Top Linux and open-source programs survey results

Top Linux and open-source programs survey results

Summary: LinuxQuestions' annual members choice survey is in and the top Linux distributions and open-source programs are sometimes quite surprising


LinuxQuestions, a leading Linux fan and user support site, has just completed its annual members choice survey to see which Linux distributions and open-source programs are the most popular and the results may surprise you.

The LinuxQuestions annual survey is in and the results are an interesting mix.

For starters, guess which Linux distribution is the most popular according to LinuxQuestions members? DistroWatch, the popular site that monitors all Linux distributions, shows Linux Mint as being the most popular of current distributions. But, that's not the one most favored by LinuxQuestions' folks.

Instead, Slackware is LinuxQuestions' desktop distribution of the year with 20.59% of the vote. "Slackware!?" Many of you are probably asking. "What's that?" Slackware is one of the oldest Linux distributions that's still in production. It was perhaps the first truly popular Linux distribution and it started in 1993. Today, it's not that well known... except in hard core Linux fan circles. In second and third place Mint and Ubuntu were duking it out.

When it comes to the Linux desktop interface, KDE is the number once choice, followed by Xfce. GNOME, once the favorite. has dropped to third place, and its close relative, Cinnamon, is rapidly gaining on it.

For the top server Linux distributions, Debian came out on top. For a group that so strongly supported Slackware that can come as no surprise. Here, Slackware came in second and CentOS, the popular Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) clone took third.

This vote reflects fannish appeal rather than business deployments. While Debian always has its supporters and CentOS is a popular choice for Web hosting companies, RHEL, as Red Hat's ever growing numbers shows, is still the giant of Linux server distributions.

Other results were not so surprisingly. When it comes to mobile devices Android is the top operating system choice.

It's also interesting to note that while Fedora and openSUSE are abandoning MySQL for MariaDB, LinuxQuestions members still favor MySQL. They also prefer Postgresql, sqlite, and Firebird over MariaDB. On the NoSQL front, MongoDB), to no surprise, is the leading database management system (DBMS).

When it comes to office suites, though, the LinuxQuestions readers are in agreement with the Linux distributors. LibreOffice, not OpenOffice, is now the open-source office suite of choice by a wide majority.

For browsers, Firefox may no longer be as popular as it once was in most circles, but the LinuxQuestions crew still likes it. Google's Chrome, and its pure open-source brother Chromium are in second and third.

Would you believe that a Microsoft product also took a top spot on a Linux application list? Believe it. Skype, yes Microsoft's Skype for Linux, is, by a vast majority, Linux's most popular Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) program. Who knew!?

Finally, I also think it's noteworthy that when it comes to virtualization, LinuxQuestions' crew prefer Oracle's VirtualBox over Linux's own native KVM.

Taken all-in-all, I found this survey's results to be quite interesting. On one side, the results are very old-school Linux—Slackware and Debian—but at the same time, the survey respondents clearly aren't locked into the way Linux was in the 90s or 00s—LibreOffice, Skype and VirtualBox.

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Topics: Linux, Browser, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software

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  • I love Slackware

    I configured few university networks back in '95 and '96 using it. I had a choice of using either RedHat or Slackware at that time, and I preferred Slackware for its simplicity.
    Ram U
    • So do I

      It's more work to set up and you may end up compiling some packages yourself (which is what Slackbuilds are for), but you don't get the massive web of dependencies you get with Red Hat or Debian. It's also easy to maintain once it is set up.
      John L. Ries
      • Thats what I figured out. May be I should use Slackware again

        on one of home system. I have Free BSD and PC Mint running on that. I moved away from Ubuntu to PC Mint, I think I should bring the engineer back and use Slackware. I tried PCLinuxOS, but I didn't like it in between.
        Ram U
      • And there it is!

        "It's more work to set up and you may end up compiling some packages yourself "

        • Loverock-Davidson.. shows you can't read or you comprehend..........

          He said ...1995 and 1996.....the response was to that and you take out of context and spew some FUD....typical Loverock Davidson post................
          Over and Out
        • But you don't have to compile the kernel or core libraries...

          ...unless you really want to (Pat does it for you). I was talking about stuff that's not part of the distro... mostly applications.
          John L. Ries
        • Welcome to the Linux Club

          @Loverock: '"It's more work to set up and you may end up compiling some packages yourself " Thanks!'

          You're very welcome! Glad to see you love Linux too.
        • So with Linux you have the freedom to do it the way you want

          You can pick a distro where compiling from source is cleanly supported by the system admin tools (like SlackWare), or a distro where you NEVER have to compile from source (like *buntu, OpenSUSE, etc.).

          What's your point? Choice is bad?

          Nm, you're just a troll, I keep forgetting.
        • Slackware is not for the everyday or occassional user, such as yourself

          Lovey, you truly are a piece of work gone wrong. You must know, perhaps you don't, that the average user can get by very nicely with Ubuntu or Mint, without ever having to compile anything or using the terminal to run sudo commands. What's nice about Linux is that it (except for gnome 3) is much more configurable than Windows, which is for the geeks, not the common user. Almost lunch time, I hear your Mom calling you.
  • Debian rocks!

    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • I like .deb over .rpm

      I am not sure why industry went with .rpm over .deb anyway, I think I just can't understand.
      Ram U
      • The really nice thing about Slack-style tarballs... how easy they are to create. I do need to figure out how to create RPMs and DEBs real soon, but I'm not looking forward to it.
        John L. Ries
        • I agree.

          Ram U
        • I doi with

          checkinstall & fakeroot
          As for the kernel( yes LoveRock!!!), it's the debian kernel make, called not surprisingly make-kpkg
  • i hope KVM will be more mature in the future and specially

    waiting for LXC to gain more features but for now both of them seem kind of immature and at least for desktop usage between three most notable products VMware, KVM (virt-manager) and VB i too prefer oracle virualbox !
    • KVM internals are about as mature - but GUI tools still maturing

      It's still more work to setup a KVM solution, for the casual user, because the GUI management and administration tools just aren't quite at the level you'd want yet. GNOME Boxes looks to be addressing that (and works whether you're using GNOME or not).
  • OpenSuse Rules

    Just get all that KDE goodness.
    Alan Smithie
  • If Slackware is the most popular,

    and as Steven admits Slackware is known mostly to the hardcore fans, perhaps it means that Linux at this level is imploding. If the most popular is the most hard core, that spells trouble.
    • If Slackware is the most popular,

      I thought you weren't threatened by Linux? but here you are yet again... strange isn't it.

      Oh and if you actually took the time to read the article you would of seen this "DistroWatch, the popular site that monitors all Linux distributions, shows Linux Mint as being the most popular of current distributions."
      • To the insecure guzz46

        You should take some tranks. All this screaming about insecurity is really wearing on your lack of cred.

        As a paid Linux shill, you should know when to back off. Being paid is the only possible explanation for the lame, ludicrous comments. then again, you follow Steven like lemmings follow their leader, right off the cliff.