If you follow the Linux community there is no doubt you frequent the DistroWatch website. For those of you who have never heard of DistroWatch, Wikipedia defines it well by saying:
DistroWatch is a popular website which provides news, popularity rankings, and other general information about various Linux distributions as well as other free software/open-source operating systems such as OpenSolaris and BSD. It now contains information on several hundreds of distributions.
It is by far the best resource for comparing different Linux distributions and being the first to provide release information for hundreds of Linux and other OS flavours.
One of the greatest features of DistroWatch is how they rank all of the distributions in their database based on the number of hits each gets per day. You can see the rankings on the right side of the landing page or (for more details) check out the popularity page here. When I looked at the rankings over the different time periods I noticed some pretty cool stuff. There is definitely a relationship between ranking and major releases, most notably on the shorter time periods.
Here are some other semi-interesting observations:
- the same 4 distributions (Ubuntu, openSUSE, PCLinuxOS, and Fedora) make up the top 4 in each of the last 4 time periods
- Ubuntu is the overwhelming most popular distribution; however, with the release of PCLinuxOS 2007, Ubuntu has been pushed to a distant 2nd over the last month
- Ubuntu Studio has started off strong since its release and is current #10
- prior to 2005, Red Hat and Mandrake (now known as Fedora and Mandriva) dominated the top 2 positions
If you’re interested in Linux but are not quite sure what distribution to try, search around on DistroWatch, you will definitely find something that appeals to you. As always, if you have any questions about choosing a distro please feel free to , I always love talking Linux!