Linux Distros Evolution - January 2024 Update: Pop!_OS in Decline?


At Boiling Steam we periodically review the trends of Linux distros used for gaming, thanks to the data on ProtonDB (and sometimes Steam hardware survey as well). Which we can’t even ever know the true share of all Linux distros used on the market, ProtonDB users are gamers and this gives us a good indicator of which distros are used to play games on Linux. In the past editions, we reviewed several trends such as:

Linux Distros: the decline of Pop!_OS

This time we will focus on Pop_OS! while the chart below gives you a sense of what’s happening with all Linux distros:

Linux distros used for gaming - evolution over time

In case you are not familiar with Pop!_OS, it’s a Linux distro based on Ubuntu and created by the team at System76. It offers many customizations on top of Ubuntu and takes care of things like Nvidia drivers installation and offers a direct access to Flatpaks as well from its own app store. It was also used as the main Linux distro of the HP Dev One laptop that we reviewed a while ago.

It has followed a similar path as Manjaro in the past 2 years. At one point it was just behind Ubuntu in terms of market share, and clearly above Linux Mint. Now the tables have turned and Pop!_OS has decreased significantly in share among Linux gamers, with only about 6% of gamers choosing it as their distro.

Pop!_OS has however a few tricks down their sleeves to make a comeback, as they are actively developing their own Rust-based COSMIC desktop, that will eventually be the default for Pop!_OS. They had a recent update about COSMIC during Thanksgiving where they highlighted their progress and mentioned the future inclusion of HDR as part of their offering.

The State of Other Distros

There has not been much change vs what we had observed before. Ubuntu is still trying to explore the depths of the charts by flirting with lower share values, Linux Mint has solidified for a while just below 10%, Manjaro shows no sign of coming back. Fedora may be taking the place of Manjaro next if things continue like that, too. Nobara, after a strong initial growth, seems to have reached a plateau for now.

And Arch is still the king. As expected.

Stay tuned for our next update sometimes in February!