Linux Counter

The Linux Counter was a website which attempted to measure (ultimately via statistics) the number of people using the Linux operating system, along with the number of machines those users use. The counter was run by a nonprofit membership organization called the Linux Counter Project. The organization was created on 1 May 1999, taking over the running of the counter from Harald Tveit Alvestrand, who had been running the project since 1993.

Linux Counter
OwnerLinux Counter Project
Alexa rank354,970
Launched1 May 1999 (1999-05-01)
Current statusEnded 2018-12-10; ran for 19 years

In 2011, it was taken over by Christin Löhner, who did a complete rewrite of the code.

On 10 December 2018, Christin announced that the project would end, citing lack of time and user interest.[1]

Purpose of Linux Counter

The Linux Counter was started "for fun" with the goal to estimate the number of Linux users there are worldwide. The project invited users to register themselves as being a Linux user and then used various statistical heuristics to estimate the number of Linux users who did not register and the total number of Linux users worldwide. The project initially tracked the number of Linux users, but later extended to statistics on Linux users, the machines they use, software they use and in what part of the world Linux users actually lived.

A second purpose of the Linux Counter was to help Linux users to find each other. The Linux Counter was reporting Linux users in almost any place in the world. If Linux users set their information to be public, one could easily find those users; Linux users could, for example, find other Linux users who lived somewhere near them.

Attention paid to the Counter

At the time when Linux first burst into the limelight (around 1999), there were quite a few news articles about the Linux Counter, including three Slashdot articles[2][3][4] (the first two of which caused so much interest that it overloaded the counter). Linux Today reported how Microsoft Austria used the site for spamming Linux users;[5] the counter kept a list of press references, occasionally updated.[6]

New Linux Counter

As of 2011 the original Linux Counter has been superseded by a new and re-written version, by Christin Löhner[7] (formerly Mieland), which has since been Slashdotted.[8]

Sometimes in December 2018 the project closed.[9]

End of project

On 10 December 2018, Christin made a post on her personal blog announcing that she would no longer maintain the project, due to lack of time, lack of help and lack of interest as indicated by few to no new registrations or machines.[1]

See also


  1. "The Linuxcounter project is closed". Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  2. "Linux Counting Projects". Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  3. "Linux Counter Part 2". Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  4. "Linux Counter Hits 120,000". Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  5. "Big Brother Award Winner: Microsoft". Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  6. "The Linux Counter Project in the international press". Archived from the original on 16 June 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
  7. "English explanation". Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  8. "The Linux Counter Relaunches". Retrieved 2011-09-10.
  9. Last "alive" page archived December 6, 2018
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