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Your preferred Linux distribution for 2013?

Displaying poll results.
  5085 votes / 16%
  9766 votes / 32%
  2791 votes / 9%
253 votes / 0%
  4925 votes / 16%
  1269 votes / 4%
  1839 votes / 6%
  4380 votes / 14%
30308 total votes.
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  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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Your preferred Linux distribution for 2013?

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  • Give me some Slack (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 09, 2013 @08:13AM (#44518707)

    Slackware still at the top for me...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by TWX (665546)
      Did they ever get off libc5?
    • by Nimey (114278)

      As soon as it gets a dependency-resolving package manager, sure.

    • by gnuASM (825066)

      Slackware has always been at the top for me.

      From 2.2.0 to 14.0 and beyond.

      I need a distro that lets me do what I want and does not get in my way. The package management is many times beyond what I need. And if the distro does not provide it, I have had little to no problems building anything I could need on a base install.

      I personally prefer to hand build any applications I use, and routinely do so even if they are included with Slackware as I eventually find a desire for variant features.

      One can royally

  • by Covalent (1001277) on Friday August 09, 2013 @08:18AM (#44518743)
    ...Ubuntu is still the easiest and most reliable for new users and works well enough for them that few need to leave.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      few need to leave?

      Hmmm I wonder why most of my friends who were Ubuntu fans have moved to Mint/Debian or even Fedora?

      Ah yes... Unity. That's what broke the camels back for many of them.

      • by arth1 (260657)

        The reason why I so strongly dislike Ubuntu can be summed up in one word: sudo

        Gratuitous privilege escalation is what has been wrong with Windows from the start. If you rely on it to the point of enabling it by default and breaking if disabled, you have a bad design.

        That said, other atrocities often seen in "modern" distros include Gnome 3, PulseAudio and systemd.

        • echo " ALL:ALL nopasswd:nopasswd" >> /etc/sudoers


          (Filters won't let me capitalize what needs to be)

        • "sudo" as opposed to what ? "su" or "sudo bash"like all my colleagues do and stay in a "su" shell all day at the risk of doing something extremely foolish ? I'd rather have the system yell at me for having forgotten "sudo" than yell at me for having wiped a partition by adding a space in "rm -rf / test"
          • by arth1 (260657) on Friday August 09, 2013 @10:09AM (#44519805) Homepage Journal

            "sudo" as opposed to what ?

            The question shouldn't be what else to use for privilege escalation, but how to avoid privilege escalation in the first place.

            I'd rather have the system yell at me for having forgotten "sudo" than yell at me for having wiped a partition by adding a space in "rm -rf / test"

            I'd rather not risk my system being compromised because I ran a superuser command within the login context and environment of a user.
            I'd rather have uid/euid report what they're supposed to.
            I'd rather be able to use selinux and cgroups in a meaningful way.

            But most of all, I want apps to be designed and installed to reduce the need for privilege escalations.

            • by dargaud (518470)

              But most of all, I want apps to be designed and installed to reduce the need for privilege escalations.

              That's all fine and dandy, but every time you need to change some setting in /etc/ or interract with a service, you need to be root. Or at the very least you need one specific user per service, Apache style, but it gets tedious fast.

        • by jones_supa (887896) on Friday August 09, 2013 @12:07PM (#44521425)

          The reason why I so strongly dislike Ubuntu can be summed up in one word: sudo

          I personally don't have much gripe against sudo, but the password conventions of Linux in general might still be problematic. Two things:

          1) Asking passwords too often. There are still distros which ask a password for silly thing like saving a WiFi profile.
          2) Having the super user password same as the user password.

          I bet that if desktop Linux gets more popular (which could be Ubuntu), these kind of things will be potential bombs. "Hey, cool_dog_video.deb, please type your password, yada yada, it asks this all the time. Wait, why is my computer owned, there are no viruses for Linux".

        • by kermidge (2221646)

          It sounds as though you know what you're about. So what is a mildly concerned but essentially noobish general user to do and use for a workable distro?

          I surf, participate here and there in a discussion, use email, play a few games, and watch a few hours of TV and movies per month. While I maintain some curiosity about what goes on under the hood, I have no desire or inclination to go there. What would you suggest I do, that can be phrased civilly and doesn't entail a week's work in re-installing and re-c

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 09, 2013 @01:08PM (#44522331)

          There should be a test during installation that determines a user's ability to handle root privilege. That should then be the basis as to whether or no 'sudo' is enabled for the user. If it is not enabled, then they should be automatically subscribed to paid support if they want to proceed with the installation. The fact is that users SHOULD have root access if they are doing something that requires it. Making changes to the kernel, or installing software that is system-wide instead of in the home directory are notable examples that can't be handled any other way.

          While Gnome 3 is pretty ugly, you must admit that Gnome 2 is long in the tooth and being passed by, by newer and better UIs in the Windows and Mac OS X worlds. Gnome 2 lacks so much in comparison. Where is the indexed search of the system? That's a key feature these days. Users don't want to know where their data or applications are or even if the applications are installed on their system. They just want to do their work. These expectations have come from the mobile device and tablet worlds. There, you just search for the app you want, then hit install and it comes from a central repository for a fee or gratis with the strings that are attached by advertising. You can't fight that. This is coming to the desktop whether you like it or not.

          PulseAudio, when done right, is perfection. I hear a lot of fools argue that ALSA is all that is needed because it can do everything that PulseAudio can, only better. This is completely untrue. While ALSA has been expanded somewhat to handle some cases, there are still plenty of cases it doesn't handle that Pulse and JACK can do better as layers on top of ALSA. For those who really don't understand how audio works in Linux, ALSA is the "driver" layer for lack of a better term that most people will understand. It's the software layer that mediates interaction between user level audio applications and the hardware via the kernel. It does it's job (managing the conversation between user space and hardware) very well and supports a HUGE list of audio devices.

          Where ALSA fails in it's most basic configuration is it's ability to handle multiple simultaneous audio streams. One stream going directly to an ALSA device, locks that device for playback thereby preventing any other application from using it. To solve this problem, the notion of the sound server was invented to virtualize the audio hardware for multiple inputs. The sound is essentially the equivalent of a multichannel mixer in software. Where the ALSA purists get their panties in a bunch is the fact that many sound devices have a hardware mixer, and ALSA also implements a mixer as well. But these mixers are so basic as to be COMPLETELY USELESS FOR ANY MODERN PURPOSE.

          Hence the invention of the sound server, with Esound (AKA esd) being the first most common implementation. Esound was a nice step up from ALSA/OSS (I refuse to talk about OSS because it was just shit). Not only did it allow multiple applications that were Esound and ALSA/OSS compatible to be able to be able to share the sound device, but it also added network transparency like X. While Apple users may think that streaming audio between devices was theirs first with AirTunes, it was actually Esound back in the 90s that came first. Identical approach.

          The problem with Esound was that it wasn't perfect. I used it to stream the audio from my "media center" Linux box in the basement that displayed in the living room to my living room laptop. That way I could play the movie on the HD screen on the wall, but hear the audio by plugging in headphones into the laptop so I wouldn't wake the family at night. While it worked, I always had to play with the A/V offset in the Xine media player to get good A/V sync. That was Esound's primary flaw.

          I discovered PulseAudio back when it was called Polyp. I set it up and was amazed that A/V sync over my 100 Mb/s network was rock solid every time. I rewrote my media player scripts and never looked back at Esou

      • You got that right. Unity just did not do it for me.
    • by Iskender (1040286) on Friday August 09, 2013 @03:02PM (#44523899)

      ...Ubuntu is still the easiest and most reliable for new users and works well enough for them that few need to leave.

      This is probably true. But the "for new users" part is a problem. Some years back Ubuntu managed to please both new *and* advanced users. Sure some people compiled things themselves, but others decided they had seen enough xorg.conf et cetera, and just used Ubuntu instead.

      Earlier versions of Ubuntu had broad appeal and apparently succeeded simply because they were good and balanced. After using Unity since April, I feel like Ubuntu is now serving some kind of user who is not me.

    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      If you use side-line distros its not bad. I mostly use Xubuntu these days, but the main distro is pretty much unusable for me.

    • It is really not. There a handful of far simpler distros that just work, are stable, do not ship experimental beta level software, and do not try to reinvent the wheel.
      All of which Ubuntu does not do.

  • by OffTheLip (636691) on Friday August 09, 2013 @08:18AM (#44518745)
    Work related and pays the bills, therefore favorite.
    • by Bigbutt (65939)

      Well yea, I have RHEL for about half my work servers (Solaris on the other half). So that's helpful.

      I don't have a specific personal Linux that I keep running for general use though. I do have a Ubuntu and a CentOS desktop and numerous distros on my Mac as VMs (Slack, RHEL 5 and 6, CentOS 6, and SUSE I think).


    • Re:Other - CentOS (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Work related and pays the bills, therefore favorite.

      CentOS, for exactly the same reasons, minus the cost.

    • I used to avoid RHEL for my personal boxes because I wanted to be on the cutting edge, package-wise. But after a few years of dealing with paradigm shifts every six months, I've learned to appreciate RHEL's stability. I don't need to be on the cutting edge - I just want something I can rely on and get my actual work done.

  • Other: Android (Score:5, Insightful)

    by leptechie (1937384) on Friday August 09, 2013 @08:23AM (#44518771) Homepage
    ... is deeply integrated into my life, more than any desktop/server Linux distribution I could mention.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      This comment is why, long ago, some people insisted it be called GNU/Linux. While Android is technically Linux, it is missing most of the operating system that all of the choices actually in the poll have in common.
  • still debian. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 09, 2013 @08:25AM (#44518789)

    due to:
    - stability
    - superior package management
    - ubuntu going the wrong way

    • Erhm. Package management in Debian is far from superior. You're confusing good packages (which Debian has) with good package management (which apt isn't). Nowadays the yum and zypper package managers are *far* superior to anything debian has to offer. Arguably, if Debian switched to either of them, Debian would become a better distribution.
  • No RHEL/CentOS? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kadagan AU (638260) <kadagan @ g m a i l . c om> on Friday August 09, 2013 @08:36AM (#44518855) Journal
    No RHEL/CentOS? Gotta stay focused on the business world!
    • by arth1 (260657)

      Scientific Linux is quickly taking over for CentOS. CentOS has often lagged behind in support, including security updates. There are also quite a few extra packages available from Scientific Linux.

      • I have some systems on SL and some others on CentOS. I haven't noticed any significant lag in CentOS updates. The only time this really became an issue was the release of 6.0 from TUV. CentOS had some problems getting it to build.

        Also, the two distros are NOT identical clones of RHEL. CentOS maintains binary compatibility with TUV. SL does not not claim to be 100% binary compatible (but usually is). This may explain why there are extra packages available for SL although you'll probably find most of th

    • Seconded. Might be non-bleeding edge, but it's stable and decently supported.

      I voted other, wonder if I should have take Fedora. :)

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      The catch with them are that they are lagging behind a bit in general, especially if you are into bleeding edge development.

      Fedora is on the frontline, but it's on the other hand a bit quirky since it requires a lot of work at every major upgrade.

    • by Rob Riggs (6418)

      Preferred? No. Required? Unfortunately...

      I use Fedora at home (preferred) and RHEL at work (required). And I get the same yummy package management system for both. Besides, with the shit I pull on my home desktop machine, the added stability of RHEL isn't as noticeable as the lack of modern packages.

  • by rastos1 (601318) on Friday August 09, 2013 @08:45AM (#44518903) Homepage
    Favorite distro for 2013? The same as ever: Slackware. I'm not a quiche eater. The distros come and go. But Slackware is here to stay and cover your ass. Thank you Patrick.
  • Gentoo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by yanestra (526590) on Friday August 09, 2013 @08:49AM (#44518925) Journal
    If you want to fine tune each and every package - compile in and compile out functions - then Gentoo is for you.
    • Personally, I'm using Gentoo, and I started with it back in the early days. I want to say 2002, or more likely 2003? The biggest things that keep me coming back to Gentoo are the lack of a single mold that all "user experiences" get forced into (the outcry of people hating Unity was a great example of why this sucks) and the lack of artificial obfuscation and barriers when it comes to configuration. If there's one thing I hate about all the graphical utilities other distros provide, it's their woefully i

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There are, in my opinion, three major reasons for Gentoo:

      1. You can customize the programs, and remove dependencies for features you don't need. For example, my Gentoo removes wifi-geolocation support from Firefox.

      2. It's easy to adapt virtually everything using configuration files and (though you don't need it) editing of well documented Python scripts.

      3. "Hardened Gentoo" is the most secure Linux distribution I've ever seen, and I've looked at every single one I have been able to find. Only OpenBSD has a

    • by Nimey (114278)

      What's the compiler option to get a Type R sticker and go-faster stripes?

    • I've been using Gentoo since it was the hot new distribution. Like everyone else here, I love the customization. I love the init scripts design. But my favorite feature is one that I just learned about recently.

      I have several programs that I've made minor modifications to. I've sent the patches back to the maintainers, but they haven't done anything with them. I used to create my own ebuild with the added patches, but that was a pain, especially when new releases came out. But recently I learned that

  • I use Ubuntu on my desktop at home, and Debian stable on my server at work.

  • Crunchbang (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bzipitidoo (647217) <> on Friday August 09, 2013 @09:13AM (#44519155) Journal

    Last year, I would have said Arch. Then they made a messy move to systemd. If you upgraded your system, was a high chance of making a mistake and rendering a working system unusable. I tried to dodge the issue by upgrading only small pieces, such as Firefox. That worked until the library dependencies changed. As for a fresh install, they trashed their installation scripts, turning new installs into a lot more manual work.

    One thing I like is light weight. Desktop environments, even LXDE and XFCE, are resource pigs. What do these really do that a window manager such as Openbox doesn't do? Automatically mount flash drives? But HAL is gone and dbus does that now.

    I've found that turning off the text hinting and anti-aliasing gives a modest performance boost. Problem is of course that text looks awful, with one exception: the Terminus font. I've been keeping an eye open for a proportional font that looks decent at the most common sizes, without the hinting and anti-aliasing, but haven't come across any. They're all monospace. Anyone know of any good proportional fonts?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by azeotrope (2763333)

      The systemd move on arch was messy and there have been lots of stability problems in the past, but it feels like that has changed. The systemd "core" in terms of unit file creation and other configurations is starting to level off somewhat. Overall I'm glad that I've taken the time to learn systemd and I honestly cannot think of anything (useful) I could do with an initscripts systemd that I cannot do with systemd. Less than 2 seconds from bootloader to desktop with an SSD is fairly common for me now, I cou

    • by Tepar (87925)
      For a good proportional font, try Lato.
    • by fa2k (881632) <pmbjornstad AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday August 11, 2013 @06:15AM (#44534653)

      I've found that turning off the text hinting and anti-aliasing gives a modest performance boost.

      What kind of calculator are you running on? ;)

  • Had to pick "other" because I use different distros for different tasks

    Desktop or laptop? Current leader and favorite is Mint

    Servers? Debian...

  • People have been talking for years, it seems, about the death of Ubuntu (for starters []) in favor, mainly of Mint, yet as of this posting, this poll shows Ubuntu's outpacing Mint in popularity two-to-one. Personally, my favorite Linux OS is Debian, and it's my OS of choice for low-maintenance servers, but Ubuntu is what I use day-to-day.
    • by Dracos (107777)

      I hope the ultimate result of LMDE is that Mint can stop relying on Ubuntu for... well, anything. Ubuntu/Canonical have lost focus while stumbling in a bad direction.

  • Fedora (Score:5, Informative)

    by Peter H.S. (38077) on Friday August 09, 2013 @09:43AM (#44519497) Homepage

    I really like Fedora. Been using it since FC (and Red Hat before that). I vastly prefer KDE to anything else on the market, and Fedora have good KDE support.

    I find systemd and all its *ctl tools like journalctl f'cking awesome, and superior to the old init and syslog tools.

    Fedora isn't a "hip and cool" distro, but I like Red Hats unwavering FOSS stance, their intense involvement in core Linux technology like the kernel, and I like Fedoras mixture of brand new technology with solid system stability and security patches.

  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Friday August 09, 2013 @09:48AM (#44519541)
    I like SL for stability and Fedora for bleeding edge.
  • I've been on the Opensuse/SuSE/S.U.S.E bandwagon since 2003. It works for me, and have no plans on leaving.

    The only time I really was close to switching distro's was back when KDE 4.0 was released in version 11. It was a train wreak. KDE4 has really improved since that time fortunately.

  • I adopted Arch after moving on from OpenBSD, but lately it's been becoming too unstable for me, even for a rolling release model. This is primarily caused by them being an early adopter of systemd and Lennart deciding that every few weeks that there should be a major breaking change. I know it's what everyone is moving to and adopting and unavoidable... but holy hell do I hate systemd and all of it's crazy magic and retarded journal
  • by OzPeter (195038) on Friday August 09, 2013 @10:26AM (#44519999)

    You insensitive clod

  • OSX (Score:2, Funny)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858)



    Darwin's based on BSD!

    *ducks again*

    • by tirerim (1108567)
      Yeah, but BSD isn't Linux. :-P

      (I was just going to say, "I use BSD, you insensitive clod.")
  • Although the issues with Wheezy have made me stay with Squeeze on most of my systems.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Friday August 09, 2013 @11:14AM (#44520653) Homepage Journal

    I started out on Linux with RedHat around 5.1. My partition was nuked by a bad update from RedHat.

    I switched to Mandrake. My partition was nuked by a bad update from Mandrake.

    I switched to SuSE. My partition was nuked by a bad update from SuSE.

    I tried Oracle Linux. My partition was nuked by a bad update from Oracle.

    I tried Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. I upgraded and upgraded. I'm now on 13.04. They still haven't nuked my system.

    So I'm sticking with Ubuntu. They don't fuck up your system.

  • Since I've given up on using Linux on the desktop, choosing Debian is pretty easy for me. Ubuntu Server doesn't provide me with any features that Debian stable does not, and I quite like the extremely conservative nature of Debian for my simple uses.

    On the desktop, I would still prefer Ubuntu (or Xubuntu/Kubuntu/...), mostly just for being so extremely mainstream. If you need something stupid to work, be it binary blob drivers for graphics cards or experimental research projects, chances are someone decided

  • I prefer a real UNIX derivative so i go with BSD, either FreeBSD or OpenBSD, depending on the purpose of the system.

  • by Andy Prough (2730467) on Friday August 09, 2013 @11:26AM (#44520811)
    All proprietary software is now a potential carrier of hidden surveillance backdoors - especially if its being developed by Americans. Debian without non-free sources is the way to go.
  • Bodhi (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    After using ubuntu for years... and running into some major bugs in version 11.10, that went away in 12.04 and were re-introduced in version 12.10... I was about to go back to windows for the first time in 15ish years.... by random chance I clicked on a bookmark to see what it was and I found bodhi.... had a little bit of trouble getting it setup with the latest ati drivers, something to do with the drivers and the newer linux kernel.... after I got past that the system ran perfectly.... very low memory foo

    • by kermidge (2221646)

      Yeah, Bodhi looks sweet; installed it on an old P4 laptop for a guy in the house to do his online schoolwork from a local college. For a newbie, tho, especially someone new to Linux in general, it's a good warning to go very easy with changing any settings; with the plethora available it's easy enough to screw something up. Other than that, unless there's a specific problem with drivers or wireless, it looks a nimble and low-hassle distro. Please note I'm no guru, I'm barely past noob phase and like it t

  • Lubuntu (Score:4, Informative)

    by forpeterssake (1411781) on Friday August 09, 2013 @11:53AM (#44521209)
    Not sure if it should be subsumed in the Ubuntu entry, but I'm a very satisfied Lubuntu user. It just works. I never did get into Unity, never liked KDE, and I'm not sure where GNOME is at currently. But LXDE chugs along as a very usable desktop environment that makes older machines run like new. I also like that LXDE and Razor-qt are combining forces, reversing the too-many-projects trend. Lubuntu seems to be a good choice for former Windows users, too, with most menus, buttons, and notifications appearing about where a Windows user is used to seeing them.
    • by drfred79 (2936643)
      I used to love Lubuntu with a passion but I won't be downgrading to their 13.10 because they have changed their default browser and don't give a lick about what the community actually wants. Don't get me wrong, LXDE and Chromium were the reasons I loved Lubuntu but those days are gone. Most the time I run Tails now which has a light interface plus all the paranoia supporting accouterments I need to support my tinfoil helmet.
  • The most popular for servers, and for those of us who don't enjoy, say, debugging an alpha or beta release of an o/s, like Fedora....


  • One distro is not the best in each situation. Different installations have different requirements.

    For a headless server, Ubuntu Server hands down.. for a desktop installation, Mint's UI is far superior to the default offerings of Ubuntu Desktop.

  • My preferred choice varies depending on what the machine will be used for and by whom.

    Personal desktop: Arch
    Servers: Debian
    Other's desktops: Mint (if I'm supporting it) or Ubuntu (if they user is supporting it)

  • I used Debian for many years but tried Ubuntu Server several years ago and like it better -- less hassle staying up to date with recent software releases. It doesn't come with a window manager, so if you need that you can install whatever turns your crank.

  • How many people have actually used and can make a valid comparison of all these distributions?

  • Seriously try Mint, it's like Ubuntu before it went off the rails into crazytown. Or better yet, when it had a really good selection of packages around Jaunty/Karmic.

  • Mageia (Score:4, Informative)

    by markdavis (642305) on Friday August 09, 2013 @06:32PM (#44526397)

    Surprised Mageia is so low on the poll, especially considering it has been consistently near the top on distrowatch for years.

    Well, whatever. I use several distros (work workstation, servers, embedded, laptop, tablet, home server, home workstation, etc), but the one on my main home workstation machine is Mageia, and I think I like it the best. Seems like the best compromise between power, stability, completeness, ease of use, and support.

    It is nice having choices.

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