January 22, 2009 by Amit Bakshi

So here we are in 2009 and if you haven’t been living under a rock, you know that you are no longer stuck with the choice between just Windows and Mac.  A third operating system, Linux, has edged its way into the mainstream, propagated by a passionate group of Linux developers.

Today we are going to examine the growth of Linux from oDesk‘s perspective (oDesk is a marketplace for online workteams), looking at supply and demand for Linux-related freelance work and the geographies it is taking place in.

Today, oDesk typically has 175-200 jobs posted per month with the “Linux” keyword in them.  A yearly snapshot of this metric shows serious growth.

Year # of Jobs*
2006 128
2007 796
2008 2014

*Job openings with “Linux” as a keyword

Linux jobs are clearly on the rise, but a more interesting piece of trivia is that there are currently 87 open jobs with the keyword “Linux,” compared to 134 jobs with “Windows” and 43 jobs with “Mac.” This indicates a 32% market share for Linux among new jobs, significantly higher than the 12.7% share of the server market and 1-2% share of the desktop market that Linux owns according to Wikipedia.  Of course, to suggest that Linux truly has a 32% market share on oDesk is aggressive; many job posters do not specify that they prefer Windows — it’s just assumed.  But perhaps this is a leading indicator of Linux’s continued growth on oDesk.

Job Market Share on oDesk (linux, windows, mac)

Looking at which countries are embracing Linux, we see the United States dominates in both posting Linux jobs and providing Linux professional services.  But, this may be (and probably) is a reflection of the location distributions of oDesk’s buyers and providers.

Top 5 Linux Buyer Countries # of Jobs*
United States 511
United Kingdom 67
Australia 43
Canada 41
India 13

*Job openings, last 12 months, with “Linux” listed as a required skill

Top 5 Linux Provider Countries # of Providers*
United States 335
India 309
Russia 74
Ukraine 70
Philippines 64

*Providers with “Linux” listed in their profile titles

Finally, let’s look at what Linux distributions, if any, are requested in job postings.  We find the following data, which shows that the work is, in fact, spread out between several distributions.

Top 5 Linux distributions $ of Jobs*
Red Hat 224
CentOS 199
Fedora 166
Ubuntu 151
Debian 127

*All-time occurrences of jobs with linux distribution keywords on oDesk.

The upshot seems to be that buyers of professional services around the world investing hard cash in Linux-related jobs is a tribute to the platform’s success and credibility.  It seems Linux is here to stay with respectable growth compared to other job skill trends. What do you think? The comment thread is open …

Amit Bakshi

Vice President of Marketing at LawPivot

Amit Bakshi is the Vice President of Marketing at LawPivot. He formerly served as Product Marketing Manager for oDesk.

  • ayyappa

    linux is more secured , protected from virus,it has more festures than other operating systems

  • http://www.nightlifeblues.com nightlife

    it is a most important side.

  • Jennifer C

    Given that this one nearly one year ago, do you happen to have an updated stat?

  • http://www.netage.co.za/pages/resources Internet Age

    Linux is definitely on the way up, no matter how much Microsoft and other operating systems are in denial about it. Job statistics is definitely a novel approach at evaluating how popular Linux actually is, and it definitely bears out that the most impressive growth is definitely centered around LInux, with the eventual reflection in adoption figures yet to come. I feel that Windows 7 had better be much better than Vista, otherwise Linux is going to overhaul Microsoft in the not so distant future.

  • http://www.netage.co.za Kim | Web Design

    I have just come across this site and it is informative and interesting, Linux will be a hit, I have a friend that absolutely swears by this product.

  • http://www.linuxbuzz.net Madhanaya

    I have posted a complete how-to for the linux newbs at LinuxBuzz.net

  • http://woganmay.net Wogan

    @prithvi Linux isn’t virus free – a computer that executes instructions is a computer that can be affected. It’s just that there’s no point in developing a virus, thanks to its core design.

    I guess it’s beginning to make more sense to more companies to deploy their systems on linux infrastructure. But really, were we meant to be surprised by this?

  • prithvi

    linux is high security compare than other OS and its an open source, without proper knowledge no one access this and cent % virus free OS thats why Linux is dominating in the other OS

  • Pingback: Boycott Novell » Links 23/01/2009: Linux Demand Rises, ASUS Says 40% of Sub-notebooks to Run GNU/Linux()

  • http://www.cilk.com ilya

    We recently carried out a survey of developers looking into multicore programming, and saw a very large group doing Linux-based development – larger than Windows.