Mac: 111000
    Win: 32000
    OS X: 10800
    OpenBSD: 2210
    DOS: 474
    FreeBSD: 99
    BeOS: 50
    BSD: 29
    NetBSD: 26
    Haiku: 7
    FreeDOS: 6
    ReactOS: 4
    Kittens: 1

    That last one appears to be a joke, I used that search term on a lark.

  18. More results (includes distrowatch top 10 not included above):

    “(All)”: 4,980,000
    GNU/Linux: 6,620
    GNU: 616 (why does that not include above?)
    Gentoo: 964
    Puppy: 620
    Sabayon: 313
    Arch: 312
    CentOS: 89
    Plan 9: 65 (includes comments)
    Mint: 61 (includes duplicates)
    PCLinuxOS: 37
    Emacs: 2 (Duplicated)
    Dragonfly: 1

  19. James: I would have done more searches, but after the 17 or so searches I did to get the search term right, google started blocking me accusing my computer fo sending automated attacks.

  20. Nick: Self selection is interesting because it can show you how much passion, want or pride you have in your product compared to the actual stats. If Ubuntu and other Free Desktop users have 600% more passion than Mac users, then we’ve got a lot of people who really like our work and would love to use our product. If only they could.

    Hearts and minds is just as important IMO.

  21. I believe that stats you gathered are highly unreliable.

    mac share ratio is much higher than usual — 16% compared to 6%

    linux share ratio is much higher than usual — 7% compared to 1…2%

    Couldn’t you just ask deviantart owners what’s the real deal with operating systems?

  22. Bastard: No, that’s currently not possible. And I didn’t say the stats were accurate or reliable. Just interesting.

  23. I use Linux for all my digital art work, which begins with paper drawing and digital camera images in most instances. The entire community that I correspond with uses Linux in preference (Ubuntu, but increasingly Fedora due to Ubuntu instability and Canonical’s politics). Most experimental digital art seems to be happening in Linux.

    Most artists I know display in physical form in galleries and on personally-managed web sites, not sites like DeviantArt, so your Linux count may actually be an underestimate.

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