Linux's DistroWatch site stumbles

Linux's DistroWatch site stumbles

Summary: UPDATED. DistroWatch, one of the most popular Linux desktop sites, stumbled over the July 4 weekend. The site's management has told ZDNet that they expect the site to return shortly.


Perhaps the most popular of all Linux desktop sites, DistroWatch went down over the July 4 weekend.

The popular desktop Linux site, DistroWatch, is currently down.

DistroWatch went down because of an issue with its domain register. This would not be the first, nor last, time an important site went down because of a such a problem. The website's last update, a listing for the new version of Scientific Linux, was posted on July 4. 

According to DistroWatch's main writer and editor Jesse Smith: "There was a problem with the domain registrar (which is a separate company from our hosting provider) which caused the domain to lapse."

Smith added that its backup domain,, continues to work. Officially, DistroWatch's domain doesn't expire until July 3, 2018.

"This isn't a payment problem, rather a miscommunication with the domain registrar," Smith added.

In the latest DistroWatch News, Ladislav Bodnar, who founded the site in mid-2001, added:

"As many of you noticed, the domain name was suspended by the domain's registrar, Doteasy, last Sunday. I don't want to go into details about what exactly happened as it's a long and boring story. Suffice to say that I feel grossly aggrieved by the series of greedy and even malicious actions taken by Doteasy and as soon as I get this sorted out, I will be looking into transferring the domain name to another registrar."

Afterwards, as the Domain Name System (DNS) is updated, DistoWatch will return. 

DistroWatch, which tracks all Linux desktop distributions as well as many server and mobile distributions, is a one-stop destination for Linux fans. The site also covers other Unix-related operating systems such as BSD and Solaris.

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On the site, each distribution is given a chart. These charts present a brief summary of the distro, its history, all its software packages listed in extreme detail, and links to all significant reviews.

DistroWatch is ranked as the 10,897th most popular website in the world by Alexa. While Bodnar stopped doing major editorial work on the site in 2008, he is still the site's maintainer.

Bodnar, from the former Czechoslovakia, is a metallurgical engineer, and has been a Linux user since 1999. In a 2005 interview, he explained that the idea for DistroWatch came from when he worked for the open source company Linpus Technologies.

Bodnar said in the interview:

"My boss asked me to compile a feature list of all the main distributions on the market so that we can compare them with our own product. This was an easy task, I thought, and started searching the web for the information. To my surprise, I couldn't find any good and up-to-date Linux distribution comparison charts, so I had to do all the work myself by visiting each distribution's website and extracting all the data from their web pages. This took me several days. Once I collected the data, I decided to put them up on a webpage so that those who might need such information can get it easily. The page proved very popular right from the start and I soon found myself flooded with email and suggestions. I registered the domain shortly after that."

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Topics: Networking, Enterprise Software, Linux

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  • distrowatch is alive and well ...

    George Mitchell
    • Yes, it's finally back!

      I was going to ask SJVN what he knew, and lo, here is his article.
      • Looks like they changed from .COM to .ORG

        That would explain it... Ben
        • The article states that

          .com is down, but their backup site, .org is still up.
          Iman Oldgeek
  • Too many Hits for the Server to cope with perhaps ?

    The masses are switching to Linux and OS X.
    • You didn't read the article.

      The issue was the DNS name registration lapsed, due to a lack of communication between the company hosting the site and registar. Nothing wrong with the server themselves or Distro Watch.
  • Maybe they are just busy

    re-compiling the kernels !
    • Wise Man Once Said

      Better to keep ones mouth shut and thought of as a fool rather than opening your mouth and removing all doubt.
      Stoic Nietzschean
  • Distrowatch is a portal into the cacophony that is Linux

    It continues to boggle my mind that there are so very many Linux distros. So much parallel effort to do this installer or that one, or to do this "lightweight" desktop or that one. Do we really need 9 or 10 various Linux desktops? Do we really need all these installers. For all the good innovation that comes from the Linux open-source world, there seems to be a lot of wasted effort. Saying to someone "Just use Linux" points out the absurdity of it all. Because that someone will either ask "Which one?" or throw up her hands in total confusion over the many choices.

    Having said this, I do find several specialized Linux distros to be very very useful.
    • What's wrong with choice?

      Seems someone at Microsoft forgot about that with Windows 8. Let me see. Microsoft had a Starter Edition, Home Edition, Home Premium Edition, Enterprise Edition, Professional Edition and an Ultimate Edition. WOW!! BOGGLING!! Yet somehow people used which one they needed. Mainly the Pirated Edition. /s
      Arm A. Geddon
      • One more thing...

        I use a variety of OSes and the ones that are being released now are FLAT and BORING!! OSes are in a state of regression...not progression!!
        Arm A. Geddon
        • yeah... I've noticed that too

          There's only one distro I've tried lately that was surprisingly different and exciting to dig in to; Manjaro.

          Linux is developing well in the kernel and driver areas lately, but that's not readily apparent. The desktops environments aren't changing much beyond bug squashing and finishing up tools, widget sets and the like. Also not really obvious.

          I've benefited from recent kernel changes in the wireless department, I have dealt with dozens of machines that only ran wifi in distributions I didn't want to use. (that is give to the customer) Fedora almost always recognized wireless.

          Now, so far as the distro has a recent version of networkmanager and a cutting edge kernel, wifi shouldn't be a problem. eg Mageia 4 runs wifi on my wife's laptop, whereas Mageia 2 and 3 didn't. There's a few other examples; arch and debian are running wifi now on machines they hadn't before.

          I agree the look and feel of just about every distro seems stale, but I see that as a good thing. The DEs are stable and completed enough that more energy can be applied to things like open source drivers, stabilizing and speeding up the kernel, arguing over wayland vs the monolith :) etc, etc...
    • Perhaps not...

      ...but it's probably better to let the market regulate the number of distros than to set artificial limits.
      John L. Ries
      • Market regulates Linux distros

        The market regulates Linux distros, but that message does not come through to the all the splinter groups doing their own lightweight distro superior to all the others. But one of the most fundamental problems with the use of Linux on the desktop remains "Which one?" Yeah, Windows 8 offers its own 10-or-so choices, but they all have the same look-and-godawful-Metro-feel. There are literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of combinations of Linux distros and desktops. Me, with a bit of experience, I use maybe six of them regularly. But take your average unwashed XP user looking to make a switch and what do you tell her?
        • The unwashed XP user will type "Linux" into their favorite search engine

          And the first page of results will include:
          Redhat, Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, and maybe a couple more distros.

          In other words, the completely new-to-Linux person will end up choosing one of most mainstream distros even if they don't know it.
        • check out Manjaro...

          it's a rolling release, a HUGE benefit to former windows users.

          Installing things seems daunting at first, but I learned if you just accept default settings (ie don't edit any of the config files when prompted) things install just fine. (it's based on Arch, so "install" does mean "compile" in this case... an invite to a field day for LD....)
    • Do we really need

      100 different car models? 50 choices of bread? 1000s of movies? Linux allows everyone to find the distro that suits them perfectly, and, if such doesn't exist, to make one.

      How would you feel if tomorrow the only cars available were Yugos, the only bread available was Wonder Bread, and the only movie available was "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians"?
      Iman Oldgeek
      • Psychologists with their infinite wisdom...

        Psychologists with their infinite wisdom have done all manner of studies that indicate that too much choice is not necessarily good. And the metaphor of Linux and movies is too easily debunked.
        • Psychologists with their infinite wisdom...

          Have also been shown to be wrong as often as they are right.