Feeds

Ubuntu team questions Distrowatch share slide figures

If you build it, they will might come

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Ubuntu developer Michael Hall has questioned the latest data from Distrowatch, which suggests that it is slipping in popularity when compared to rivals such as Linux Mint.

Last week figures from Distrowatch showed that Ubuntu was down in fourth place as the most visited Linux distribution portal, having previously topped the charts. Linux Mint was the most popular site, ahead of Fedora and openSUSE.

Hall, now employed by Canonical but speaking in a personal capacity, explained in a blog post that the figures on Distrowatch, while handy, aren’t an accurate guide to the actual number of users a particular build has. For example, he points out, Red Hat is 42nd on the list, but has a much larger installed base than that ranking would indicate. The figures are useful for gauging interest, but nothing more, Hall suggests.

“When The Register and PC World run articles about you being on top, their readers will naturally visit your Distrowatch page, further increasing your rank, which will in turn prompt more stories about it, sending more people to your page,” he said. “While I have no doubt that Mint deserves the top spot (more on that below), I think the amount of its increase has been affected by this positive feedback loop. This cyclic reaction will likely continue for a few weeks until people finally get bored with the story, at which point I expect Mint’s numbers to fall back down.”

Linux Mint's interest numbers may fall by a third he warned, but market data suggests it has been gaining both users and interest after it made the decision not to abandon the GNOME 2 interface in its new update – which has proved so popular with Linux users – and move to GNOME 3, which has been criticized by Linus Torvalds and others. The latest build of Linux Mint, version 12, was also launched over the weekend, adding to the influx of people seeking information on the build.

Hall said he had no doubt Linux Mint has momentum, in part due to its decision on interface support, but this doesn’t translate directly into installations. The challenge for Linux Mint now is to transform interest into hard users, he concludes. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.