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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Not a Popularity Contest Winner

Anonymous's picture

Linux From Scratch (actually Cross-Compiled LFS), because I'm a glutton for punishment. Building several iterations of it has been a tremendous learning experience in both general Linux operations and code/compilation debugging. It's now running fine on my workstation and several house servers.

OS I use

scurveedog's picture

openSuse. MS to Linux has been a long winding and thrilling road. Don't regret 1 second of the ride. Only wish the Novell thing didn't happen.

OpenSuSE w/WindowMaker ROX!

Anonymous's picture

OpenSuSE w/WindowMaker ROX!

Gentoo user

Anonymous's picture

FWIW, I choose Gentoo 'cos

  • it's very stable (or at least when I break something I can't blame anyone but myself
  • you can choose to keep you system up to date on a weekly, monthly, yearly basis, rather than waiting for a 6-monthly or yearly refresh
  • your system has only the necessary stuff on them, avoiding distro cruft, and
  • you can selectively include bleeding edge support and then let the stable systems catch up (my AMD HW support started out all bleeding-edge, but is now almost entirely mainstream, while now I use bleeding edge video editing stuff.)

The drawback of course is the regular recompilation of monsters such as KDE and OpenOffice, but both my AMD Phenom 4-way desktop and Atom 2-way netbook are up to the challenge.


Anonymous's picture

Slackware is simple (but not simplistic), minimal (but fully formed), stable (but not stale). It just simply works.

I have used 10 distro

Anonymous's picture

I have used 10 distro mentionned here but since a year I've fallen in love with Archlinux. Simple but efficient. Love it. The only drawback is that you got to have a little background in Linux to use it. Nonetheless the wiki is one of the best around here !

archlinux is the bets kept secretr in the distro world

Anonymous's picture


Windows 95 to Red Hat and later to Mandriva

Anonymous's picture

Fifteen years ago my daughter used Red Had in the University and persuaded me to go over to open source distributions. I tried Red Hat and läter left vor Mandrake (now Mandriva) because it was next to the door.
Since then I am a loyal suporter of the Linux Community.

D.Girard / Paris


Anonymous's picture

A Debian-based distribution, coupling cutting-edge with stable.

Mandriva all the way

Anonymous's picture

I tried:
o Debian: packages are too old (super stable but don't have the features I want).
o Fedora: doesn't even know how to put /home on a separate partition!
o Gentoo: great stuff, but takes too much time & effort to install.
o Mepis: too broken in too many ways.
o Suse: made a deal with the devil, 'nuff said.
o PCLinuxOS: awesome, but too few packages available.
o Ubuntu: most broken distro ever!

I keep looking around but always come back to Mandriva (though 2009.1 was a big step backwards in so many ways from 2008.1, especially KDE 4). Best desktop distro by far. Those who don't agree are usually those who haven't tried it.

Me too. Started with Corel.

Anonymous's picture

Me too. Started with Corel. Then Red Hat 5 to 7, then Mandrake, SUSE, Xandros, and Mandriva where I am today. I have it configured the way I want and know its system well. Most reliable distro I've ever had and I'm staying with it. When Microsoft took over Xandros I dumped that distro.
I have installed the Debian package manager apt-get which works fine alongside URPMI and the graphical Synaptic.
As a backup I have the excellent Knoppix on CD.
Still using Mandriva 2008 as it's not broken and doesn't need fixing.

amen. using mandy since 7.2,

Anonymous's picture

amen. using mandy since 7.2, did not like 2009, but 2010 is nearly perfect.

Fedora and Ubuntu

Anonymous's picture

I consistently use Fedora at work and Ubuntu at home. Fedora at work because it's a Red Hat-based distro and it is easier to work with in an enterprise environment.

I use Ubuntu at home as my primary desktop OS. I can't wait to 10.04 to arrive!

I've tried almost every popular Linux distro available and without fail I always come back to Ubuntu. I prefer Gnome to KDE, and I stand behind Gnome as a powerful, flexible, clean interface.

Always come back to openSUSE

gnort's picture

I've been using openSUSE since 9.0, and suffered through 10.1 (ugg, what a clunker) Tried out Ubuntu 7.04, 8.04 and then 9.04, but I didn't like it, so I went back to openSUSE 11.1 and have stayed there through 11.2, which I absolutely love! I've also gone through Fedora, Centos, Scientific Linux (all at my previous position with Carleton Physics) Kubuntu, openSolaris (yeah, I know, not really linux) and a few others.

That's what is really great about Linux, true diversity based on a solid foundation. Gotta love it!

usage totals

Anonymous's picture

I voted once for Mint, but in reality use it on my 2 desktops and on 2 laptops, so the total computers using this distribution isn't reflective of total usage of each operating system. This survey only shows the usage per household, while I think it would be better to reflect the total usage number of linux distribution usage. This would then show how widely used linux really is, as well as the distribution of OS's.


Anonymous's picture

I've been using Linux since shortly after the release of Red Hat 5.0, so 1998. About that time I bought a used Dell P133 laptop which did not have a CDRom thus requiring a combo floppy disk/internet install. I tried Red Hat, Mandrake & SuSe boot floppies but they didn't recognize my PCMCIA network card. Debian worked like a champ. Ever since I've been using Debian and Debian derived distros like Ubuntu, Mint, CrunchBang, etc.

I really prefer the deb packages and apt-get/synaptic. It was too easy to descend into rpm hell, unpleasantly reminiscent of DLL hell, with Red Hat and it's derivatives. Of course the tools for managing RPMs have gotten better.

At work most of the servers I deal with are RHEL or Solaris. My workstation is Ubuntu.


Favorite Linux flavor.

Anonymous's picture

I'm currently using Ubuntu Karmic 9.10, Open Solaris 2009.06, and OpenSuse 11. I've also tried Mepis, Gentoo, Knoppix, Fedora, Plain Debian, Centos and Xandros.

The Ubuntu is gradually becoming my favorite, mainly because it seems to install most consistently and boot correctly on almost every desktop & laptop I've tried it on. I have Karmic on Dell, Averatec, Gateway, and HP laptops, my favorite is the HP tc4200 tablet PC in spite of the limited speed and screen resolution..


Anonymous's picture

I use Ubuntu first
CentOS second when software/hardware needs RedHat compatibility.

PS: I love so see so many distros in this list and they all have users. Isn't that great?

My business runs on Debian Gnu/Linux

Anonymous's picture

My business runs on Debian Gnu/Linux for all workstations and servers. With 14 various computers to maintain, the Debian Advanced Packaging Tool (APT) makes it easy and allows me to choose from rock solid stable software or the latest bleeding edge versions or anything in between.


Anonymous's picture

1.) It works and is stable
2.) It does not include untested/annoying technology (Upstart/Pulse Audio) on a whim and by default. So that one day you upgrade and don't know how to change your initialization process.
3.) DDs do not do monkey packaging and development, http://lwn.net/Articles/351013/ -- Debian plans for upstart, unlike a very well known 6 month release distro that I hate.
4.) I do not need to re-learn and fix working systems every 6 months.


Which distros do I use most frequently?

Anonymous's picture

Anything that is Ubuntu and Debian based.

• I prefer the Deb packaging system while using Synaptic Package Manager.

• Everything just works for me(sound, video, networking, etc...).

• I sometimes get bored. I back up all of my files and try something different. For example, I installed Element v1.0 on the living room PC which is connected to a 46in HDTV, I like it because of it's 10 foot gui and XBMC is already installed and configured. It's perfect for my media center. I installed Ultimate Edition 2.5 on my laptop because it's chock full of software...it's really all about choice.

I've been using Linux based operating systems since 2001 because of the freedoms that I enjoy. I've tried many Distros and I always recommend Ubuntu based Distros such as Linux Mint to family and friends.

PCLinuxOS because it actually worked

Anonymous's picture

I tried many distributions. PCLinuxOS was the only one that actually allowed me to use both monitors on my dual monitor setup and also set the resolution and scan rate from the LiveCD without doing an installation first.

Since then, I have comfortably recommended it to friends who are non tech Windows users because they can use it immediately with no hand holding from me.

tough to pick just one!

Anonymous's picture

Like many here, I multiboot several distros and have done my share of distro-hopping as I've explored Linux. (Is there a Linux Addicts Anonymous support group?) We're fortunate that there are so many good options available -- for Linux users at all skill levels.

I have tended to favor the "newbie-friendly" distros such as PCLinuxOS, Ubuntu and Mint (my most recent experiment). But I've also tried Fedora and have just installed Debian Lenny. All of them have their virtues and charms.

I would like to make a special mention of Pardus 2009.1 (a KDE-based distro from Turkey) and encourage people to try it. They have a very nice implementation of KDE 4, and in my experience, it is ranks close in ease of use to PCLOS, Ubuntu and Mint. What's most amazing, IMHO, is that Pardus is an independent distro which was created entirely from scratch; it is not built upon a base from any of the "big" distros such as Debian, Red Hat, etc.

Pardus has some unique features which make it user-friendly, such as its graphical installer (YALI, 'Yet Another Linux Installer'), the Kaptan desktop assistant (to help you configure your desktop after the initial install), PiSi for package management and Tasma (a graphical control center). Pardus 2009.1 uses GRUB Legacy, and one feature I've found helpful is its graphical boot manager (which is similar to QGRUBEditor or KGRUBEditor). The boot manager makes it dead simple to control your MBR and multiboot other distros (or Windows).

The Pardus repositories are not as large as Ubuntu's but you'll be able to find most of the productivity software you need, and the repos are growing steadily as new apps are added.

I used to be something of a Mac OS fan but as I've become more involved with Linux, OS X doesn't offer the same thrill it used to. (My wife prefers OS X because she's most familiar with it and my son is platform-agnostic; he'll use whichever computer is free at the moment). I will admit that there are times when accomplishing something is easier in OS X -- it usually "just works" with no fuss -- but desktop Linux is rapidly bridging the gap. Just in the three years that I've been using Linux, I've seen it make great strides forward.

Debian, Arch, FreeBSD...

Anonymous's picture

I've been using free OSes since 1998. Instead of installing Winblows 98 on my new computer I chose to go with Red Hat 5.1... And after a year or so I became a Slackware user. Then I discovered the BSDs and loved it! I switched to FreeBSD (version 4.3 at the time) and it stayed my OS of choice until 2006... Then mostly for reasons of hardware support and lagging flash support I switched back to Linux with Gentoo...
After acquiring a laptop in 2008, I installed Ubuntu but not for long. Months later I was using Debian Lenny. I currently have Arch Linux and Debian Squeeze on my laptop and these are definitively my favorites right now in the Linux world.
However here I am looking again at FreeBSD... The reasons I left are now mostly gone and ZFS looks very yummy to me! :)

Debian - Arch - FreeBSD - Slackware (baby)

Anonymous's picture

"I've been using free OSes since 1998. Instead of installing Winblows 98 on my new computer I chose to go with Red Hat 5.1... And after a year or so I became a Slackware user. Then I discovered the BSDs and loved it! I switched to FreeBSD (version 4.3 at the time) and it stayed my OS of choice until 2006..."

It seems that you I have started out in similar ways... only instead of Red Hat I started with FreeBSD 4.3 - ( I remember Beastie being on laminated white box). I stayed with it, but was using Slackware in 1995 dual booted with Win95.

So 2 pc's with 3 OS'es = FreeBSD (alone) Win95+Slackware (dual booted)... I wanted more!

TO DATE - I have 7 fairly new computers running ....
FreeBSD 8.0 -> excellent!
Debian (Lenny) -> awesome!
Archlinux 8.2009 - on my Toshiba laptop -> sweet!
Slackware 13 -> awesome!
NetBSD 5
Debian (Squeeze) on my Asus netbook -> awesome!

I can't say which do I used the most... for me it's choice with an equal amount of usage.


Anonymous's picture

I started out with Suse 6.1 (played with some 5.x versions of redhat/suse but not seriously) and over time got disgusted with the buggy (at the time) package updater (yast?) Tried a few others like Red Hat. Don't know how or why I fell into Gentoo - other than hearing that it optimizes your system for older hardware. So been there now for several years.

There's some annoyances with Gentoo - mainly I would say installing it the first time. Just takes too long to get a working system (I probably haven't fully explored alternative methods that might work). I wish they had a live DVD or CD that would install like some other distros. (Last I looked it wasn't working or wasn't working very well).

What has kept me is the familiarity with it and the customization ability. I've periodically checked out other distros - Mint, Arch, Sidux, a few others. Having a rolling release is very important to me as I like being cutting edge (I run unstable). I run CentOS at work on our web/file servers so get enough of stable there. Most distros weren't rolling release, and the ones that now are still have that not-rolling-release bias somewhere in my brain. The other rolling release distros have things to offer (quick install) but I just don't need to learn a new system. If anything I might move to Arch.

People cite the compiling time as reason to not use Gentoo but I've never had a problem with it. I start the emerge and just continue working on whatever it was I was doing before. Rarely does it create an issue for me. If I'm updating KDE I just get it running when I'm not working.
thx fer listening, JD

The distro I use (voted:other)

Anonymous's picture

I'm a big fan of AntiX (Mepis). It works great on my old desktop, it's userfriendly but you can tweak ik also to your needs if you want to.

PCLinuxOS is the best for me

Anonymous's picture

I only switched to Linux about 4 years ago, and tried many distributions before stopping at PCLinuxOS for good.

It works with all my hardware, and is very easy for me to use. I have never had any trouble with configuring it for my hardware.

The Forum is amazing, full of many helpful people.


openSuse Here.

kenjennings's picture

I've used suse/openSuse since version 8.0. I've probably installed it thirty times on two dozen different computers. It just tends to work regardless. It comes with everything for everyone out of the box. Servers, Desktop, laptops, tablets, whatever. Problems are few and far between and the wiki community can solve anything.

The most recent install was 11.2 on a Motion Computing LE1700 tablet. The install was smart enough to recognize the wacom digitizer, and start the virtual keyboard app for the login screen without me having to figure out anything.

Occasionally, I try another distro and end up going back to openSuse. I set up an MSI Wind U100 for my daughter first with Kubuntu. The distro made a number of assumptions about the device which weren't correct, so some apps displayed their GUI parts in weird places. OpenSuse did it right the first time on the netbook. It was also fairly easy to alter the themed graphics to turn the lizard look into a pink, princess processor. (Every five year old girl knows things done in pink work better than everything else.)

Triple boot :)

Anonymous's picture

I have a triple boot of moonOS, Trisquel, and Ubuntu Karmic.
moonOS is very attractive and usable.
Trisquel is 100% libre!
Ubuntu Karmic is brown, my favorite color.

I try to use Trisquel the most because it's completely free software.

Xubuntu now

Anonymous's picture

I started with Fedora, but that got to feeling a bit sluggish, particularly on my server (sadly, there's just the one...;-), so I switched to Xubuntu. Now I support a web server and a pair of virtual machines on that same box with no noticeable impact on response times.


Anonymous's picture

I use Slackware because it is the single distro which I find most embodies the concept of *nix simplicity. instead of piling tons of complexity on top of such elegant simplicity, in what is apparently an attempt to make it look simple to people who do not know that it is already simple, Slackware allows the system to speak for itself. the result is an uncluttered and exceptionally easy-to-admin OS which does exactly what it is supposed to do. while I also like FreeBSD and Solaris as server or workstation OSes, Slackware works for *any* use.


Anonymous's picture

I started off with SuSE as I was interested in KMyMoney, the finance manager for KDE.

For some reason I then fell out with SuSE (I can't remember why) and switched to Kubuntu which I've been using ever since, it just works the way I want, the community is great and I'm very happy with KDE4.

I made the permanent switch away from Windows in 2008 and have never looked back.

Distros I use

Anonymous's picture

Currently I use two distributions mainly, Archlinux and Kubuntu 9.10, but the one distribution that I prefer to use and plan to eventually switch to is Gentoo. When quadcore laptops come down in price or I save up to purchase my dream 8K Dell Covet Workstation, there will be no other.

My reasons for choosing Gentoo: Rolling release cycle, customizable, and deadly fast. The package manager is excellent as well.

Debian GNU/Linux

Anonymous's picture

I started with redhat 5.0 back in 1997-98 and ran various versions of redhat over the years. Always found Debian to be really hard back then but I tried it along with slackware and some of the others like mandrake and suse.

With the introduction to apt and deb-packaging I switched and never looked back. I can't see myself using anything else on the linux-side of things.


Anonymous's picture

-Very stable
-Best package management
-Tons of application.
-Runs on many hardware platforms
-Lots of developers behind it.

Arch Linux

Anonymous's picture

Personally I've distro hopped every time a new version of the mayor distors (Ubuntu, Suse, Fedora) until I tried Arch Linux. I will say that it is NOT for beginner Linux users as setup is a royal pain, but afterwards the simplicity of the system, speed and knowing that everything installed is something YOU installed makes it all worth it. The arch linux Wiki is also one of the most complete I've experienced thus far. My only complaint is I went with the 64bit version and a number of software apps I use aren't easily usable under 64bit (wine, virtulbox etc).

PCLinuxOS all the way.....

Anonymous's picture

Why do I run it? Because I've installed it on many friends and families PC's who I have migrated from Windows. From here on out, I'd rather be assisting them with questions on their new OS than cleaning out viruses every 6 months. Why PCLOS and not a "bigger" distro? I have found the KDE implementation an easier move for most Windows users and frequently use the excellent LXDE version for older hardware. I have to laugh every time I read a "U" user complaining that X piece of hardware isn't running. Sorry, I don't have that problem most things "just work" right out of the box for me.

I'm very excited for the release of PCLinuxOS 2010. I'm sure Tex and the gang will maintain the same high standards and focus on stability the distro has always had.

This is too much anglo-saxon oriented poll

Anonymous's picture

and that's the main reason i won't take the results too seriously. For example how would those millions of brazilian linuxusers vote in this "election"? Hardly for Arch Linux. And germans? I guess french linux-users would give landslide victory for Mandriva. And what about scandinavians who are using 5-10 times more Linux than americans?

Anyway - good try from Linux Journal.

Ummm, the Linux community is

gnort's picture

Ummm, the Linux community is global, as it stands linux Journal asking what distro you use is pretty straight forward. If you're concerned about your region of the world not being properly represented, just say where you're from!

Mandriva my fav, but my children and wife prefer Linux Mint

Anonymous's picture

So in my case there would have been 1 for Mandriva and 4 for Mint.


Anonymous's picture

The majority of my systems at home run PCLinuxOS. My laptop has Linux Mint 8 KDE, only because PCLinuxOS 2010 isn't out yet. ;-)

Why PCLinuxOS? Because it *just works*. I spend 8+ hours every day working on RHEL and IBM AIX servers. When I get home, I don't want to spend more time "tinkering". I just want to sit down and have fun.

Most Linux distros are good. Some are very good. A few are outstanding. For me, PCLinuxOS falls in the last category. I put Mint on my laptop because I wanted a quick, good KDE4 implementation, and Mint 8 KDE is great. I could have just as easily put Mandriva on it, and been just as happy.


Slackware -- no really, Slackware

Anonymous's picture

I have the luxury of a spare computer to distro hop on, so I try all the major and many of the minor distros on a regular basis. Nothing has dragged me off of Slackware for more than a week or so in the last three or four years. I just tried Mint, and while it was very nice, it didn't do anything for me that Slack doesn't do except run more slowly.

Like many Slack users I think it has gotten a bum rap. Part of it is that many people tried it back when all Linux was hard and that reputation has stuck on Slackware. I think the 2.6 kernel and the changes in both KDE and XFCE have made Slackware a much more user-friendly distro than most Linux users realize. Another part of the reputation issue is that somehow text (and ncurses) has been put in the "hard and geeky" box.

Slackware has a good community and one benefit I think many people don't understand: if you use vanilla packages as Slackware does, you don't need such a huge extra distro-specific layer of information out there.

And once you have it set up on your box you get the Slackware speed and stability, which I have yet to see matched anywhere.


Anonymous's picture

I was with you all the way up to your last paragraph..

I no longer use Slackware for the exact reasons you are highlighting.. I was born into the world of linux with slackware.. I "blew-up" a many slackware boxes in my day..

I have not tried slackware again in the last 12-13 years since.. Perhaps its time..

As for your last paragraph.. Give Gentoo a try.. You may be suprised..

both of you are right

Anonymous's picture

i am a slacker and i started my linux life with slackware 12
I love it , I had tried another distro following people's advice. But i didn't feel satisfy. then i came back to slackware,
It has anything that I need, It is light and I am the master of my self.
Now I am creating my own distro based on the idea of Slackware.
Gentoo is a good distro ,too. But compiling everything all time is terrible for me

both of you are right

Anonymous's picture

"i am a slacker and i started my linux life with slackware 12
I love it , I had tried another distro following people's advice. But i didn't feel satisfy. then i came back to slackware,
It has anything that I need, It is light and I am the master of my self.
Now I am creating my own distro based on the idea of Slackware.
Gentoo is a good distro ,too. But compiling everything all time is terrible for me"

--- If you are going to create a distro based on SLACK - Make it better than SLACKWARE and not just a buttload of derivatives like the rest.... this is where I start getting bored with Linux.

I'm only asking to make it better .... SLACK has been a friend of mine since 1995 and I'm still rocking her to date.


Anonymous's picture

I started using Linux in 1997 when I installed Red Hat 4.1 from a retail boxed set. I stayed with RH, first because it was popular enough that support was easy to find online.

By the time I had upgraded several times and was running RH 7, I had also purchased Win4Lin to run Win98 under Linux. I used Win4Lin/Win98 to run my Canon scanner (via parallel port) that was unsupported in Linux and also to run WordPerfect. Since I was using Win4Lin it became the line of least resistance to stick with Red Hat since Win4Lin supported new RH/W4L kernels quickly and well. I followed RH into the Fedora Core and then Fedora releases.

When Win4Lin switched over to Win4LinPro and dropped kernel support for Win4Lin9x (renamed from the original Win4Lin) I switched virtualization programs to VirtualBox which was faster, free of charge, and had USB support. I stayed with Fedora because I knew how to get support from the Fedora community, I like Gnome and I found Fedora to be generally closer to the leading (many say bleeding) edge of Linux development.

Yum works for me for software installation and updates. Fedora just keeps getting better and better. I built a box around 2GB RAM, Athlon XP 2800+ about 7 years ago when that represented a pretty spiffy machine. I kept delaying new upgrades to my hardware because software upgrades kept making it faster and more stable.

Finally, my motherboard developed a glitch and a couple of weeks ago I upgraded the box to a quad core with 4GB RAM, new power supply and a new video card. I turned it on with my old IDE drives plugged into a PCI controller and it booted right up. After upgrading (from the command line) from the legacy Nvidia driver to the latest to match the new video card, into X I went. No fuss no muss. (The dual boot install of Win2K that I have used for rare testing doesn't boot the new board and I'm not going to wrestle with it--I'll just reclaim the space for more photos.)

I would recommend other distributions to new Linux users based on all I've read. I've installed Ubuntu and others into virtual machines to check them out and all I've read about Mint suggests that it is great for newbies. For me, familiarity with RH/FC/Fedora makes sticking with it useful until stronger motivation to switch comes along.


Anonymous's picture

I've used many linux distributions over the years, starting with UMSDOS back in 1994. That same year I tried debian, and have always gone back to it. I like its emphasis on free software and the general high quality of work. Also, I guess I'm just used to it.


Anonymous's picture

I like KDE much better than gnome both for looks and function.


Anonymous's picture

Debian is one of the only distribution which has a social chart in which they say that Debian includes in a standard installation, only free software.
That's why i've chosen it.