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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Been using Ubuntu for several

Anonymous's picture

Been using Ubuntu for several years on several machines, but am idly looking at something a bit lighter for one of my older boxes which seems to be slogging a bit with 9.10. Seems to be getting too demanding for my old video card.

Arch for Me

Anonymous's picture

I started off with Gentoo and fell in love with the ability to intimately customize every aspect of the operating system. However, Gentoo went through a period of time where it seemed to be lacking direction and the very useful Gentoo Wiki lost its data. In that interim period, I found that the Arch wiki was able to adequately answer my configuration questions. When I realized how similar the Arch Way was to the Gentoo philosophy, I decided to give Arch a try. I still run Gentoo on some older home servers, and I do appreciate the ability to compile every package to my liking. For desktop use, however, I've found that I prefer the speed and reliability of binary packages provided by Arch. Plus, the Arch Build System gives me a way to roll my own packages and let the package manager handle them. And on the subject of package managers, pacman and portage are by far my favorites. Something about yum, yast, apt-get, and all the others just rub me the wrong way.

Ubuntu and the like are nice, polished systems, and their complete desktop integration is great for quick installs and people who just want a working system. Personally, I prefer being to choose my system components at every step. I'll stick with distros like Arch and Gentoo that make it easy to change (or completely omit) my desktop environment, sound subsystem, etc, even if that means I spend more time in my $EDITOR configuring files by hand.


Anonymous's picture

SLAX is a live linux distribution which offers a KDE 3.5 desktop without all the bloat (<200MB). You can expand its base functionality with community generated modules or roll your own.

This compels me to add that

Angel Lightbringer's picture

This compels me to add that Slax is slackware-based. I did use this for my girlfriend's computer and was really pleased of the flexibility it offered.

Arch Linux

Anonymous's picture

I switched to Arch from Ubuntu because I wanted a rolling release. I chose Arch over others for two reasons: the first is an excellent library of binary packages. The second is its amazing documentation. I haven't run into a problem yet that didn't have a wiki entry detailing exactly how to deal with it.



Anonymous's picture

I have used Debian based, and Redhat based, I favor Ubuntu/Debian, it might be that I am just more acquainted with this flavor, but they have always been stable in testing and implementing software, I don't see any need to switch.

Crunchbang #! Linux

Anonymous's picture

Crunchbang #! Linux
Couse i like it fast.
boots fast and it's not as graphicy as other distros.

fedora - familiarity

thogarty's picture

I use Fedora because I've been using Red Hat distros for years. I'm familiar with the locations and styles of most system config scripts and admin utilities. I think Ubuntu seems like a great system but majority of admin scripts and utilities are named differently and in different locations (Alternatives for yum, chkconfig, service, etc).

Red Hat has traditionally contributed significant money and jobs to the Linux community as well, we use RHEL at work to support their efforts a little. Using Fedora keeps me familiar with the RHEL style and in touch with plans for future RHEL releases.

Seems like Ubuntu is doing similar great things for the Linux community so I do recommend Ubuntu to people who have no business reason to know or be familiar with Red Hat.

RedHat at work for production

Anonymous's picture

RedHat at work for production systems, CentOS for sandbox / development systems. Fedora at home.

Linux Mint

Anonymous's picture

Ease of set up, use, good-looking design, and plenty of support. It's a great distro for getting new users used to Linux.


Anonymous's picture

We use mostly SUSE at work. I find SLES11 to be a lot faster and easier to manage than any other Enterprise class distro when it comes to large scale deployments. At home I have a Ubuntu laptop and an OpenSUSE Desktop. I flip the laptop back and forth between the latest releases of Ubuntu and Fedora just to keep current on both. I really like the fact that there are so many distros. I have read some articles in the past that blame that fact for slow adoption of Linux in some markets but honestly I believe it to be one of the greatest strengths of Linux.


Anonymous's picture

I have an aged laptop that serves me well under the Antix variant of Mepis. When I can afford something better, I may go off to mint, but I've had such a nice time with Antix that I'd likely keep it around as a fleet and svelte alternative.

Ubuntu and Debian

GBGames's picture

It's hard to say which I use more. I run a Debian machine as my main desktop/server, but my laptop runs Ubuntu. I do development mostly on my laptop, but need to use Debian when I do a release because Ubuntu libraries force my applications to depend on GLIBC_2.4. So I actively use Ubuntu more, but my Debian machine is always on and accessible when I'm away from home.

When I first started learning how to use GNU/Linux, I was fine with tweaking, learning, and spending time on it, but as I rely on it for my business these days, I find more and more I want something that Just Works(tm). I'd love to try out other distros, but I'm used to dpkg/apt-based systems and can't dedicate the time like I did a few years ago.


Chris H's picture

Have been using Zenwalk for the past year. Slackware and derivatives really fly on my creaky laptop unlike rpm distros and ubuntu derivatives.

I really like APT so I use

rg's picture

I really like APT so I use Ubuntu on my desktop and Debian on servers if I can choose the server OS.
Both distros offer lots of good software packages and good manageability. Ubuntu's clean and simple UI makes it easy to use.
For netbooks my favorites are Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Jolicloud and Moblin, because of their optimized UI and hardware support.


Peter's picture

I'm always trying different distro's. But I just keep coming back to OPenSuse. My mail server is OpenSolaris though.


Palo's picture

Ubuntu provides a solid base for a distro, and the KDE desktop is one of the greatest offerings around. Together this makes a great desktop.


Darryl's picture

I ended choosing Kubuntu after trying out Ubuntu, openSuse, Fedora, Debian, Mandriva, and Sabayon, after Freespire was dropped. I find Kubuntu to be very easy to use, and never had any problems with hardware. I especially like being able to easily install the latest packages thanks to Ubuntu's PPA's. Right now I'm testing out the 10.04 alpha and find it to be extremely stable.


spiffytech's picture

I've tried nearly every distro that reached Distrowatch's top-15 this millennium and openSUSE has proved (in my case) to be the best balance between features and up-to-date packages, and reliability. Particularly on my current laptop (Dell Inspiron e1405), distros like Ubuntu and Fedora are plagued with software crashes or even X lock-ups.

openSUSE has given me fewer problems than other mainstream distros, while remaining more up-to-date than CentOS et all. I don't ask much of Linux: not perfection, nor superiority, nor fitness for every need under the sun. All I ask is that it get the job done, and that technologies from last century (like X and sound) not fail.


Cabrera's picture


I use Jolicloud a distro for netbooks based on Ubuntu.


Anonymous's picture

I'll vote for this, as it's my primary desktop environ. I do, though, use Debian on my server.

SourceMage GNU/Linux (http://www.sourcemage.org/)

Kaze's picture

I've been using SourceMage GNU/Linux since 2003, and I'm really happy with it :)

What I love about it :
- Cool naming scheme : package manager is Sorcery, every package is a Spell, every spell is held by a Grimoire, and installing a package is called "casting a spell". That's just nice
- Rolling release : test grimoire is updated every 12 hours, stable grimoire is monthly released from test
- Spells are compiled and installed from upstream source tarball, no unneeded patch is applied
- Sorcery helps user to get what he wants when casting a spell with real questions : like "do you want xyz support ?" to enable dependency on another spell which provides xyz
- Developers' community is kind and of great helpness


qord's picture

I settled on sidux, a rolling release distro based on Debian Sid, after using SuSE for ages (versions 4.4 - 10.something IIRC) and a testing phase which included vector linux, zenwalk, *buntu, mepis and kanotix... sidux is fast, it's up to date & it has good support via the sidux-forum & irc-channel.

Not exactly a distro for the linux-newbie since things can and do go wrong in Debian Sid but most of the time it's a smooth ride :)

slackware, just KISS. you

Anonymous's picture

slackware, just KISS.
you configure it ONCE, and it runs FOREVER.

Other (let us know with a comment)

asternux's picture

Trisquel and GNewSense


cmnorton's picture

I use Ubuntu for development and then transfer to Red Hat. For continuity reasons, we use Red Hat in production, and that is forced on us by one vendor. Else, I'd use Ubuntu server.

Pardus GNU/Linux

Serdar Dalgic's picture

I'm a Pardus developer, thus I use Pardus :) Pardus is a GNU/Linux distribution funded and developed by the Scientific & Technological Research Council of Turkey.

If you check out various reviews (esp. the ones for the latest release: Pardus 2009.1 with KDE 4.3.4, Linux kernel, OpenOffice.org 3.1.1, Mozilla Firefox 3.5.7, GIMP 2.6.8, X.Org Server 1.6.5, Python 2.6.4 and many more in just one CD.), you will read many positive comments on being a well-integrated KDE based distro.

Pardus has a range of unique features, such as Mudur, a start-up framework of Pardus to speed up the boot process, and PiSi, a package management system that makes easier to deal with the packages. I really like being a part of it, so I use it. It worths to give it a try, imho.

Pardus deserves to be better known

Anonymous's picture

Merhaba, Serdar,

I just wanted to say "Thanks" (Te,sekk"ur ederim!) to you and the other Pardus developers for such a nice distro. I have been using Pardus for a couple of months and it's great. It is quickly becoming my favorite distro.

You have done an incredible job of building the distro from scratch. It's very polished and has some unique features. I decided to try Pardus after reading some comments that it has one of the best KDE 4 implementations anywhere in Linuxland.

I mentioned Pardus 2009.1 in the comment(s) I posted here and recommended that people try it. I think that if some effort -- and a little money -- were spent on promoting Pardus outside of Turkey, it would become even more popular.

Thanks again. Please let the other developers know that their work is appreciated.


Gedece's picture

I use Kubuntu, because I love the simplicity of apt-get joined to the fast release cicle and the beautifull and configurable KDE interface.

I know I could use Debian unstable, but Kubuntu's app repositories let me stay cutting edge in a few packages and more stable in others, for example I get Chromium's daily build easily, and of course, the size of the community means that I can get or offer support with ease as well.

My only wish is to get more progress in the ATI open source driver, wich works, but lacks some speed.


augmentedfourth's picture

I use CentOS every day on workstations and servers at work (I'm the admin for a few research labs at a public university). Not only is it nice and stable for enterprise use, but our most important data analysis software packages are distributed as RHEL/Cent binaries, which makes it very convenient for deployment. There's no need to use Red Hat proper... I'm paid to take care of the machines myself, so I feel it's a waste of money to depend on a support contract for the operating system.

Distributions as needed

duckie68's picture

I like Ubuntu for the great community support, but prefer a smaller footprint. CrunchBang fills both needs perfectly, though on some specific machines I'll run a purpose driven distro... network storage, media server...

Other - depends on my needs

sirj77's picture

Generally, the disto I use is ubuntu, or a distro based off ubuntu, but it depends on that I need.
My laptop runs Crunchbang Linux, based on ubuntu, because it a light and clean, but very functional OS.
Regular desktop PC's are usually Xubuntu, but I have done some dabbling with it's parent, Debian, and I like what I see in terms of performance, because no offense but ubuntu seems like it has gotten a little cluttered and bloated lately.
My cd wallet/tool box has Puppy Linux, Parted Magic, and System Rescue CD. Puppy is perfect for a quick boot to recover files of a dead windows box, or jump on the internet to download a driver for windows install (can't talk everyone into linux). Parted Magic and System Rescue fill my other needs like disk wiping and partitioning.
I still have a box running Win XP for things that I still can't do effectively with linux (my Palm TX doesn't like linux, and games), yet.

Arch Linux

Lucas Westermann's picture

The reason why, after trying all the "big" distributions, I decided on Arch Linux is simple. Of all distibutions, it's the only one that offers me the ability to build from base up, offers a binary package repository, and is always up-to-date. It also offers an easy way to create custom packages via PKGBUILDs, and a large repository of custom/user-made packages, giving the user the most flexibility and without the hastle of building from source (at least, not all the time).

This doesn't mean I don't use anything but Arch (I have VMs of most major *nix distros for testing purposes). I also write for both the Arch Linux Magazine, and Full Circle Magazine, requiring me to stay up-to-date on both distros. That being said, I've found Arch to be best suited to my needs and whims.

Ubuntu Mostly

Anonymous's picture

I've gone thru many distro's starting with yggdrasil so many years ago, did SuSE, Redhat, Slackware, etc...

Did Gentoo for a bunch of years, but that rough patch a few years back had me looking around again. I wound up trying Ubuntu for a bit.

Ubuntu is a great ready made OS, and I'll probably keep it for the simple systems. I am missing the building the system from scratch, so I'll be looking at various distros again.


Anonymous's picture

Like everyone else here, I've been through this history of distributions.

I started with SLS 1.04(?) with kernel 0.95plMumble. I migrated to Slackware as SLS 1.05 came out & withered.

I saw Debian along with Red Hat. I ran Red Hat for a long time, bouncing back to Mandrake as hardware support developed. When Fedora came out, I migrated to that.

At work, I did SunOS, Irix, HP-UX, OSF/1, Ultrix and some smaller Unixen.

I saw Solaris rise up & become good enough with 2.3. Linux was coming in at the same time. I worked at a Security company using Linux (RH 6.3) and OpenBSD.

I'm mostly Solaris 10 at work these days. I have a Linux Fedora 12 desktop. I support Red Hat 5 and will probably need to do OpenSuSE.

At home, I have an OpenSolaris (dev version) server, a Fedora server and Ubuntu on my laptop. I have an OpenBSD SSH gateway inside a VM and an OpenBSD Sparc system.