Apr 06,2024

An Estimate on the Total Number of Xfce Users

Recently, my wife asked me how many people in total actually use the software I develop in my free time (mostly thunar).

I never thought about that question, so I just made a wild guess. Based on the number of people I believed are active on the Xfce Matrix / IRC channels, I answered: "... maybe between 2000 and 10.000 people do use Xfce".

I know nobody can give exact numbers. It's all about package downloads, OS types reported by browsers, and other more or less biased data harvesting.

However, the question nagged me, so I searched for some more reliable numbers.

Ubuntu came to my mind. Since it collects some user-data, I thought it might be a good starting point for my investigation.

Via web search, I found out that there seem to be about 40 Million Ubuntu users.

According to this post, 15% of them use Xubuntu.

--> 6 million Xubuntu users (holy crap)

Further digging revealed that aproximately 33% of Linux desktop users use a Ubuntu based distro.

--> Approximately 120 million Linux desktop users in total

--> Considering a rather conservative estimate of 10% Xfce users on non-Ubuntu systems --> another 8 million installs

That would be approximately 14 million Xfce users. So many people do use the software I tinker with? /o\

Considered that estimate is more or less accurate, than why are the Xfce communication channels rather calm?

For example, we currently have around 6000 non-blocked accounts at gitlab.xfce.org. That would be roughly one in every 2000 users (0,043%) who create an account. Can that be true?

Since I was not sure if my numbers are reasonable, I asked for feedback in the Xfce forums.

The estimate seems to be mostly fine. On the question about the rather low percentage of people who get in contact via official Xfce communication channels, there are several guesses:

I wanted to share this estimate with you, since for me, it was a surprise to see that such a huge number of people actually seem to use Xfce. Knowing so gives me even more motivation to further improve Xfce.