Have you ever wondered which Linux distribution was most popular during the previous years? If you have, then you may be interested in some of the data that I’m going to present to you.

With the aid of Distrowatch’s infamous ‘Page Hit Ranking’ system and Google Trends (a tool that shows the most popularly searched terms from 2004 up to present), we shall find out which distro had the most number of followers in the past. Here it goes:




2002
(Page Hit Ranking)
Rank -Distribution -H.P.D*
1 -Mandrake -473
2 -Red Hat -453
3 -Gentoo -326
4 -Debian -311
5 -Sorcerer -253
6 -SuSE -250
7 -Slackware -216
8 -Lycoris -209
9 -Lindows -151
10 -Xandros -123

2003
(Page Hit Ranking)
Rank -Distribution -H.P.D*
1 -Mandrake -770
2 -Red Hat -631
3 -Knoppix -489
4 -Gentoo -460
5 -Debian -428
6 -Yoper -390
7 -SUSE -366
8 -Slackware -357
9 -Lycoris -220
10 -Xandros -175

2004
(Page Hit Ranking)
Rank -Distribution -H.P.D*
1 -Mandrake -1,457
2 -Fedora -1,202
3 -KNOPPIX -910
4 -SUSE -858
5 -Debian -832
6 -MEPIS -694
7 -Gentoo -670
8 -Slackware -669
9 -PCLinuxOS -451
10 -Damn Small -416

(Google Trends)


2005
(Page Hit Ranking)
Rank -Distribution -H.P.D*
1 -Ubuntu -2546
2 -Mandriva -1664
3 -SUSE -1451
4 -Fedora -1211
5 -MEPIS -1145
6 -Debian -867
7 -KNOPPIX -830
8 -Damn Small -687
9 -Gentoo -647
10 -Slackware -613

(Google Trends)

2006
(Page Hit Ranking)
Rank -Distribution -H.P.D*
1 -Ubuntu -2640
2 -openSUSE -2027
3 -Fedora -1444
4 -MEPIS -1045
5 -Mandriva -1015
6 -Damn Small -841
7 -Debian -819
8 -PCLinuxOS -774
9 -Slackware -648
10 -Gentoo -618

(Google Trends)

2007
(Page Hit Ranking)
Rank -Distribution -H.P.D*
1 -Ubuntu -2519
2 -PCLinuxOS -2502
3 -openSUSE -1596
4 -Fedora -1332
5 -Sabayon -1087
6 -Mint -991
7 -Debian -953
8 -MEPIS -921
9 -Mandriva -845
10 -Damn Small -705

(Google Trends)

*H.P.D = hits per day

As you can see, nothing is constant in the world of distro rankings and popularity ratings. Mandrake was king of the hill from 2002-2004. Then, Ubuntu started its dominance in 2005. PCLinuxOS was inches away of kicking Ubuntu out of the top spot in Distrowatch ranking in 2007. However, it is interesting to note that PCLinuxOS was way below in Google Trends during that year while Ubuntu was really soaring high.

So there you have it. I want to know your thoughts about this one.

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