While features, regular updates and stability matter when you think of a top tier distro but a real promising and popular distro can be derived by its number of downloads. Courtesy linuxquestions.org, here’s a list of top 10 most downloaded desktop-based Linux distros ever.
This free community supported and Red Hat sponsored project stands on the first place. The distro is also a proving ground for technologies that eventually turned into Red Hat products.
Canonical’s Ubuntu, which is the most popular Linux distro amongst users and is freely available with both community and professional support, stands on second position in terms of downloads. The distro is built on the ideas mentioned in the Ubuntu’s Manifesto which states, “that software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customise and alter their software in whatever way they see fit.”
The lightweight Linux system that requires 8MB of memory and an i486 processor at the least, is a business card size (50MB) bootable Live CD Linux distribution. And despite its miniature size, it carries all the functionalities and is an easy to use desktop. With all this, the distro stands on the third position in the list.
The Debian based distro which is designed to be run directly from a CD / DVD (Live CD) or a USB flash drive (Live USB) is the fourth most downloaded Linux distro ever!
Debian Project is primarily an association which is working for a common cause i.e. creating a free operating system. The operating system which is named as Debian GNU/Linux or Debian is the original software started by Linus Torvalds. The distro is popularly known for its stability and it stands as the fifth most popular distro in terms of downloads!
Designed by Patrick Volkerding, Slackware Linux is an advanced Linux operating system, which works with the goal of ease of use and stability as its top priorities. The distro is the 6th most downloaded distro ever!
PCLinuxOS is an upcoming and promising Linux Desktop Solution, and the fact is well established with the 7th position of the distro in the ‘most downloaded Linux distro list’. PClinuxOS delivers Desktop Ready Software with the power of the Open Source.
8. Linux Mint
The Ubuntu based distro Linux Mint was created with the goal of providing a more complete experience by adding browser plugins, media codecs, DVD playback support plus, Java and other components. The distro which is compatible with Ubuntu software repositories stands at No. 8 in the list.
The ninth ranker, Gentoo, is a fast and versatile Linux distro aimed towards the developers and network professionals. Gentoo Linux deals with an advanced package management system unlike other Linux distros. This package management system called Portage is a true ports system in the tradition of BSD ports. Although it is Python-based and sports several advanced features like dependencies, fine-grained package management, “fake” (OpenBSD-style) installs, safe unmerging, system profiles, virtual packages, config file management, and more.
10. Puppy Linux
The Puppy Linux is a small and cute Linux distro much like a puppy. The distro boots into a ramdisk and loads into RAM, which is unlike the live CD distributions which pulls stuff off the CD. This results in starting all the applications a blink of an eye and respond to user input instantly. The distro stands on No. 10 in the list of most downloaded.