Forget Firefox, IE: Subversion is the most popular web browser

September 30, 2009 Jack Repenning

The Internet is full of comparisons of the relative popularity of web browsers, but something these analyses miss is that "web" traffic is increasingly not about "browsers" at all. As SOAP and SaaS and Clouds expand, the web has largely become the Internet: the backbone for many services not directly displayed to human eyes.

As a case in point, consider our site Tigris.Org. I was analyzing traffic there recently, for other purposes, and came upon some interesting numbers. In a period of a few (basically randomly selected) days recently, 

  • Firefox browsers hit the site 2,964,556 times, making them #3
  • Internet Explorer browsers hit the site 3,350,885, making them #2 by a fairly narrow margin (13%, which is narrow compared to the 40% or more these numbers change from day to day)

But "who's number one" you ask? Subversion, with 5,724,275. Subversion traffic is roughly equal to Firefox and Internet Explorer combined

Chrome (501,455) is doing pretty well, for a newcomer, clocking in around #6, and Safari (302,483) is at #7. 

"Wait," you say: "there's another gap there, what happened to #4 and #5?" Web crawling spiders working for search engines come in at #5 (1,116,299), but what's #4? Java libraries of several sorts (1,798,848).

Sorted out in order:

  1. Subversion: 5,724,275
  2. Internet Explorer: 3,350,885
  3. Firefox: 2,964,556
  4. Java: 2,915,147
  5. search 'bots: 1,384,917
  6. Chrome: 501,455
  7. Safari: 302,483

So: version control operations are overwhelmingly number 1: people are using the web to create new stuff.

Browsers are still big business, at #2 and #3 (don't short-sell your Firefox stock just yet ;-), but on the web, "automation" is "Java" is roughly equal to any human browsing.

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