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#1 2024-03-29 21:34:37

Alexander Schwinn
Member
Registered: 2016-03-26
Posts: 7

Estimate the total number of Xfce users

Recently, my wife asked me how many people actually do use the software, which I develop / spend so much of my free time (mostly thunar)

So far I really never thought about that question. Based on the number of people which file bugs and are active in IRC (maybe 200?), the wild guess I answered to her was "I have no idea ... maybe between 2000 and 10.000 people". (It seems like I was very wrong)

The question nagged me, so when I arrived at home, I did some research. I know, nobody can tell such numbers for sure ... it's all about number of package downloads, OS reported by browsers which visit a specific website, and other more or less biased data gathering.

Ubuntu does collect some user-data, so I thought it might be a good starting point for my estimation:

According to this post, there are ~40 Mio Ubuntu Users

According to this post 15% of them do use Xubuntu

--> 6 Million Xubuntu users (holy crap)

According to e.g. this post ~33% of Linux desktop users do use a Ubuntu based distro.

--> ~120 Million Linux Desktop Users in total
--> Considering a rather conservative 10% Xfce Users on Non-Ubuntu Systems --> another 8Mio

That would be 14 Million Xfce Users /o\

Actually, I can't believe in these numbers ... if so many people are using Xfce, I would expect much more activity on the IRC/matrix channels, bug reports / forum, etc.

Can it be true? Do most of these people never interact with the community? Maybe I did some silly mistake ? Maybe the Ubuntu numbers are crap ?

I am thinking about to write a Xfce forum post about that, though I first wanted to get some more opinions ... so any hint would be welcome !

Last edited by Alexander Schwinn (2024-03-30 20:11:30)

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#2 2024-03-29 22:06:24

ToZ
Administrator
From: Canada
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 11,106

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

First of all Alexander, thank you very much for all you do for Xfce. Under your guidance, thunar has really matured as a file manger.

Your calculations for usage are probably as accurate as anything we can get, barring using some form telemetry in Xfce to count actual users (consider the outcry that would create).

Actually, I can't believe in these numbers ... if so many people are using Xfce, I would expect much more activity on the IRC/matrix channels, bug reports / forum, etc.

A few comments:

  1. Xfce is a very stable DE - I don't believe there is as much need to post about problems that users aren't experiencing.

  2. A significant number of users basically use a system without posting on public forums about problems. I don't think I've ever seen any percentages, but I imagine it would be significant

  3. This forum isn't a high traffic forum, but other places, like distro-specific forums or places like reddit, stackexchange, etc generate more traffic. There exists a confusion among new users on the difference between a distro and DE so they may not be drawn here for their initial exchange. Also, forums and IRC and mailing lists are the "old" way of communicating these days.


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#3 2024-03-29 22:27:49

Tamaranch
Member
Registered: 2020-12-31
Posts: 281

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

Hey interesting topic, I'd never really taken a look at these stats, apart from the articles that come up regularly saying linux is 2-4% on the desktop. There are plenty of stats actually, but not many on DEs.

I think there's a small error in your calculations though: 15% of 40 million Ubuntu users + 10% of 80 million non-Ubuntu users = 14 million Xfce users.

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#4 2024-03-29 22:48:41

eriefisher
Member
From: ON, Canada
Registered: 2008-10-25
Posts: 418

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

I would also like to thank you Alexander for all the time and effort you put into Thunar/Xfce4. I don't know how you would get accurate numbers but I think you calculations are likely as close as anyone is going to get. Personally I've been using Xfce4/Thunar for longer than I care to remember and have rarely had an issue. Anytime I did it was easily solvable with either a search or some time on this forum. With the stability of the DE there just aren't any major issues so getting user numbers from this or other forums would be hard. I think you just never hear from most users. There's no need.


Siduction
Debian Sid
Xfce 4.18

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#5 2024-03-29 23:01:42

CwF
Member
Registered: 2018-01-28
Posts: 290

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

Thanks Alexander Schwinn.

Random poll sample:
https://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?t=156498

People don't report on things that meet expectations!
In 'promoter' scoring a complaint is -1, praise is +many.

The number of irc, mailing list, and forum members is quantifying geeks, not users!

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#6 2024-03-29 23:08:37

ToZ
Administrator
From: Canada
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 11,106

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

Given that we're passing on thanks here in the thread as well, a big thanks also to Tamaranch for you many contributions, especially in preparation for the next major release.


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#7 2024-03-30 10:21:08

Jerry3904
Member
Registered: 2013-11-09
Posts: 857

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

<ToZ opened the gate>

And a BIG thanks as well from MX Linux, where Xfce has been the flagship DE for our entire 10-yr existence--5 of which has seen us at the top of the DistroWatch list of hits-per-day, whatever that actually means! We have a very active Forum and a large Facebook Group, but only a tiny fraction of the posts actually concern Xfce itself.


MX-23 (based on Debian Stable) with our flagship Xfce 4.18.

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#8 2024-03-30 10:45:00

eriefisher
Member
From: ON, Canada
Registered: 2008-10-25
Posts: 418

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

ToZ wrote:

Given that we're passing on thanks here in the thread as well, a big thanks also to Tamaranch for you many contributions, especially in preparation for the next major release.

Yes, for sure, I should have mentioned it as well. Thank you Tamaranch!


Siduction
Debian Sid
Xfce 4.18

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#9 2024-03-30 20:10:33

Alexander Schwinn
Member
Registered: 2016-03-26
Posts: 7

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

Thank you all for your warm words! (Thinking about to login with a pseudonym next time to stay on topic big_smile)

> barring using some form telemetry in Xfce to count actual users (consider the outcry that would create).

No worries, I don't plan anything like that smile

> A significant number of users basically use a system without posting on public forums about problems. I don't think I've ever seen any percentages, but I imagine it would be significant

Yea, it seems like most users don't try to get in contact at all. Regarding percentages: We currently have ~6000 non-blocked accounts at gitlab.xfce.org. Assuming we have 14 million Xfce users, that would mean that only something like one in ~2000 users creates an account. (or 0,043%)

> I think there's a small error in your calculations though: 15% of 40 million Ubuntu users + 10% of 80 million non-Ubuntu users = 14 million Xfce users.

Gna, indeed, thank you for pointing at it Tamaranch! Will fix the first post accordingly.

> https://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?t=156498

Interesting poll ... so on Debian the user-base of Gnome, KDE and Xfce seems to be almost the same size. I did not expect that.

> And a BIG thanks as well from MX Linux

As well big thanks to you and the MX-Linux folks for providing that nice distro! I am actually running it on some of my devices smile

Last edited by Alexander Schwinn (2024-03-30 20:10:56)

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#10 2024-03-30 23:29:25

him610
Member
From: Pennsylvania USA
Registered: 2022-02-19
Posts: 13

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

@Alexander, thanks for your research.

Can it be true? Do most of these people never interact with the community?

It is possible. We have five machines that use Xubuntu. My spouse uses one while I use hers sometimes, but I am sole user of the remaining four. I sign in to Ubuntu forums daily, Debian and XFCE forums every week or two.
I very rarely have any issues to report concerning Xubuntu or XFCE. Everything seems to just work.


Do no harm.

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#11 2024-04-07 00:25:12

Alexander Schwinn
Member
Registered: 2016-03-26
Posts: 7

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

> I am thinking about to write a Xfce forum post about that,

Uh, I failed to get that one right /o\  .... I was thinking about to make a blogpost out of it, not a forum post.

And here we go: https://alexxcons.github.io/blogpost_9.html

Thank you for helping on getting it finished up!

Last edited by Alexander Schwinn (2024-04-07 00:28:45)

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#12 2024-04-07 01:46:19

plebe
Member
Registered: 2024-04-07
Posts: 1

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

Thank you for your  work with XFCE and Thunar. After close to 20 years using linux I have spent the last 3 with XFCE and Gentoo. I can tell you that this is the best Linux  has ever been for me. Thunar+XFCE+Gentoo, for me at least is outstanding. I use Picom to add some zing and its perfect. I idle XFCE IRC with this user name daily. Hope to see you there.

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#13 2024-04-07 06:34:02

ghostnote
Member
Registered: 2024-04-07
Posts: 4

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

Big thanks to everybody who works to make XFCE possible.
This DE is the best!!!

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#14 2024-04-08 17:05:33

xfu
Member
Registered: 2022-03-18
Posts: 6

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

Not sure how many users there are, but I really appreciate that people like you work on software like this.  It is simply the best out there, so functional, customizable, unobtrusive, and stable.  Thank you for doing it, hope to contribute myself someday, and to help more people discover it.

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#15 2024-04-11 09:38:01

kagmole
Member
Registered: 2020-05-12
Posts: 1

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

I'm in love with Debian Sid and Xfce since quite some years now.
Pretty sure a lot of Debian users do prefer Xfce over the default GNOME DE. Many thanks to all maintainers and contributors for this! smile

On a side note: https://blog.xfce.org/ looks "broken" on my side: the last post ("An Estimate on the Total Number of Xfce Users") is there twice and we no longer have the 2023 and 2024 posts.


This a good mole.

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#16 2024-04-11 21:47:31

djordy
Member
Registered: 2021-12-16
Posts: 5

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

It seems very unlikely to me that xfce has that many users.

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#17 2024-04-16 12:42:55

Alexander Hamann
Member
From: Leipzig, Germany
Registered: 2024-04-16
Posts: 1

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

Mr Schwinn, many thanks for your hard work.  I love Xfce and my wife likes it too. When Ubuntu dropped Gnome 2 (in 2011), I searched for a DE with a classical workflow and found Xfce in the form of Xubuntu. Since then we never had a cause to switch our DE and use it on 4 computers. Later I installed it also for my mother and for friends. I think most of the Xfce-users are invisible, because Xfce simply works as promised. When there is a problem, people usually consult the forums of their distro (rather seldom) or google a solution for their problem (works mostly), because in the past someone else certainly had the same problem and somewhere in the net you find a solution (google is your friend!).

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#18 2024-04-16 15:35:18

mint4all
Member
From: off the map
Registered: 2018-08-21
Posts: 268

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

djordy wrote:

It seems very unlikely to me that xfce has that many users.

Greeetings to y'all ...

Seems like a good time to express my sincerest thanks to XFCE's devs. Imho, statistics/numbers don't say all that much. In my circle of supported users, I count 5 people but 14 systems. Except for myself, not one of the other "users" has ever looked at support forums or joined one. So whatever max number one might come up with, it is safe to say that it errs on low side, especially considering that many (not most!) "users" have >1 system in their daily use (such as @ home, work, laptop, tablet, server ...)

What XFCE may lack in bling/zing (a totally subjective critria), and has some design limitations (ie portability/cloning), it comes out on top with its rock-solid stability. In the long run -- imho of course -- that's all that matters.

Cheers, m4a


Linux Mint 21.2 -- xfce 4.18 ... Apple iMAC -- Dell & HP Desktops and Laptops -- Family & Community Support

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#19 2024-04-17 10:15:30

alcornoqui
Member
Registered: 2014-07-28
Posts: 832

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

Seconding the thanks to the Xfce team and community, you truly rock!

I don't know the number, but I see happy Xfce users online every week, and have been seeing them for years.

Like others, I started with my personal machines, and steadily installed it on other machines in my acquaintances circle, usually when their Windows PCs became unusable. None of them are posting about it, or participating in any forums, so you can count about eight* users on... I think seven machines on my name.

For me, apart from the software itself, it was the forum (first), and MX-Linux (later), what fortified my commitment to this DE. I sense a true community with healthy goals and means, talent and... how would I say it... temperance?

Here's for more years, more users, more using our machines on our terms!

*across three generations! Some in their 10s, some in our 40s and some in their 60s & 70s. That's cool, too

Last edited by alcornoqui (2024-04-17 10:18:37)

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#20 2024-04-28 14:34:51

esh
Member
Registered: 2020-10-11
Posts: 3

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

If I had to estimate:

Number of internet users = 5,350,000,000 * 0.618
https://datareportal.com/reports/digita … t-adoption

Number of linux users = 4%
https://linuxiac.com/linux-crosses-four … worldwide/

Number of XFCE users = 22%
https://distrowatch.com/polls.php?poll=1

So
XFCE users = 5,350,000,000 * 0.618 * 0.04 * 0.22 = 29 million !


Keep up the good work.

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#21 2024-04-28 15:05:34

Alexander Schwinn
Member
Registered: 2016-03-26
Posts: 7

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

esh wrote:

Nice approach!

Many people do access the internet only via mobile/smartphone, so I guess you will need to rather apply this statcounter result, which does not focus on desktop market-share:
https://gs.statcounter.com/os-market-share

So something like ~2% internet users which are using Linux ?

Resulting ~15 million Xfce users … which would nicely fits to my own approach big_smile

Last edited by Alexander Schwinn (2024-04-28 15:43:05)

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#22 2024-05-01 03:22:43

Compositoron
Member
Registered: 2020-07-24
Posts: 18

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

Alexander Schwinn wrote:

I would expect much more activity on the IRC/matrix channels, bug reports / forum, etc.

As ToZ notes, and many can confirm, you guys have programmed very stable desktop. And most importantly very customizable one at that. KDE is famed for being the best looking (out of the box) and xfce not so much - until you see that you can change everything, with ease. This forum here helps tons with it (especially Toz, walking encyclopedia of xfce knowledge).

There is very little need to ask much about xfce once you get familiar with it.

Two notes though:
- tumblerd has tendency to go off and start rewriting thumbnails each time you move a directory/create a symlink to any directory with images - it would be better to have tumbler run when you create a new file perhaps or run periodically/or on demand?
- font settings dialog;  allows user to select fonts that are symbolic. dingbats for example and anything that has no letters, like some fonts that are installed as dependencies for handful of programs. the entire desktop will be in weird symbols if user picks one of those fonts. and then good luck to the user (unless user knows how-to terminal and somehow launch appearance-settings)

and then would be all i have noticed during these years of using xfce.
One can work around that, so it is not a big deal.

Now, go try to install and use other desktops and write down in notebook those crashes/bugs etc ... it will be plenty of them.

xfce = simple, good looking (can make it great looking), stable.

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#23 2024-05-02 01:20:11

BobbyXFCE
Member
Registered: 2024-05-02
Posts: 1

Re: Estimate the total number of Xfce users

Hi Alexander,

Thanks for this post -- and for your great work on XFCE!

In addition to the raw number of users, you might perhaps find it interesting to learn a little about some of the users.

For the past couple of years I have been collecting and refurbishing laptops and desktops no longer being used -- and then donating them to good causes (non-profit organizations).  The computers have generally been Windows devices or Apple devices, which I convert to Linux so that they work well and get security updates.

After trying many distros and desktops, Linux Mint XFCE is my "go to" installation -- because it is close to being bullet-proof and runs well on almost all the older computers I have encountered (after I upgrade the RAM to at least 4GB if necessary).

I have donated well over a hundred laptops and desktops with a Linux Mint XFCE operating system/desktop to good causes/non-profits for:

(1) Ronald McDonald Houses -- for kids being treated for cancer and other serious medical conditions -- so they can enjoy YouTube videos to distract themselves from pain;
(2) Shelters for victims of domestic violence -- so that they can apply online for housing;
(3) Shelters for the homeless -- so that they can apply online for training, for jobs, and for housing;
(4) Low-income high school students who need computers to apply to college and for college financial aid; and
(5) An organization that helps at-risk women.

So, Alexander, you can be confident that the work of you and your colleagues on the XFCE team are making the world a better place by helping those folks who need a helping hand to succeed in life.  And by protecting our planet by keeping hundreds of useful computers out of the landfill.

Keep up the good -- and important -- work!

All the best,
Bobby

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