There are a lot of Wine users and this page attempts to estimate how many there are, as well as suggest the growing importance of Wine to developers.
We really do need to start thinking about just who our users are. How many are gamers? How many use Wine for a single application? How many care more about improving performance than getting more apps working? Such questions may help us prioritize development.
Why statistics are hard to get
Many, if not most, people don't get Wine by downloading it from one of our file mirrors: dl.winehq.org, ibiblio, and budgetdedicated.com. Instead, they use the (old) Wine package that comes default with their distribution. It is unknown what percentage of Wine users are using an older version of Wine, however it is likely greater than 90%.
The Ubuntu popularity contest (popcon) package reports package install statistics for users who have checked the box to "send anonymous package usage data." http://popcon.ubuntu.com/ As of September 2009, 495283 participants had installed Wine and 32660 had run it within the past week. Comparing this with a package that everyone has and you find there's a total of 1226340 survey participants. This means that Wine is installed on an estimated 40% of Ubuntu PCs, although only about 6.7% of them have used it within the past week.
There is reason to suspect that Popcon substantially undercounts Wine users, however, because survey participation is not offered to users who install Ubuntu directly from Windows using Wubi. Since Windows users are more likely to need Windows applications and thus Wine, this will result in systemic bias against Wine.
Total Wine users
- Estimated total users of Wine (all versions of packages, across all distributions): unknown (I've heard ~1.5 million)
- Estimated total users of Wine, Crossover, or other Wine-containing products (ie Google Picasa): unknown, but much larger
- Estimated total users of anything containing Wine source code (say, Parallels): unknown, but much much larger
Every Linux user is a potential Wine user
Around October 2007, there were an estimated 6 to 12 million Ubuntu users. By May 2010, Fedora claimed 24 million users based on update server statistics, which are unknown for Ubuntu. However if Ubuntu is believed to be twice as popular as Fedora, then there could be an estimate of around 60 million+ combined Ubuntu/Fedora users. Most of these are desktop users. When other distributions are added in, there are even more potential users.
If we combine the 60 million+ usage estimate with a somewhat conservative 5% wine-usage estimate based on Ubuntu's Popcon above (which may or may not be valid for Fedora), then we arrive at approximately 3 million active Wine users.
Newer distributions are making installation of Wine even easier, such as prompting to install Wine as soon as the user attempts to open an executable file (see UserExperience for more).
Desktop Linux adoption is also growing. Desktop Linux usage doubled between 2006 and 2007. Based on web browsing data, Desktop Linux is currently more popular than iPhone OS and other notable platforms.