Most Popular Linux Distribution of 2009

By Ali Hammad Baig on 3:01 AM

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We have reached the end of the first quarter of 2009. We would like to look at how the Linux distributions performed up to now. We will see the shares of the major distros and their performance in 3, 6 and 12 month periods. Jump right in to see how your favorite distribution performed this year.


Ubuntu, openSuSE, Mandriva, Fedora, Debian, distrowars, mine is better than yours. Newcomers, intermediate users, advanced users, kernel hackers, switchers from Windows, dual-booters, servers, workstations, desktops...

We were approaching the end of 2009 with all these discussions continuously going on in the forums (to nowhere basically), but who is to decide for the Distros at the end? Of course the public is. Here we have the results for the major distributions.

The data have been compiled from Distrowatch as of April 1, 2009 and was based on average page hits per day for the specified period. This gives us the information about the popularity of the distributions.


Ubuntu, the famous Debian based distribution, tops the list and (the numbers presented include all derivatives like Kubuntu, Fluxbuntu etc) which is not surprising. Since the first release Ubuntu is always taking its place in the top three. It's very easy to download, install and use. The download is one CD which is actually a Live CD, meaning that you do not need to install the system on your computer. Place the CD in your CD/DVD tray and boot your computer from the optical drive and you are ready for your Ubuntu experience. When the system runs from the CD it does not make any changes to your system. However all the configuration's that you make while running the live CD are not applied and are not lost when you shut down your computer. The software installation and package management is fantastic, thanks to Debian package management system (apt: advanced package tool). The distribution is a community distribution, sponsored by Canonical. It is suitable for a wide range of users, from newcomers to advance users and there is also a server edition available. Ubuntu is released twice a year in April and October. The current stable version is 9.04 codenamed Jaunty Jackalope and the next release will be 9.10 codenamed Karmic Koala. Users have the option to install Ubuntu inside their existing Windows installation just like any other program, or migrate their documents and settings thanks to the WUBI installer.


openSUSE another community distribution sponsored by Novell takes the second place without surprise. OpenSUSE again is an easy install and use system. One of the competencies of the distribution is the graphical installation and configuration utility, called YaST (Yet Another Setup Tool). YaST allows the user to configure almost everything about their system; from printers, bluetooth devices, modem to partioning without going deep in the configuration files and editing them manually. OpenSUSE also has another application called AppArmor which is a security measure against online and offline threats. AppArmor manages policies for each application, which system resources can access a particular application. Software installation is done with YaST which is easy and powerful as Ubuntu. This is one of the distributions that newcomers can install. As well as for IT Pros to use to deploy their servers. OpenSUSE is released twice a year and comes in a DVD. OpenSUSE is also available in a box set containing a printed user guide, plus 90-days of installation support. The latest release is 11.1 and includes an experimental Remote Desktop Server, which is worth a look.

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