Which Linux distribution do you use most frequently?

We're collecting this data to run in an upcoming issue of Linux Journal. We encourage you to leave comments here letting us know why you use the Linux distribution you do. Let your voice be heard! Heads up: we may print your comment in the magazine (if you don't want your comment printed, please let us know that within the comment itself).
Arch Linux
7% (758 votes)
2% (219 votes)
8% (922 votes)
8% (879 votes)
4% (457 votes)
6% (626 votes)
2% (172 votes)
12% (1323 votes)
4% (491 votes)
Red Hat
1% (123 votes)
4% (432 votes)
Ubuntu (any flavor, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, etc.)
29% (3220 votes)
Yellow Dog Linux
0% (10 votes)
Puppy Linux
2% (184 votes)
Linux Mint
9% (950 votes)
Other (let us know with a comment)
2% (245 votes)
Total votes: 11011


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Another flame war?

Anonymous's picture

Please, don't start a flame war, who told you that they have to forgive? do you know the sorry state they left PCLinuxOS when they'd leave? the things they said about members of the PCLinuxOS group? did you know that the same night they published their version it had to be changed because WiFi don't worked?

I think you don't

Leave the things as they are now, is better for all

Linux is not all Old Men compiling, CLI and Terminal typing

Anonymous's picture

Time to take your Meds, GranPa. Then its Beddy-Bye. You can use your 486 to compile Gentoo from source again tomorrow when the Visiting Nurse comes.


Gustavo Leal's picture

Zenwalk is my favourite!

It is fast, responsive, complete, stable, small, compatible, configurable, powerful and easy to use.

Zenwalk is best for homeuse

Anonymous's picture

1. very fast, very usable, and very beautiful;
2. plays mp3s out of the box;
3. slackware-based, so inherits its lengendary stability & configurability;
4. comes with complete development tools and libs &headers, and fits on a single CD.


Anonymous's picture

I've tried several different distributions, all with different package management systems, installation routines and configuration tools, but I find Debian is most likely to give me the system I want - rock solid dependability with Stable branch; Testing offers newer apps and remarkably little breakage; Sid gives you a full rolling release distro, which in my experience doesn't cause me as many headaches as Arch or (especially) Gentoo.

I also like certain Debian-derived distributions - I was very happy to hear about Crunchbang Linux moving to Debian Squeeze sources. I'm using Alpha 1, and it's absolutely brilliant. Thus demonstrating both the ingenuity of Corenominal (head honcho at #!) and the adaptability of Debian, as an OS.

Salix OS

Akuna's picture

The best of both world: the power, simplicity & stability of a true Slackware with XFCE, localized GUI system tools & package dependency management.

archlinux - my comment

Anonymous's picture

After many years of experience with some of the most famous distributions (mostly Debian, Gentoo) I appreciate the "keep it simple stupid" way in archlinux. It's a rolling release and you get the latest updates (like in Debian SID) very quickly and it runs fast!

I think people who like Debian and/or Gentoo (like me) find the best compromise with archlinux. For me it's the best distribution since over a year now and i use it on several workstations and servers.

Debian Preference

Anonymous's picture

The reasons I like Debian for are as follows:
Stability,numerous packages in its repository,Apt which makes installing packages and their dependencies a breeze,numerous choices as to which desktop environment I want to use,I do not even need to install a D.E. I can use a window manager like Openbox on a minimal install with my choice of software applications.

The bottom line is freedom of choice with a rock solid distro which equals to Joy.

GNU Linux Distribution

currix's picture

I work in an academic environment and my first contact with Linux took place long time ago. The first distribution I installed by myself was Slackware. I was acting as sysadm with a colleague in the University department where we were graduate students. We soon moved from Slackware to Debian. The first install we did was Debian 2.0 Hamm and we have kept loyal to Debian ever since.

The nice part is that still today, so many years later, I feel amazed by how nicely things work under Linux, and I guess how would be my professional life if I were still trapped between Windows 3.1 and a VMS console. Linux has brought a lot of advantages. And a lot of fun. In particular, I like the philosophy behind the Debian distribution, nicely resumed in the motto I saw in a t-Shirt: when code matters more than commercials...

Apart from the servers and desktop systems (all of them happily running Debian), from time to time we allow ourselves to flirt with Ubuntu when we have to get a laptop rid of proprietary software.



"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there"

L. P. Hartley

same plan every day, Pinky

Anonymous's picture

... using Linux every day on the job: PRICELESS. Whether you're in a Dentists office or a Studio or a University, people need to know: Linux Works.


Anonymous's picture

I started out with Suse, but grew tired of doing a completed install every time I wanted to upgrade to the latest version of the OS. Eventually I found sidux. I really enjoy having the latest updates, and bleeding edge software. Even though sidux is based on Debian Sid, it's incredibly fast and stable. I've always prefered KDE to Gnome, and I feel that sidux is the best and most stable KDE distro available.

Ubuntu ftw

tjdomingue's picture

I have been using Ubuntu since version 8.04, with a recent shift over to KDE. I haven't been installing Kubuntu, just installing the package after a regular Ubuntu install. Ubuntu may be for Linux newcomers (and a great choice for that) but it still offers powerful tools for customization and functionality. I produce music and videos and have found many useful tools that are easily installed from the Ubuntu repos. Their (now deprecated) "Add/Remove Software" and the latest "Ubuntu Software Center" make finding software a snap. And those don't nearly cover all the .deb packages available from third-party providers. On top of all this, the standard Linux processes for building and installing are available as well. Synaptic is an excellent way of searching and installing dependencies. I have tried other distros including Mint, Gentoo, Fedora and openSuse, and have found all the same functionality but with more confusing processes for installing software and packages. Also, the fact that Ubuntu is probably the most used distro for home users makes finding documentation for any problem very easy. More than likely someone else has had the same problem. I also recently started a home web/file server with an old (old old) Pentium Pro. I considered CentOS or FreeBSD but when I tested them virtually, their usability for my purpose was found to be more trouble than it was worth. With Ubuntu Server, I am able to chose exactly what software to install (i.e. not much because of hardware limitations). But simple LAMP setup is extremely easy, as well as controlling the server from either my desktop or netbook (both dual booting Ubuntu/UNR and Windows 7/XP). In conclusion, Ubuntu may be "for the newbies" but why waste time trying to compile a software from source when there is a .deb package already made that functions almost exactly like a .exe file in Windows? I am also working on compiling my own kernel with the real-time patch, which unfortunately cannot be done the "old fashioned way" but there is plenty of documentation for kernel compiling on any version of Ubuntu.

in 2010...

Anonymous's picture

...hasn't virtualization made dual-booting obsolete? PCLOS would have "taught" you that a long time ago. What apps are you using for the music and video production?

Not neccessarily. depending

shiny666's picture

Not neccessarily. depending on the hardware, and virtualization choices available (cost, license, ease of use...), the performance still may not be par with the production needs, nor may the cost of configuration. (keep in mind that time is a cost, as is IT experience, manhours...) Also, afaik, there is still some progress to be made with acceleration, video in particular. Moreover, if sound or video are processed at newer/industry-leading standards, note that better performance might be available using native drivers where most development for proprietary hardware is focused, and that also is unfortunately mostly windows-oriented to date. Windows, being quite bloated even after much liberal configuration, can be costly to run as a guest os, so note that disk space, available ram, bus bandwidth, and other limiting factors may rule out or at least restrict the virtualized guest options. Unless you're talking high-end large-scale virtualization setups, and in that case, feel free to donate. (no offense, just hoping for that or some lottery winnings.)

Virtualization is good, but I

Anonymous's picture

Virtualization is good, but I still need the full power of Ableton, Reason & Cubase in Windows. And running them under wine isn't stable enough to do this.

well, sometimes when it

Anonymous's picture

well, sometimes when it comes to audio hardware, Ubuntu does not always provide an easy answer. I had a lot of trouble building drivers for my Layla 24/96 interface, but eventually everything worked. As far as virtualization goes, I prefer to squeeze the most out of my PC because I use it for live performance as well. So having to reduce memory for a virtual machine just doesn't make sense when I'm trying to run 5 or 6 soft synths at a time. Granted, the only reason I have a legitimate version of 7 is because I sat through an all day Microsoft seminar. If I had not done that, I more than likely would not have bought it. As far as software, for audio I use Audacity, Chuck (Audicle), SuperCollider and more recently Qsynth, Freewheeling, and Hypercyclic (thanks to Linux Journal). And for video I use KdenLive and Ktoon. I've been working on Blender as well, but I have not had enough time to develop something useful in it.

ArtistX, based on Ubuntu,

Anonymous's picture

ArtistX, based on Ubuntu, with just about everything for creative work pre-installed.

It was the only distro that easily recognised the hardware of a new computer in a bare-metal install and, once installed, it has grown on me constantly.

Upgraded from 8.10 to 9.04 without any problems and I just love it.

getting the torrent now

Anonymous's picture

I'm always looking for new software to use the music (Rackarrack Rocks), photography (showFoto/Krita tie for 1st), and video (Kdenlive Rules).

Finally, someone on here that actually USES a Linux PC for getting things done in the Real World... and with new hardware at that!

Linux is kickin' it in the creative fields. Thanks for turning us onto another avenue for expression.


Anonymous's picture

sidux is the best for me since christmas 2007.


I use ubuntu !

Anonymous's picture

Coz I think ubuntu brings a breath of freshness into the linux desktops, like something never seen before, before I tried this my linux experience was mostly with Red Hat and Fedora and I used to think they were the best, but how wrong I was !! When I first tried ubuntu that was '6.10', it surprised me with many things and mainly with the following things:

1. Just one CD for installation, boot up and this also includes a live CD, a major shift from fedora -- which would need anywhere upto 5 cds for installation and at ay point in time one of the Cds would be corrupted and u need to burn the CDs again, some times even burning all the CDs from an ISO image took me few months of time.

2. Dont have to live with non-working RPMs, for once what you've chosen to install thru either apt-get or synaptic stays installed and it works !! unlike the classic fedora way of doing things -- download RPMs, download dependencies and finally nothing works -- classics are not always desirable

3. apt-cache-search and apt-get : what a simple and yet nice and efficient way to install whatever you want.

4. Multimedia: True it does not come with the CD you need to install it as an add-on but the interface is so simple, even for downloading the copyright protected codecs, all you need to do is to check one check box.

5. Updates: You get a new release for ubuntu every six months and each new release is usually pretty much different from its predecessor and brings with it lots of new features all in one CD

6. How can I forget to mention this: you could boot an official ubuntu release from a USB pen drive, I do not know how many distributions --or how many OSes --have this feature supported but this is the tie breaker for me in many ways.

Aint the above points good enough to not only move to ubuntu, but also to stay with it, and I have stayed now for 3 years.

Having said all that above, there is one caveat too with ubuntu, that you need an internet connection to do what you want to at most of the times, the distribution CD has most of the things but not all of the things, so if you do not have a Internet connection the this Box could pretty much be useful for a paper weight.


Rip Van Winkle

Anonymous's picture

Hasn't Fedora offered LiveCD's for some time now? ...time for another nap ...zzzzzzzz

Which Linux distribution

Anonymous's picture

I use Mandriva. It is simple to configure and use. It is great for those new to Linux as well as for those very advanced with Linux. I use it as my daily desktop for work and home.

main flavor of linux

Anonymous's picture

i mainly use ubuntu, but one thing i hope to do is to learn more and be able to set up distro's like arch. but i think ubuntu would be perfect for new-comers and casual desktop computing.


Anonymous's picture

My personal preference right now is knoppix, from the newest version 6.2.1 back to 5.3.1 & Ultimate Edition 2.3 But I play a lot with most live systems, haven't used an installed system for years & have a difficult time understanding why other people use installed systems exclusively.
I realize that installed systems are sometimes nessessary eg I use Quicktax on a machine running Windows ( shame on me ) to file my taxes; but 99% of the time all I need is a live system. I can download/upload,create,save,edit & delete data as I wish. I can install or remove applications if its nessessary to do so, Knoppix actually contains almost all the application that any computer user is ever likely to need but there are still thousands of apps that can be dowloaded online, and Debian apps are ooh so easy to install. Knoppix can also be copied to a hard drive, taken apart, and rebuilt,
Customize to your hearts desire. If you break it you can start over ( is there a better way to learn ) ??
If all you want to do is to boot & play you can do that too. If you have several favorites like I do, I usually have 5 or 6 flash drives in my pockets ( because I like having choices ) then every time you look up there's going to be a new,exciting version of something. Also a live system installed on a flash drive will run as fast as an installed system, if you break it it can be fixed with a reboot. I don't concern my self with any applications prefixed with anti (antivirus, antimalware, antitrojan, etc ) I never defrag,I never need to clean out junk files,Archiving is easy as is encryption and personal identifiable information is only stored on external harddrives so I'm also not particularly concerned about firewalls.I suppose somebody could hack into my computer but I expect it would be almost as exciting as watching television in February, in Alaska,through your neighbors window.
I've been using live systems almost exclusively for nearly five years,Knoppix has served me well, I still enjoy using it and now I've added UE 2.3 to a short list of favorites,but I do still enjoy playing with other live systems including Fedora, Suse & Mepis.

Shooting fish in a barrel

Anonymous's picture

too many stereotypes confirmed in here to be real

openSuSE FTW

Anonymous's picture

I have been using SuSE and RedHat/Fedora for a while now. Actually since around 1999 i believe. I really cant go wrong with either distro but i chose SuSE because it is what i have installed on my laptop as of right now. SuSE seems to be stable, works great, easy to manage, offers a lot of options, and how can you go wrong with a Gecko? Really though i could have just chose Fedora for the same reasons minus the Gecko of course :)

I learned though using Slackware and i am thankful for it to be honest. Slackware forced me to learn the file system, what files i needed to edit to make a device do what i needed it to do, compile packages and search for tarballs i needed so i could resolve dependencies, and taught me to compile a kernel (2.2 days) to add what i needed and remove what i did not.

Unfortunately today i think that type learning has been lost. Too many people these days tend to want to learn on Ubuntu because of its ease of use and installation. The distro is great for someone who wants to have Linux and use Linux but not really be forced to learn Linux. In my opinion this type of distro doesn't teach a person how to configure Linux. It is great, however, for a person who just wants to use Linux and has no desire to be an admin over a Linux server one day.

There is always a distro that comes along that wears that crown of being "easy to use". When i started learning how to use Linux it was Mandrake or now known as Mandriva. It seemed the RedHat crowd didn't like the Mandrake crowd because Mandrake users appeared to be just "pretenders" :)

Force? ...Masochist much?

Anonymous's picture

Franz Kafka wrote this one.

sidux & Kubuntu

Anonymous's picture

I voted for Debian, because roughly it fits. Actually it's sidux which is based on Debian Sid. On my old notebook I'm using Kubuntu Lucid Beta1 at the moment. Unbeatable damn fast booting!


Anonymous's picture

Works best with multimedia HD screens.

I work in a small Dentists office in the USA

Anonymous's picture

The office that I work in since 2007 only uses desktop PCLinuxOS flavors exclusively with no dual-booting or VirtualBox. We have about 8+ towers and laptops and all of those are wireless. We also have a wired file/media/print server and a wired XBOX in the lobby. My Boss' son set it up when he was in High School and we have done everything in-house since.

All of our gear is newer and we give away the old stuff once they've been cleaned. The choice for PCLOS was because we have to WORK ALL DAY, and don't have an IT department or a Computer Guy to admin for us as we are too small and none are required with PCLOS. There were only towers when I first came here, and PCLOS also easily configured the WiFi cards, the network, and the nVidia cards in them.

The advantages the towers have over the laptops are the giant screens that we use with nvdock digital vibrance turned up to 21 and some people still use KDE 3.5 with Compiz/Fusion and AWN. I use KDE 4 with KWin widescreen and panels vertical left and right. The laptop people are generally using KDE 4 but with the LogiTech laptop stands for comfort.

Most of my work-day with the public is using Kontact. Business services use in-house GnuCash for accounting, desktop publishing in Scribus, and promo project/planning in FreeMind. We are migrating in-house Open Office for the cloud of Google Docs.

We use PCLOS-friendly HP's for desktop printing, scanning, copying purposes. After a year of working here you get a root password for using Synaptic and there is where people get spoiled and cannot use any other OS. On lunch or other breaks we can surf the Net or play games if we like. There are contests using games and a monthly "best looking desktop" award. What's forbidden is P0rn, Facebook/MySpace, Torrents, and FrostWire. We get podcasts off Amarok.

PClinuxOS has ruined the people who work here, especially the younger ones and the females with no prior PC experience. They have NO IDEA how/why their friends Windows PC's have to be "fixed", they don't know a thing about viruses and their cleaning/prevention, they think Update Notifier will clean up all the old apps on Vista and XP, and they can't figure out why Windows folk don't just go to Synaptic and "order" all the software and games that they want.

You gotta love a perfect Linux desktop OS like that.

I run my publishing business on PCLinuxOS.

Anonymous's picture

I run my publishing business on PCLinuxOS for the same reason: it just works, and gets the hell out of my way. I use GQView and Gimp for the photography, and print on an Epson R2880 printer at higher resolutions than the Windows driver even knows exist. I use KDEnLive for creating video productions, and I use Audacity for audio production. When I have to do one specific type of task I have yet to figure out how to do in Audacity, I turn to Adobe Audition in VirtualBox running on XP, but usually I don't need to. That is a problem that will be solved in the not too distant future regardless, and then I will be able to get rid of Windows completely. Running Windows in a virtual machine is a beautiful thing: it runs better, and when it kills itself, as it always eventually does, a simple click on "Revert to snapshot" fixes any problem in 30 seconds flat. No more will Redmond's demon steal my productivity or destroy my files. Using PCLinuxOS saves me a little over $6,000 a year in software costs and productivity that would otherwise be lost to ridiculous Windows maintenance BS. Definitely worth the $80 to $100 I donate each year... lets me be more productive and have more free time with much less stress and frustration, too. Priceless. I would pity all of those who insist on running Windows, but as the majority seem to want to, I don't waste the energy.

Real World, Work-A-Day scenario

Anonymous's picture

Your post is like a breath of fresh air in the midst of some of these esoteric and insular comments. Having to procure arcane knowledge just to have a working Linux desktop PC is silly and tired; no one who has to really work for a living would have the time or remaining energy required to even WANT such a desktop Albatross.

I humbly applaud the DIY'ers and the "tinkers" and they have their place and value, but people need to KNOW that a Linux distro(s) HAS conquered the desktop.

People need to know that "gnuCash" is quite comparable to "QuikBooks Pro"; that a good nVidia card w/ PCLOS' drivers and "nvDock turned up to Digital Vibrance = 21" rivals or OUTPERFORMS any Apple Monitor picture quality that you can throw at it.

People need to acknowledge the brilliance of a PCLOS desktop that can run a Real World BUSINESS and yet be so simple that a kid can set it up in an office; no IT gurus required.


Anonymous's picture

I love the way Sabayon looks and performs. I tried many other distros (linux mint is beautiful, mandriva is really awesome) but none really, for me, surpass the beauty and functionality of sabayon. On my laptop, an older machine, I installed puppy linux, particularly the puplet Lighthouse pup and for me works excellent, absolutely no complaints.

Sabayon 5.2 and Puppy

Anonymous's picture

You took the words right out of my mouth! I just discovered Sabayon 5.2 and running on live cd. I'm loving it - it's so polished. Contemplating installing it on my laptop but I'm so new to Linux and unsure if I'll be able to handle it. I'll probably do that... soon. As for Puppy, it was love at first sight. Cute, so tiny and works like a charm. I've recommended to many people with old machines. Everyday, I discover something new in Linux. How wonderful!

Thanks for that...

Anonymous's picture

Sabayon is pretty, but I have only newer hardware that it didn't get along with. Now that you mention it, I'll go back and get another copy of the LiveDVD.

Well, did you try it? I

Anonymous's picture

Well, did you try it? I finally installed it and I can tell you Sabayon Linux Gnome 5.2 is awesome (I am sure KDE is great too from what I heard)! It's the distro for me and believe me, for a real noob, it is really not as difficult as I thought it would be. People at the forum were a great help as well. Indeed you can say the distro is as wonderful as Sabayon the dessert. Enjoy! By the way, it's bleeding edge and they are really up to date. Hardware problem? I doubt.

Desktop or Server?

Anonymous's picture

I use Fedora for my desktop, and use Ubuntu LTS for all of my servers. I have a single server that I run VMWare server on with multiple Ubuntu LTS servers. Ubuntu has been the most stable platform for my servers that I have found.

I still use fedora for my desktop though. Since most of the servers at work in our data center use Redhat, I can readily make changes as the configuration is more similar to Fedora than Ubuntu.

In the end, I am just happy to have a system that is reliable and fast!

Ken Lee

Vector Linux SOHO

Anonymous's picture

Runs great on an old Dell PIII with mobo maxed out at 512MB RAM!


Anonymous's picture

Might as well have the best...

Mandriva since 1998

Anonymous's picture

Mandriva since 1998

sidux ! Hot and Spicy ! The

Anonymous's picture

sidux ! Hot and Spicy ! The best there is !


Anonymous's picture

Debian done right ;)

Why differentiate Mint and Ubuntu?

Anonymous's picture

I learned on Ubuntu but lean towards Slackware distros like Zenwalk and Salix. I use Element now because of multimedia ease on an e8400 Shuttle KPC.

i also like Unity for its boot, but am not really impressed with Mandriva or PCLinuxOS.

Purists may say Zenwalk is not Slackware, but why make Mint not Ubuntu in your list?

Just curious.

Bite your tongue

Anonymous's picture

By the same token, isn't Unity just another fork of PCLOS?

just curious.

Chevys, Fords & egos

Anonymous's picture

Precisely -- and PCLOS of Mandriva? But back to the original question . . .

Car analogy

Anonymous's picture

prob 'cause Ubuntu and Mandriva are like the Chevette and Mint and PCLOS are like the Corvette?

...all will get you from here to there; but the latter two do it in style, with A/C, and a working Stereo system?

just kidding!

Who's the Buick?

Anonymous's picture

I like that! Good reply

just done


Anonymous's picture

Since 2006.

Linux Distro in use

Anonymous's picture

sidux (with an foreign kernel from Liquorix) on 4 different machines.
Nothing better to find if you want actual working software


Reiner Schmidt


Anonymous's picture

why should i add a comment, TRY IT OUT!