What Hacker News Users Use

Yesterday, the post about the Date Range Picker that I created for Improvely spent almost 24 hours on the front page of Hacker News. That led to 20,910 new unique visits to this blog with, at the peak, over 800 concurrent people with the post open in a browser.


Of course, I have W3Counter collecting analytics on my sites, which made this a great opportunity to discover what kinds of systems Hacker News users use during their work days. I filtered out the visits from other sources and compiled a couple graphics.

Operating Systems

Nearly half of HN readers are working on Macs, with Windows used by just 27%. 1 in 10 are browsing the web on Linux systems, while the remaining nearly 20% are on mobile devices. Not shown in the chart are the 16 Windows Phone 7 owners and 7 people on ChromeBooks.


Chrome was the browser of choice by 63% of the new visitors. Surprisingly, there were more people reading from an iPad or iPhone than users of Firefox on the desktop, and less than 200 people in the 21,000 used any version of Internet Explorer.


Some flavor of MacBook appears to be the most popular system among Hacker News readers, with 1440×900 displays and OS X as the most common combination.

  • Qqqqqqq

    Is it possible to find the OS/resolution and OS/browser intersections? Would be interesting to see the mac vs windows vs linux display size distribution.

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad to hear only 200 are using IE. Also, I’d like to say to them, I’m sorry that is your browser of choice or that you are forced to use IE. The 1440×900 resolution and Mac OS X indicates either a 13″ Macbook Air or a 15″ Pro…

  • Stephen Huggard

    Surprised the Mac’s are so high. Would have thought all the techie people would be on linux

  • Anonymous

    You’d think that but speaking with personal experience, the problem with Linux is all the configuration options get in your way and prevent you from getting shit done. Honesty I can go from a boxed mac to a working environment in about 20 minutes, whereas on linux it takes me a few hours.

    Now I’m sure something can be said about experience, but I think the appeal of mac is all the GUI stuff is basically perfect from the get go so in terms of customization all you really need to do is install a package manager and some packages to get going. 

  • Guilherme

    Macs are better laptops that are also Unix boxes.

  • http://twitter.com/snodnipper snodnipper

    Canonical / Ubuntu desperately need good quality hardware.  Seriously, I would prefer Ubuntu if things were finished and the hardware worked.  Totally finished with Dell et. al. – it is kinda IE 6 all over again…only with hardware, which MS have probably got a lot to answer for.  
    Apple just works.  I look forward to the day I can properly code on Android.

  • Drew

    The appeal of Macs is that they make you feel good. Large purchases are a hugely emotional decision (ask any real estate agent or car salesman) and the fact that Apple has good attention to detail and excellent industrial design counts a lot toward that emotional impact. Don’t discount this – you may think that Linux has some kind of neckbeard-induced configuration screens of doom but that’s probably just a post-hoc justification for the large Apple tax. People generally use purchase price as an indicator of quality, regardless of whether it actually is in any particular instance.

  • Anonymous

    While I won’t discount your argument, I will contend that it’s probably not a large factor or why people by macs. There are PCs that cost as much and more than mac yet you don’t see them in such wide deployment. 

    Also as a server admin I can say with certainty that linux is much more configuration heavy than Mac or windows. I think the problem with Linux really is that it doesn’t have rely enough on sane defaults, it assumes that every user will have the patience and knowledge to configure the system to their needs right out of the box instead of choosing options that the user would probably want. 

    Combined with the poor hardware support it’s guaranteed that linux would see poorer adoption that OSX. 

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