On the GNU/Linux train line of life, DistroWatch is Grand Central Station, Victoria Station, Potsdamer Platz and Shinjuku Station all wrapped up into one point where GNU/Linux users invariably stop, sometimes more than once (sometimes a lot more than once, in my case, since I visit DistroWatch on a daily basis).
Making its typical contribution to the cause, DistroWatch is now providing a Top Ten List of the hundreds of distros out there. No, my distro didn’t make it, but that’s okay: For the computing masses, it’s an excellent guide to what’s popular and why.
“The bewildering choice and the ever increasing number of Linux distributions can be confusing for those who are new to Linux. This is why this page was created. It lists 10 Linux distributions (plus an honourable mention of FreeBSD, by far the most popular of all of the BSDs), which are generally considered as most widely-used by Linux users around the world,” the site explains.
Despite the fact that there are no figures to back it up and there are many other distributions that might suit a user’s particular purpose better, as a general rule, all of these are popular and have very active forums or mailing lists where you can ask questions if you get stuck, it continues.
Can’t wait to see the list? Okay:
4. Debian GNU/Linux
7. MEPIS Linux
10a. (Honorable Mention) FreeBSD
Berlin commuters are treated to this exposure to Ubuntu on the Metro, which is fairly interesting.
The text in the ad reads as follows: “The free OS Ubuntu is available in version 7.04 from April 19th. For more information: http://www.ubuntuusers.de.”
Bearing in mind, of course, that the subject of GNU/Linux advertising on a vehicle that’s significantly faster than the Berlin Metro has been discussed in an earlier blog item. However, this points out that those who say that GNU/Linux isn’t being promoted are somewhat mistaken.
Now if only an increase in market share could come with that . . .
While Bill Gates tours China shilling Windows XP for the Chinese equivalent of $3 — thus putting a variety of software pirates out of business there — Charlie Demerjian of The Inquirer tags along, reporting a unique perspective for his publication.
Demerjian says the fall of Redmond’s evil empire is imminent and his story makes some very salient points.
Demerjian’s dispatch in The Inquirer outlines that actions speak louder than public relations. “With two overlapping events, Microsoft admitted what we have been saying all along, Vista, aka Windows Me Two (Me II), is a joke that no one wants,” Demerjian writes.
In other words: It’s official — Vista blows.
Dell knows this. They’ve pulled Vis-duh off their machines, putting Windoze XP back on their boxes, all the while still considering a GNU/Linux distro to offer customers. Normally, computer makers knuckle under to every whim from Redmond, but not this time. Dell backpedaled, Redmond be damned.
Combine this with Gates’ attempt to stave off Linux in China, and Demerjian may have a good point.
An interesting story that originates in Europe today, brought to our attention courtesy of DesktopLinux.com, states that nearly a quarter of European Web surfers do their surfing with Firefox which, according to the story, has the browser market share of 24 percent. When I went to school, that was close enough to say “one in four.”
“Firefox browser usage has increased substantially — by nearly 5 percent — in Europe over the past year, French web analyst firm XiTi reports,” says the story. “During the week of March 5 through 11, 2007, the open-source browser exceeded 24 percent share of Europe’s browser market, according to the market researcher.”
Slovenia and Finland have the most per capita users, in the mid-40s percentage-wise, and Germany is in the mid-30s.
We in the U.S. — with a meager 15 percent of the browsing public using Firefox — are slowly but surely getting on the bandwagon, since figures have Firefox steadily climbing, but a far cry from the 78 percent market share that Internet Exploder forces on most of the public.
Ladislav Bodnar is not exactly a household name. In fact, ask someone on the street who he is, and they might answer that he’s part of the recent wave of Russian hockey players to play in the NHL, or maybe he’s that Russian leader who was prime minister of the nation . . . sometime between, oh, Andropov and Putin.
But no: Bodnar, to my knowledge, has never taken a shot on goal and he has never been in the Russian legislature. Yet in GNU/Linux circles, Bodnar is far more important than he could have ever been with a hockey stick or a stump speech.
Bodnar runs DistroWatch.com, the site that — day in and day out — monitors the 350 active GNU/Linux distros, not to mention keeping an eye on the other 200 or so that are no longer active. To those of us who have a journalistic stake in getting the news about GNU/Linux to the masses, DistroWatch is a priceless gem and Bodnar is the ideal candidate for GNU/Linux sainthood.
GNU/Linux journalist Mayank Sharma interviews Bodnar on his Web site, a Q-and-A that’s definitely worth the read.
One of the latest discussions in the ethereal realm of the Internet is an idea floated by some GNU/Linux advocates that the community should plunk down $350,000 to sponsor a car running in the Indianapolis 500 at the end of May. “More on the story,” as we say at Open Source Reporter, can be found at the Tux500 Web site.
Due to my extremely meager disposable income, I have made a small donation because I believe that promoting GNU/Linux at every possible turn — in this case, a left turn at 225 miles per hour — is a worthy endeavor. Moreover, this particular project shows an “outside the box” mindset in getting the word about GNU/Linux out there and, thus, is a good opportunity to try something new in the promotion department.
To show my support of the idea of promoting GNU/Linux, I’ve placed the Tux500 button in the paragraph above. If you’re so inclined, please visit and make a donation. If you’re not, at least give the site a look.
However — and you knew that there was one of those coming — despite the fact that I am all for promoting GNU/Linux, I’m not convinced that sponsoring a car at the Indianapolis 500 is the best use of $350,000. So what is the best way to go about this? I don’t have an answer to that, which is why it’s worth $10 to me to see where this might go.
So let’s see how this turns out.
While working two jobs and trying (“trying” is the key word at this point) to keep up with GNU/Linux developments, something that crossed the ol’ radar was this article which appeared on LXer.com a few days ago, but originally came from The Inquirer.
Thanks to Dr. John — not the musician, although I can’t be sure — he whipped PCLinuxOS onto box he threw together (so says the story) with a Celeron D 2.8 MHz processor. A half-hour later, even keeping the clock running while going to the bathroom, he had Linux up and running. I guess they don’t call him a doctor for nothing . . .
Way to go, Doc! I guess Dr. John showed us “journos” that Linux is easy to install. But then, some of us in the field already knew this and we’re doing our damnedest to spread the gospel.