Linux Counter

What is it? The Linux Counter is an attempt to get an idea of how many Linux users there are in the world.

The experiment has been running since October 1993 and has so far registered more than 4,500 Linux users. Data from other sources indicate that this may be somewhere between 0.5% and 5% of all Linux users.

All the reports are available for anonymous FTP from, directory pub/misc/Linux-counter, and are updated every hour.

How to register

Send E-mail to with the SUBJECT line

“I use Linux at place” where place is one or more of school, work, or home. You will get back a letter with 3 things:

  • An acknowledgement

  • A form that you can fill out and send in with more information about yourself, your machine, and your 386Linux-using friends

  • A report giving the current status of the counter

You can update your “vote” at any time, by sending an E-mail message from the same account. Duplicates will be weeded out.

Privacy issues

The counter will NOT give out any information about individual persons. The only exception is this:

If the person writes the following:

//PERSON Name: (my name is.....) may-publish: yes

this is taken to mean that his name, E-mail address and country can be published in the report called “persons”, which might be useful for people

wanting to meet other Linux users.

You can remove permission at any time, by sending in another registration with this field set to “no”.

Harald Tveit Alvestrand lives in Trondheim, Norway. He can be reached via E-mail at

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