A different approach to ranking Linux distributions

Frederic Cambus January 11, 2013 [Linux]

Counting the number of Linux users and ranking Linux distributions according to their popularity has always been a problematic task. Not surprisingly, it still remains an open problem.

Initiatives such as the Linux Counter or the flawed by design DistroWatch approach being inneficient, why not use Alexa Traffic Rank instead? Although this method is not perfect, I believe Alexa is a pretty accurate tool for comparing and ordering sites on the same topic.

So, I tried this approach using a list of major Linux distributions and adding the various *BSDs flavours as well. I also added SliTaz to the list, as it is a really neat project deserving more recognition.

Here are the results:

01. Ubuntu                      (Alexa Traffic Rank: 1212)
02. Debian                      (Alexa Traffic Rank: 4059)
03. CentOS                      (Alexa Traffic Rank: 6017)
04. Red Hat                     (Alexa Traffic Rank: 6533)
05. Fedora                      (Alexa Traffic Rank: 7817)
06. openSUSE                    (Alexa Traffic Rank: 8779)
07. FreeBSD                     (Alexa Traffic Rank: 9238)
08. Arch Linux                  (Alexa Traffic Rank: 12730)
09. Gentoo                      (Alexa Traffic Rank: 15112)
10. Kubuntu                     (Alexa Traffic Rank: 79034)
11. Xubuntu                     (Alexa Traffic Rank: 98336)
12. OpenBSD                     (Alexa Traffic Rank: 104178)
13. Slackware                   (Alexa Traffic Rank: 104811)
14. Mageia                      (Alexa Traffic Rank: 110857)
15. PC-BSD                      (Alexa Traffic Rank: 126395)
16. SliTaz                      (Alexa Traffic Rank: 143211)
17. NetBSD                      (Alexa Traffic Rank: 143772)
18. Lubuntu                     (Alexa Traffic Rank: 149010)
19. Edubuntu                    (Alexa Traffic Rank: 298003)
20. DragonFly BSD               (Alexa Traffic Rank: 648612)

Although the ranking might not be totally accurate (i.e: RedHat also provides Cloud Hosting on it's main domain), it seems to make sense, at least.