Mozilla retreating on Linux?

Recent moves away from Linux support invite deeper analysis


It seems that Mozilla is a little reluctant to provide initial support for its upcoming Web Apps Marketplace on the Linux platform.

Apparently, the Mozilla development team is playing a numbers game, and it resisting committing resources getting the Marketplace platform to Linux. Mozilla's Asa Dotzler put it plainly:

"What we need most, I suspect, is available Linux coders, people who know Gnome, Unity, GTK, etc. to do the platform integration work. I don't know who those people are. Looking around the sub-set of community members employed by Mozilla who could help on this, I don't see any available resources or even any resources I would move from their current work to this work."

It's a little hard to argue the numbers, particularly since no matter where you look, the browser share for Linux users seems to run in the low- to mid-single digits. With 95 (or more) percent of browser running on something other than Linux, from a pure numbers viewpoint, it's difficult to dispute.

But I would like to offer some other numbers that might shed some light on what Mozilla's products mean for Linux users.

According to StatOwl, Linux users overwhelmingly still use some version of Firefox. The past six-month average for browser statistics that StatOwl collects is:

Firefox 52.38%
Chrome 29.25%
Safari 11.18%
Opera 3.08%
Gecko 2.28%
Other 1.60%
Konqueror 0.14%
SeaMonkey 0.10%

(I used StatOwl, by the way, because they were the only data collector where I could quickly filter by operating system.)

Let's be clear on the source, before continuing: in the same time period, StatOwl showed Linux use at decidedly low percentages, with the six-month averages coming in at:

Windows 84.10%
Mac 14.84%
Linux 0.76%
Undetected 0.28%
Other 0.01%

Clearly, loyalty for Firefox is obviously high among Linux users--which I suspect is why there's been so much vocal opposition to Mozilla's plan. But as I said, looking at numbers like these operating system percentages, it's easy to see why Mozilla is reluctant to commit resources.

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