Linux Popularity Contest: Facebook Has Spoken

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Ubuntu has been quite popular on DistroWatch for a long time now. Currently it is at the number 1 position for hits per day on the site over the last six months, 675 higher than it’s closest competition (OpenSUSE), and that doesn’t even count in the 1563 hits from Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Mythbuntu, Fluxbuntu, Ubuntu Studio and Ubuntu CE.

There’s a nice little Facebook app that’s called “Linux” that proudly displays which distribution you use on your profile page:

It also builds stats of which distributions and desktop environments people use, and which podcasts they listen to:

Once again, Ubuntu outranks them all. What’s even nicer is that Debian is second here. makes my theory feel stronger that all RPM based distros will probably become Debian-based within the next 5 years or so (or die out, unless something superior emerges (no pun intended)). I might be completely wrong… who knows, but, when you look at the trends (got this link from Mark Shuttleworth’s website), and if they continue the way they do, then things certainly don’t look good for the future popularity of RPM based systems:

SociBook Digg Facebook Google Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon

13 Responses to “Linux Popularity Contest: Facebook Has Spoken”

  1. Vadim P. Says:

    The google trends graph if cutoff, but if you’ll click on it, you’ll get the full thing.

  2. jonathan Says:

    Hey Vladim. Good catch, the format of that picture has now been modified to fit the screen :)

  3. Wayne Koorts Says:

    Haha, great line about emerge, legendary :)

    Oh and it’s nice to see a graph suggesting Ubuntu growth :)


  4. Villacampa Says:

    you can’t be serious, are you???


    Whos is making more money today at linux market? Red Hat and Novell.
    Who is contributing more on key pieces (linux, kde, gnome, etc) today?? Well, all stadistics i have seen these last months points to Red Hat and Novell again.

    And… perphaps the linux users that not use ubuntu are not so fanatic to tell everyone at the world what he is using at his desktop.

    I’m really sure RPM’s distributions are here to stay. There are too much reasons and users. :)

  5. Aaron Says:

    Until DPKG catches up in terms of functionality to RPM, it will be a while, if ever, when SUSE and Red Hat switch to dpkg as their main package manager. There are just too many system administration tools with RPM that don’t exist in DPKG, such as ‘rpm -V’.

    Further, the Debian installer has a lot of maturing to do for system admins. Automating installs with preseed is a pain for one. Creating a snapshot of your current install is less than optimal too. Both Anaconda and Kickstart are a sysadmin’s dream, when it comes to automating installs.

    Debian and Ubuntu may be the most popular distro for end-users currently, of which I’m glad, but Red Hat is doing a lot of things correct for the datacenter. OVirt and Spacewalk are solid examples. I hope Canonical and Ubuntu can catch up, because where I’m sitting, we’re far behind in that area.

  6. Greg Says:

    Its really good to know that the kids who use facebook prefer ubuntu. Why that would be relevant in the real world I cant imagine. As far as all distros becoming debian based thats the day I go back to windows or hopefully Bsd will mature enough by then. Ive never used a debian based system that wasnt garbage. Ive seen some beautiful distros but the debian base always ruined them.Bugs and annoyances all around.

  7. BlahDeBlah Says:

    If you look at ubuntu|debian instead of just ubuntu, you see we surpassed the other two almost a year earlier, in 2005.

    Definately a win for the deb based distros.

  8. Stoffe Says:

    Ubuntu+debian link:|debian%2C+%22red+hat%22|redhat|fedora%2C+suse|novell|opensuse&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

    We can only hope. No matter how the RPM people talk about this or that functionality, we know that RPM is broken by design. I love Red Hat and what they do (not Novell though) but RPM hell more or less singlehandedly keeps me away from that distro.

  9. Jonas Says:


    You haven’t used a recent rpm-based distro have you? RPM-hell is for all intents and purposes a thing of the past – and distant past at that. RPM is no more prone to dependency hell than the Debian system. If anything, it is less likely to get you into dependency hell.

    As much as I love Debian and derivatives, apt is in serious need of overhaul. I’m currently using OpenSUSE 11 and in my experience, it is better at avoiding dependency conflicts and providing you with options of getting out of it than dpkg does.

    Last time I got a dependency problem in Ubuntu, the dialoge I got was less than helpful. It basically said “Something went wrong and the installation/upgrade can not continue” and it made it necessary to try to fix things in a shell (using things like apt-get -f install and dpkg -i –fiorce) which is a big no-no for a newbie oriented distro. Suse, on the other hand, tells me exactly why something went – such as “Program X can not be installed because it depends on package Y, version 0.5.3 which cannot be provided” and provides me with options such as “Downgrade to an earlier version”, “Downgrade dependency to an earlier version”, “Skip installation”, and “Ignore dependencies”.

    The messages may not be the user-friendliest but the approach is a lot better than the Debian one. Besides package management, Debian really needs something like Yast – the best graphical system configuration tool I have seen (even if I would have preferred it integrated into the KDE system-settings and the Gnome control panel).

    Honestly, what I would like in my ideal distro would be something like (from an end-user POV:

    1. Yast or an equivalent settings module.
    2. A user-friendly and fast package-management system. Right now, the best one is zypper. Apt is not even close to that as of today. Apt has seriously fallen behind from having been the best one to being tolerable.
    3. An extensive set of packages and repos available from out-of-the-box. This is where Debian and Ubuntu really shines. There’s more available without having to add 3rd party repos.

    Basically, a combination of OpenSUSE and Ubuntu really.

  10. pedro Says:

    niice! glad to see that also GNOME is the #1 desktop ;-) thanks for sharing

  11. buddy Says:

    aren’t you guys from linux world supposed to be one big family? If you guys sit together having coffees and suddenly one dude says
    “my woman is prettier than yours” what do you think to that statement? to most users, it’s “the cake”, not “the oven” that they care about. It’s what the applications do for them that counts. some may even do not know the different between Windows and linux. Peace!

  12. Daniel Says:

    I have to respectfully say anyone that thinks the RPM based distros are dying is talking bollocks :)

    They might not be growing at the speed of some other relative “newcomers”. And it’s obvious that Ubuntu is the defacto for desktop use these days as well as the most popular among he vocal enthusiasts.

    It’s all the places that the stats are gathered where Ubuntu shines: blogs, social networks, forums, podcasts, etc.

    The Red Hat’s, SuSEs, CentOSs, etc. of the world are used far more by the large silent majority of big and medium enterprise, telcos and ISPs. Hardware certification from IBM, HP & Dell, application certification from the likes of Oracle, SAP and JBoss and the enabling tools from places like and Amazon EC2 means that there is a place for these distros for a long time yet to come.

    Add to this that these days Yum or You are pretty much ubiquitous and do pretty much everything apt does..

  13. James D Says:

    Red Hat, Been there done that, It was cool.

    Ubuntu is where I am now. Thanks to alien i don’t miss any of my dearest RPMs. Truth is if you gunna run linux you gunna know how to open the terminal window and get a ting or two done. That is just the way it is.

    Debian has been there from go and is alive and well ….hmmm and so is red hat. The question is how many flavors are in the microsoft world.

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