2012 /r/Linux Distro Survey Results


Introduction

After seeing an attempted comment thread survey on /r/Linux I thought it'd be neat to conduct a real survey using Google Docs. I created the survey and posted it as this thread. I definitely got a better reaction than I expected!

Overall I'd like to thank those who took the time to respond to the survey. You guys did a pretty good job of giving me only good data. There were surprisingly few garbage responses that I had to filter out. Stay classy guys & gals.

Index

  1. Introduction
  2. Index
  3. Methods
  4. Results
    1. What Linux distro do you primarily use on your non-server computers?
    2. What other Linux distros do you use on your non-server computers?
    3. What Linux distro do you primarily use on your server computers?
    4. What Linux distros do you use on your other server computers?
    5. What Linux distros do you like to "keep an eye on"?
    6. Favorite desktop environment/window manager?
    7. Most hated desktop environment/window manager?
  5. Closing Statements

Methods

Before we get down to business, I'd like to make the usual disclaimer about online polls (courtesy of Slashdot):

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.

The data was pulled from Google Docs contained 4932 responses ranging from Feb. 18 14:06 UTC to Feb. 21 21:06 UTC. You can view the raw data and the summarized data in this spreadsheet.

In the categories where specifying an option was allowed, I had to do quite a bit of cleanup to merge similar entries. I couldn't think of an automated way to do this so I had to do it by hand. Therefore there may be some minor errors in the category names--sorry if your distribution is mis-capitalized!

Spreadsheets were crunched with a combination of LibreOffice, sed, tr, and awk. Graphs were generated as SVG files with gnuplot and exported to PNGs with Inkscape. You can download my gnuplot scripts and gnuplot data.

Results

The results are broken up by question. Each question has a graph of the top 10 responses, plus "other" which is a summation of every response that didn't make the graph. Click any graph to download the source SVG used to create it. I came very close to simply embedding the SVGs on this page and not using PNGs at all, but decided to play it safe. Note that you may need the Open Sans font installed for them to look right.

What Linux distro do you primarily use on your non-server computers?

Ubuntu and Arch Linux are the clear winners in this category, earning 30% and 23% of the total responses respectively. In total there were 60 unique Linux distributions mentioned in this category (including 12 of you that put some flavor of Windows as your primary Linux distro ಠ_ಠ). The top 10 distros accounted for 91% of responses. The graph below breaks down the top ten distributions /r/Linux respondents are using as their primary operating systems on $NOT_SERVERS.

Graph of popular non-server Linux distros.
What Linux distro do you primarily use on your non-server computers?
ResponseOccurrences% of Total
Ubuntu149430%
Arch Linux112323%
Debian4048%
Fedora3547%
Linux Mint3517%
Gentoo2084%
Xubuntu1934%
Kubuntu1493%
[no response]1092%
Linux Mint Debian1012%
Other4419%

What other Linux distros do you use on your non-server computers?

A lot of variation in this category, with "other" coming in third place! In total there were 105 different distributions mentioned in this category, with the top 10 included in 84% of responses. Respondents were able to choose as many answers as they liked, so the percentages below will add up to >100%. Unsurprisingly however, the top results aren't all that different from the previous question.

Graph of popular non-server Linux distros not used as one's primary operating system.
What other Linux distros do you use on your non-server computers?
ResponseOccurrences% of Responses
[no response]163033%
Ubuntu127026%
Debian76015%
Arch Linux60312%
Linux Mint55311%
Fedora52311%
Xubuntu2756%
Gentoo2365%
CentOS2235%
Kubuntu1834%
Other116024%

What Linux distro do you primarily use on your server computers?

On the server front, Ubuntu and Debian are the primary OSes of 22% and 18% of /r/Linux respondents. Interestingly, the survey also shows that 26% of /r/Linux respondents don't use Linux on a server. I'd be quite interested to see how this portion of the community grows over time. In total, there were 53 unique responses in this category, with the top 10 comprising 96% of responses.

Graph of the 10 most popular server distributions among /r/Linux respondents
What Linux distro do you primarily use on your server computers?
ResponseOccurrences% of Total
[no response]129026%
Debian108022%
Ubuntu90218%
CentOS48710%
Arch Linux3778%
RHEL1864%
Gentoo1744%
Fedora1172%
Slackware561%
OpenSUSE391%
Other2014%

What Linux distros do you use on your other server computers?

This category also produced a large range of responses. However, 57% of responders did not respond--meaning these people either don't have a server (26% according to the previous question) or do not run multiple server operating systems. Since such a large quantity skews the graph quite a bit I've omitted [no response] from the graph below and instead opted to list the top 10 distros people selected. You can still view the skewed graph if you like. It's also available in SVG form.

Debian, Ubuntu, and CentOS make up the top 3 in this category. Overall the top results aren't that different from the previous question. The top 10 results (excluding [no response]) are included in 92% of responses. Note that respondents were able to select multiple distributions for this category, causing the percentages to add up to >100%. There were 61 unique responses in this category.

Graph of top 10 Linux distributions /r/Linux readers are using as secondary server OSes
What Linux distros do you use on your other server computers?
ResponseOccurrences% of Responses
[no response]282248%
Debian66111%
Ubuntu58610%
CentOS5069%
Arch Linux2795%
Red Hat Enterprise Linux2594%
Fedora2013%
Gentoo1543%
Slackware781%
OpenSUSE691%
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server461%
Other2134%

What Linux distros do you like to "keep an eye on"?

Overall there are 105 distros /r/Linuxers are keeping an eye on. The top 10 distros listed here are mentioned in 82% of all responses.

Graph of top 10 Linux distributions /r/Linux users are keeping an eye on
What Linux distros do you like to "keep an eye on"?
ResponseOccurrences% of Responses
Ubuntu206442%
Arch Linux168134%
Debian147930%
Linux Mint141629%
Fedora127426%
[no response]88518%
Gentoo74415%
Linux Mint Debian50410%
OpenSUSE48910%
CentOS48810%
Other240849%

Favorite desktop environment/window manager?

In the category of favorite desktop/window manager, there were 50 unique responses (wow!). However, the top 10 responses make up 91% of the total. Overall, 43% of responders prefer a GNOME-based environment (37% if you don't count Unity) and 13% prefer KDE.

Graph of /r/Linux respondents' top 10 favorite desktop environments/window managers
Favorite desktop environment/window manager?
ResponseOccurrences% of Total
GNOME 2.x (or fork/derivative)103521%
GNOME 3.x78316%
KDE 4.x61112%
XFCE57512%
[no response]3527%
Openbox2816%
Unity2766%
Awesome2455%
xmonad2335%
Fluxbox1092%
Other4309%

Most hated desktop environment/window manager?

In the realm of most hated desktop environment/window manager, we see a close battle between GNOME3 and Unity--together earning 44% of all responses. Overall there were 28 unique entries for most hated de/wm, and the top 10 accounted for 97% of all responses. It should be noted that a silent 29% didn't express any hate, instead choosing not to respond to this question.

Graph of /r/Linux respondents' top 10 most hated desktop environments/window managers
Most hated desktop environment/window manager?
ResponseOccurrences% of Total
[no response]144529%
Unity118524%
GNOME 3.x98720%
KDE 4.x53111%
KDE 3.x2665%
GNOME 2.x (or fork)1212%
Enlightenment812%
XFCE561%
Fluxbox431%
LXDE411%
Other1754%

Closing Statements

I had a fun time with this survey and I think I might try another in the future. Hope you guys find it interesting. If you have any questions/comments. Feel free to PM me, or respond in the comment thread for this post. I'd be especially interested to hear of better ways to represent this data (preferring a mostly automated approach!) and hear about other questions that would be worth asking in future polls.