Sure, Windows is expected to run on 1 billion devices by 2010. But a loud minority is making its voice heard by moving to Ubuntu Linux. In fact, Canonical's marketing materials state that Ubuntu now has more than 8 million users.

Alas, measuring Ubuntu's active installed base can be tricky since a single copy o the operating system can be freely installed over and over again on multiple systems. And in mid-2007 during the Ubuntu Live conference, Ubuntu/Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth estimated the operating system's installed base at 6 million to 12 million users.

But apparently, Canonical has narrowed down that figure. A marketing handout from the company, focused on training, states that:
"Ubuntu is used by over 8 million people worldwide."
So far, so good. And that figure will surely rise as Ubuntu is preinstalled on a growing number of Netbooks and Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs).

But Canonical can't rest on its laurels. After all, Novell is leveraging desktop Linux relationships to land on more servers -- including a forthcoming server deal with Lenovo, which will be announced in September. And Red Hat seems to be gaining momentum in the channel.

Still, a growing list of small, midsize and large organizations are running Ubuntu. (Take a look at the Works With U 1000, a fast-growing list of organizations running Ubuntu.)

Things are certainly getting interesting in the Linux market.