wounded in the line of duty
Ubuntu is doing fine in the desktop market. That is not what this article is about. But Ubuntu is definitely not the biggest contributor to Open Source development. A big userbase has not been turned into a big development force (yet).
It is also unknown how big the Ubuntu's userbase is. And only Canonical can give figures of how many Ubuntu LTS users are paying for support.
I can give you some rough numbers for RHEL and CentOS:
* RHEL has about 1.5 million entitlements (paid-for supported systems) apparently comprising 80% of Enterprise Linux sales
* CentOS has a lower mark of 2.2 million systems (pulling updates directly) and an estimated minimum of 8.8 million servers worldwide (probably a lot more given companies do not pull updates from public mirrors) comprising of 0% of Enterprise Linux sales
What I am interested in is how much Ubuntu LTS and Ubuntu systems are out there. And how much actually have a Canonical support contract.
Why ? Because backporting kernel fixes, drivers and kernel infrastructure is not something volunteers prefer to do and doing it every 6 months for several versions costs money. Money that Canonical does not want to spend, if they do not have to. Canonical/Ubuntu focuses mostly on the integration work and the desktop aspects.
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