Whose Linux do you use?

Whose Linux do you use?

Summary: Estimating the "market share" (more appropriately mindshare) of various Linux distributions is difficult and, some say, fairly useless.

TOPICS: Open Source

Linuc Penguin ComputingWhose Linux are you using? (I find this particular penguin, from Penguin Computing, to be cute.)

That is, which distro do you or your company depend upon?

Estimating the "market share" (more appropriately mindshare) of various Linux distributions is difficult and, some say, fairly useless.

The best way to do this is through a survey. Those who choose to answer are counted, we assume people are answering truthfully.

Two recent surveys show markedly different results.

Evans Data released a survey of developers in April. It indicates non-commercial, free versions of Linux are gaining traction.   John F. Andrews, COO of Evans Data, said in a press release that the cost and ease of updates were becoming more important than the support claimed by outfits like Red Hat.

A user survey from Desktop Linux, meanwhile, painted a markedly different picture. It found a very tight race among Mandrake, Debian, RedHat, SUSE and Gentoo, all with around 15% of the desktop market. The survey concluded its readers were quick to switch, meaning no lead is ever a safe one.

DistroWatch, meanwhile, just counts traffic to the home pages of various distro offerings. They have Ubuntu in the lead, followed by Mandrake, Fedora and MEPIS.

The key question is, does this matter? You run the distro that best meets your needs. You may care most about support, about updates, about new features, or about a specific feature set, like local language support. The learning curve you face in moving among distros is not great, and the cost of change will vary depending on the size of your installation.

What I'm interested in, right now, is learning more about what folks who run Linux want in a distribution, what they think may be lacking in the software they use, and what they would like to see improved. I expect answers here to be all over the map, because everyone is different. But it's a good place to start after a long holiday weekend.

Topic: Open Source

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  • I'll go first:

    Gentoo, at home and work. I like the ease of updates, and customized builds for each system. I don't like that fact that getting a lot of hardware working is tougher than on some other distros, and considerably tougher than Windows.
    Real World
    • Forgot to mention

      The documentation rocks!
      Real World
  • Debian

    Debian for the past 9 years.
    It was Slackware for the 2 years before that.
  • debian sarge

    I use debian sarge, and have both 2.4.27 and
    2.6.11 running on two different machines. A
    pIII runs the 2.4 and I have been setting it up
    for a proxy server/web server with apache.The
    PIII was straightforward, although it doesn't
    like the 2.6 version of sarge. I also
    have an Athalon on a asus motherboard running 2.6
    for my desktop, with gimp, open office,and kde.
    The desktop is great, it supports my dual
    monitors, and most everything works except the
    sound card (nvidia) which is a piece of crap
    anyway (onboard sound, believe me I will never
    buy nvidia stuff again, even the windows
    implementation of the sound control is totally
    hosed, with the board oscillating constantly if
    the sound panel is open, which doesn't work other
    than a gain control.)
    The worst part about debian is the
    documentation,I am at somewhat of an impasse
    customizing things (partially a function of my
    lack of formal Unix/linux training),
    although the installation is a snap over the
    I have learned to use the apt-get method and it
    always works. I have never had aptitude working
    properly (well it worked once). It did take some
    time before the distro caught up with the athalon
    setup (I tried in vain for 6 months to get it to
    work) but I am extremely pleased with it now. The
    NTFS file system is problematic since I can't
    access my music files. I have a dual boot setup
    which is switched through bios. ( The sata drives
    contain windows, the ide has linux) Windows does
    continually try to reformat the linux drive
    (which after crashing both installs, I have
    learned what I can and cannot do) In all it has
    been a real education FOR FREE (well, the price
    of dsl) in both windows and Linux, as I now have
    a REAL understanding of what is going on, and not
    just pretty pictures with check boxes. It would
    be nice if there were a better system to install
    drivers, and drivers that would work for all my
    peripherals, perhaps further down the road.
    • debian sarge

      If you haven't already,
      try "synaptic" for package management.

      • And for sound....

        Make sure you have alsa-base installed - it sorted the oscillations out for me after a restart.
        • And for sound....

          Install a 2.6.x kernel image package and run "alsaconf".

          This will configure almost all sound cards.

          Make sure each user is in the "audio" group.

          adduser joeblowuser audio

          Unmute your mixer.
          • Wow! You linux dudes....

            ...sure love doing things the hard way.

            In FreeBSD, you just add the line snd_driver_load="YES" to your /boot/loader.conf and sound works. No alsa, no kernel hacking, no 'audio' group...it just works.
          • Wow! You linux dudes....

            Recent debian installers usually configure sound automatically.
  • My favourite Penguin? Pablo

    A few years ago I liked Caldera best by far - mainly because the default set up prety much matched up with my preferences.

    After that ended I used SuSe and then Debian.

    Today, however (courtesy of my three year old) my
    favorite penguin of all time has to be Pablo - he's in the middle of the picture -here:

    I don't know who wrote that stuff, but "me too!."

    And, yes, as you know, I think there should be a serious effort to count installs.
  • Mandriva

    I used to use DeadRat (I have a copy of version 2.0!). But its tools were basic, and no sense of GUI PLUS they stopped giving it away for free (I DID buy the "Powertools" distros from CheapBytes for 20 bucks).

    I've used Mandrake (Mandriva) for about 6 years now. Their DrakX toolkit is well done. I can do what I want and the tools actually help - instead of getting in the way. When I need to compile or alter the system, the directories are laid out in a very similar way to UNIX (UNLIKE Debian), so I know where to look for things. Mandriva is very reliable, and stays up and running for months at a time.
    Roger Ramjet
  • I use several

    SuSE 9.3 Pro
    Ubuntu 5.04
    Mepis 3.3
    Mandriva 10.1
    (Not really Linux but hey...)FreeBSD 4.5
    Slackware 10.0

    I use the variety so I can maintain familiarity for support reasons. I am not putting newbs on Ubuntu installs, starting to move away from SuSE. Not sure what's going on with them, but for some reason it seems to me the quality of SuSE has been falling off since Novell got them. Sad too, I really liked them.
    Linux User 147560
  • I use..

    I try to install and use all I have the time for. But I started on FreeBsd and Slackware. Then moved to Redhat. I started a Mom and Pop dial-up ISP on Redhat and Slackware with an OpenBSD firewall and Radius server.

    Today I use Fedora core 4 and I love it! KDE 3.4 just rocks! My kids use Cobind (a fedora core). I have DeLi(slackware 7.1 base) on an old Laptop. I still use OpenBsd too and just downloaded the new PC-BSD.

    I turn New users on to Ubuntu, Linspire, Cobind and Mandriva.

    People expect things to work just as they would in windows and they should. Somethings are still hard to manage (for newbies) like getting plugins installed. Infact I wrote my own help files to send people who need help. Other than that I think the Linux desktop is moving along just fine.
    • installs

      Hwere is a link to a linux mag that is tracking installs: http://www.tuxmagazine.com/
  • Planet CCRMA, FC3 & FC1

    FC1 on my server, FC3 for one workstation and an Redhat/Fedora-based distro called Planet CCRMA (hosted at Stanford) on my main media workstation. The Planet CCRMA collection offers several low-latency kernel builds that are killer for folks like me who do (among lots of other stuff) audio/video recording and editing. Plus just an amazing assortment of AV packages. If it's audio or video and runs on Linux, they've packaged it.

    Not sure why I've gone with Fedora. I'm sure there are better distros, but I appreciate the large number of repositories online which serve up Fedora-oriented RPMs (although most of my repos seem to also cater to the Debian folks as well).
    • Been using RedHat for

      10 years now. Why? Cause it works the way I expect it to. I'm sure other distros are just as good, but the ones I've tried just didn't fit as well as RedHat.
  • Who's Linux...

    Please try to understand that we are not dependent on any Linux. With Linux we are free!

    The most used by me and my employer is Debian - Debian Sarge for the moment. We are not depending on it though. We will and can use any of available distributions as long as it is Linux!
  • Who's Linux? The first one to run AutoCAD and MS Office.

    It it can't handle those two it's useless to me.
    • Take a look...

      Autocad on some version of RedHat (notice the Excel link on the desktop, too!):

      And on SuSE 9.1:

      Word XP (can't tell the distro, but it's the BlackBox window manager):

      Excel 2000

      I run Office 2000 (including ODBC connections to a remote SQL server), Photoshop 6, Pro/Engineer, Easy Translator (a human language translator), a few of the bargain-bin Windows programs, and a handful of 3-D games using Wine. It's not as difficult to set up as people say, and the programs run faster than on Windows.

      Crossover Office by Code Weavers is a nice, pre-configured and customized Wine installation with some nice configuration tools.
      Hugh Jass
      • Question for you

        Would you know of a linux system that can run like terminal services on win2k/2003 or citrix? As well as run the apps you listed above?