The best thing that ever happened to Linux might have been Windows Vista. It also hasn't hurt matters that Ubuntu continues to make the open-source side of the fence more accessible to new users. While Windows 7 more than makes up for Vista's woes, there are now 12 million users rocking Ubuntu.
The upcoming Lucid release may boost those numbers even higher, but the real growth came in the pre-Windows 7 days. In 2008, Canonical estimated there were some 8 million Ubuntu users, so that means there have been about 4 million added since then. Of course, these numbers aren't exact, but they're probably pretty close.
"We have no phone home or registration process, so it's always a guesstimate. But based on the same methodology that we came up with for the 2008 number, our present belief is that it's somewhere north of 12 million users at the moment," Chris Kenyon, vice president for OEM at Canonical, told InternetNews.com.
As impressive as the numbers are, Red Hat's Fedora leads Ubuntu by a good margin with an estimated 24 million installations.