Surprise! Notice what you expected, right? In short, it doesn’t matter how many years we’ve been doing our year-end survey, because in the browser section Firefox always wins… and the 2021 survey is no exception. Do we leave it like this? No, because although we know how squared we are for many things Linux users, in the nuances is the interest.
Thus, it does not matter that Firefox has won the majority favor of the public for another year, because what is really interesting is to see how much support it maintains in relation to previous years, as well as to see the rest of the table and the movements that may have occurred in the same. And is that the world of browsers is not the most changing, but it evolves, even when it may seem otherwise.
On the other hand, and with regard to the survey in general, this year there were not as many votes as the previous ones, but there was not as much time to vote either. In any case, with more or less votes, what is relevant in the results of the survey is not the raw participation, but rather the percentages that are distributed among the different options and on which we are going to influence to assess the whole.
Web browsers 2021
Total votes 3,229
- Firefox (1507, 46.7%)
- Chrome (619, 19.2%,)
- brave (451, 14%)
- Microsoft Edge (211, 6.5%)
- Vivaldi (171, 5.3%)
- Opera (139, 4.3%)
- Chromium (107, 3.3%)
- Other (24, 0.7%)
As I said, there is no surprise that firefox be number one around herebecause it always has been. Whether by conscience or pure inertia, Firefox is the most representative free software web browser and maintains a loyal legion of followers, which unfortunately for Mozilla, is just a fraction of its user base, in constant decline. But even on Linux Firefox falls: always referring to the results of this survey, if last year Firefox fell for the first time below 50% share and not a little, it falls several more steps. However, it is still the most used option.
The second in contention has not changed its position either, not even its percentage in recent years: we are talking about Chrome, the official Google and possibly the best current browser in terms of performance… but not everything in this life is about performance and the black hole for privacy that this browser represents turns many back. Not so many others, as the survey shows, and it is also necessary to take into account the excellent support for DRM and multimedia content that Chrome offers, let alone if Google services are used intensively.
Thirdly, we find ourselves, as happened last year, with brave, a browser that has not stopped climbing positions since its launch and that has an increasingly consolidated user base. In fact, with the entry in 2022 they celebrated the 50 million users, among those who are sure to find many Linux users. Here at least, its rise has been meteoric: in 2018 it occupied the sixth position in the table, in 2019 it climbed to the fifth and in 2020 it was already climbing to where it is now… and it is not surprising, because in its own way, it brings together the best of Firefox -FLOSS and respect for privacy- and the best of Chrome -compatibility and performance-.
Another browser that has not stopped climbing positions since its launch for Linux was announced is Microsoft Edge, the proprietary Chromium that more market is scratching supported by the muscle of the company that develops it. The point is that if in 2020 we included it for the first time as an option in the survey, even though only the beta version of it was available and with everything it slipped into fifth position, this year it climbs a step to fourth and with solidity in the supports. This reflects the release of its stable version for Linux and, why not say it, the good work of Microsoft… although not everything is good.
In fifth position is Vivaldi, the browser for the most hardcore users, which had already been so high in previous years, but not in 2020, where it fell to seventh position. Be that as it may, this Internet suite recovers lost ground and I’m glad, because despite dragging the mortal sin of not being open source, a completely wrong strategy no matter how hard those responsible try to justify it, it is a powerful tool with a strong focus on privacy protection and never stops adding features. The highlight, however, is that the percentage he has received this year is almost double that of the previous ones, regardless of the position he obtained.
Already in sixth position we find ourselves as the veteran Opera, which undoubtedly saw better days. He had never been so low in the survey, although his percentage has not varied so much either. In any case, it could be said that it is collecting what it always does, since it is not a bad browser, but its support in Linux is since its reconversion based on poor Chromium and Opera Software is no longer what it was. In summary, a good browser in the doldrums on its own merits and, however, one more option available for Linux.
In seventh and penultimate position in the table is Chromium, the most innovative browser that has led to open source… and a living dead that until 2019 was the third most voted by far, not in vain it was a clone of Chrome, but one hundred percent free software. In 2020 it fell below Brave, but it was still strong, and in 2021… Google took it down, just as we were counting at the time. The consequence is this: the browser has become an ornament, a small ghost halfway between the free Chrome that it once was and the Ungoogled Chromium that it will never be.
Lastly, the “other” option, which I am pleased about because it also barely gets a handful of votes. What other was the most voted? None in particular: there were those who mentioned some derivative of Firefox, Ungoogled Chromium, GNOME Web… but none particularly pointed out, which means that with the browsers exposed up to this point, the vast majority of Linux users have more than enough.
So far the results of the 2021 web browser survey, about which it is worth repeating what no surprise, but some other data of interest. The most striking, in fact, has not been mentioned, but here it goes: for the first time, the net sum of Chromium derivatives exceeds Firefox, by very little, yes. How do you see it in general?