Software Development with Linux

Comparing Linux distributions popularity

THU, 01 APR 2010

With all the news regarding the latest Ubuntu release, I got under the impression that there is a lot more news when Ubuntu release a new version than any other Linux distribution.  But is it truly the case?  Is Ubuntu that much more popular?

My first evidence come from DistroWatch.com.  According to today's "Page Hit Ranking", the top ten Linux distributions are :


  1. Ubuntu (2410)

  2. Fedora (1704)

  3. Linux Mint (1588)

  4. openSUSE (1375)

  5. Mandriva (1172)

  6. Debian (1083)

  7. PCLinuxOS (1017)

  8. Sabayon (872)

  9. Arch Linux (822)

  10. MEPIS (761)


I know that the recent news about Ubuntu have probably increased their ranking, but still, they are leading with a big advantage over the 2nd position.  Other interesting distributions I will look at are "13. Slackware (585)", "15. CentOS (543)", "17. Gentoo (489)", and "30. Red Hat (295)".

Now, what about Google results?  For the same 14 distributions we have :


  1. Ubuntu (17.2M)

  2. Red Hat (10.4M)

  3. Debian (6.8M)

  4. CentOS (4.6M)

  5. Fedora (4.2M)

  6. Linux Mint (3.8M)

  7. openSUSE (3.3M)

  8. PCLinuxOS (3.2M)

  9. Mandriva (2.3M)

  10. Arch Linux (2.2M)

  11. Gentoo (2.1M)

  12. Slackware (1M)

  13. Sabayon (489K)

  14. MEPIS (284K)


So, Ubuntu is still the clear winner here.  Other then that, the distribution is quite different from what DistroWatch reports.

Another interesting stats is from builtWith's web server usage statistics.  From them we have the following :


  1. Unix (44.94%)

  2. Red Hat (21.2%)

  3. CentOS (14.48%)

  4. Ubuntu (5.32%)

  5. Debian (5.16%)

  6. Fedora (4.74%)

  7. Cisco (2.07%)

  8. Windows (1.04%)

  9. Gentoo (0.75%)

  10. Joyent JWS (0.29%)


This shows that while Ubuntu is probably the more popular desktop Linux distributions, it also is the 4th most popular OS for web server, which isn't bad at all.  If the "Unix" option was split into the different unixes, Red Hat would probably be #1 and maybe Ubuntu would be #3 (depending on what is bundled into the "Unix" option).

So yes, it seems that Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution.

As for me, I'm not using it.  Well, I'm currently using Kubuntu, since I prefer KDE over Gnome, so it's not really Ubuntu but...!  But how many of you are using it?  What are your reasons for (not) using it?

Photo credit : framedartpictures.com