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Ubuntu is the most popular distribution of 2021

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We finished with the review of our end-of-year survey with the result related to distributions, the cornerstone of this world in which we live, although as expected, Ubuntu is crowned one more year as the average user’s favorite. No surprises, right? Not completely, as we will see below delving a little into the data.

In fact, there are some other surprises in the table and more specifically, in the top positions; and even in the place of honor occupied by Ubuntu since we did this survey, there are changes that are worth commenting on, because as is the case with Firefox, the parish’s unshakable totem, there are trends that are not declining, but quite the opposite.

If you are interested in seeing the results of the other two questions we asked, here they are: this is how the browser table turned out, and this is how the desktop table turned out. Let’s go now with the distributions, that there is a lot of material to cut and, again, we remind you that the percentages are what you have to look at.

Distributions 2021

Total votes: 3,229

  1. Ubuntu (598, 18.5%)
  2. Debian (418, 12.9%)
  3. Linux Mint (416.12.9%)
  4. Manjaro (372, 11.5%)
  5. Fedoras (277, 8.6%)
  6. Arch Linux (275, 8.5%)
  7. KDE neon (133, 4.1%)
  8. openSUSE (107, 3.3%)
  9. Zorin OS (91, 2.8%)
  10. Pop!_OS (87, 2.7%)
  11. elementary OS (86, 2.7%)
  12. MXLinux (81, 2.5%)
  13. Other (81, 2.5%)
  14. Deepin (63, 2%)
  15. EndeavourOS (57, 1.8%)
  16. Gentoo (20, 0.6%)
  17. Magic (20, 0.6%)
  18. Solus (18, 0.6%)
  19. Devuan (16, 0.5%)
  20. Slackware (13, 0.4%)

Distributions 2021

Ubuntu is number one… And when hasn’t it been? Since its appearance on the scene a couple of decades ago, it ousted everything around it and positioned itself as the Linux for human beings. And yes: since MuyLinux we do surveys, remains unbeaten. However, time does not pass in vain and although Ubuntu resists, other distributions begin to get closer. The most objective data in this regard is the continuous loss of support shown year after year, reaching its historical minimum in 2021. Of course, in 2021 Ubuntu was limited to launching two intermediate versions, Ubuntu 21.04 and Ubuntu 21.10, which are not usually very interesting for common users. We will see how it goes in 2022, where it will release its next LTS. Let us also remember that Ubuntu is also Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, etc.

In second position we have the first surprise in the table: Debian, which has always been at the top, but never higher than it is now, and since we instituted the annual year-end survey, it beats Linux Mint for the first time. The reason is not clear, because the quality of one or the other has been fairly even for quite some time, but the votes have decided so. However, it should be noted that the percentage of support has also decreased in recent years, despite the fact that 2021 was not another year for the “mother distro”, since in August it left us with its new major version, Debian 11 ‘Bullsey’.

Debian 11 Bullseye

In 2021 Debian 11 ‘Bullseye’ was released… and it has been noticed

But things have not changed that much and in third position is Linux Mint, the minty Ubuntu -for now, because more and more things are separating it from Ubuntu, starting with the Snap packages- and one of our favorite recommendations for newcomers to Linux. Of course, be careful because the difference in support between Debian and Linux Mint is two votes. We will therefore agree that what is striking is the exchange of positions, little else. In any case, Linux Mint is still a guarantee of a more accessible desktop than Debian for the average user. Its 2021 releases include Linux Mint 20.1 and Linux Mint 20.2; although if you want to jump on the bandwagon now, the recently released Linux Mint 20.3 is the right choice.

Repeating the table from previous years, we find in fourth position Manjaro, the friendliest of rolling release that populate the market and one of the distributions mainstream more agnostic when it comes to integrating commercial software. Regarding the first, however, we continue to cover their releases because they usually bring news beyond the usual updates; And in relation to the second… There are many people who don’t like that mixture of free software with that which isn’t, but we can’t deny that it’s game. A brief review of what was published, in this link.

And second surprise at the top of the table, because fedora jumps up to fifth place. Depending on the year, Red Hat’s community distribution moved between sixth and seventh place, however, in 2021 it has peaked. And here it is clear why: its releases in recent years are of great quality, its implementation of GNOME is the best of GNU/Linux… It is still not a distro that we recommend to novices, but for the rest of the users, especially For those who prefer GNOME as their desktop environment, it’s a safe bet. In 2021 he proved it again with the releases of Fedora 34 and Fedora 35.


Fedora is, in addition to a great distro, one that left us with the most news in 2021: here you have it

A position below what is usually usual is found ArchLinux, although as in the case of Debian and Linux Mint, it was due to just a couple of votes. Still, the rolling release par excellence remains stoically at the top of the table, as it always has. And it is that rolling release there are a few, but Arch Linux there is only one, with all that that means: always the latest, always stable and much more accessible than it might seem a priori. The latter has materialized in 2021 with the introduction of Archinstall, even though there are still easier ways to achieve archery fullness.

Already in seventh position KDE neon, which loses the position that Fedora has won compared to last year, but despite this it maintains an enviable health compared to many other alternatives that do consider themselves Linux distributions. What is so special about KDE neon? Its mere official distribution essence of the KDE project with the latest from it, well served on a base of Ubuntu LTS. And since the formula not only doesn’t fail, but is becoming more and more polished… It’s my main distro, what can I tell you…

In eighth position is openSUSE, also repeating place in relation to last year, in which its previous lethargy improved a little. I’ve always wondered why it’s not higher up, because it has plenty of quality… but there are also edges to be polished and the competition is very close. Still, with an edit rolling release already established as Tumbleweed and with another stable of Leap’s level, I think it is still an offer to consider, especially for the latter. Releases? In 2021, openSUSE Leap 15.3 left us.

Below openSUSE we come to the alternatives that fail to gather a hundred votes and that are satisfied with an increasingly smaller percentage, and that the following three are examples of distributions focused on the general public: Zorin OS, Pop!_OS and elementary OS. If anything stands out, it would be the sato starring the first, an option well known for years, but not equally represented in these votes. Pop!_OS, on the other hand, is newer, although it made its way faster; and elementary OS is completely inexplicable, because aside from the label of stability, its progress has been slow in general, but always constant.

Zorin OS 16

Zorin OS released a new version in 2021, don’t miss it

In a different league play MXLinux, and it is that this derivative of Debian is very well considered, but it is not the typical distribution that attracts the attention of the foreign eye as the main system in a modern computer… although for tastes, colors. Those of MX-Linux are not very cheerful, but it has been there for several years.

And we arrive at the always conflictive option of the “other”. What other? We insist that whoever votes for this option for not having found “their distro” already on, leave at least one comment, in order to get an idea of ​​which are the most popular distros that have not entered and include them in the survey next year according to the votes they receive… but there is never any luck: of 81 people who voted “other”, you can hardly see any mention of distros that are not there. The one with the most Garuda Linux with three comments, Arco Linux with two, Void Linux with one… In short, unless current events demand it, in 2022 we will have the same list as in 2021.

We continue with the ‘remains’, headed by a Deepin which in my opinion should be higher; EndeavourOS, which debuts briskly in the survey as an open door to Arch Linux; Gentoo Y Magic*, both with the same proportion of votes, but each one with its public, although they are two alternatives with a classic aroma; solus, that for some reason that I don’t quite understand, resists adversity; Devuan, slackware… Truth be told, there are distros that will always be in the survey because their track record supports them, even though they have been relegated to specific areas.

Thus we conclude the last review of the year-end survey, but not without first commenting on some other curiosity that can be extracted from the numbers seen. For example, Ubuntu may fall a bit, but not only is it still number one, but also the one that combines the most space counting its derivatives: 43.7% of the cake is eaten; Debian, on the other hand, does not reach 18%. However, if we distribute the percentages per parcel, things look somewhat different and the changes are more noticeable.

Thus, the Deb distro segment remains above everything else with a 61.6% share, an absolute majority that, however, falls four points from last year. It is followed by everything that derives from Arch Linux with a 21.8% share and with just over half, the RPM segment, whose only exponents are Fedora, openSUSE and Mageia. It looks like the usual, but it’s not the usual. As you see?

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