No. Software doesn't need to be popular. Software is written for a purpose - to solve some kind of (business) problem. As long as it serves the purpose it will be used and maintained. If the cost of maintaining is higher than the expected return value it will be dismissed. I think the number of users is one variable in this calculation, but not the only one.
The notion of software being popular or constantly evolving or even building a community is a very recent development in our industry.
If you are doing business, using "popular" software helps in risk assessments:
the problems you are having with a piece of software were perhaps already solved by others
if it is "mainstream" enough, you could easily throw people at your business problem
if the software is open source, every patch which goes upstream will not only help others, but will be maintained for you in future versions
OTOH choosing software by "popularity" has the risk of making the wrong choice: perhaps the solution is popular but for your usecase overly complex.
Popularity is an indicator but not always the best metric to evaluate software.
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