Perhaps the most popular of all Linux desktop sites, DistroWatch went down over the July 4 weekend.
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."
"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 distrowatch.com 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 distrowatch.com 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.
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 distrowatch.com domain shortly after that."