It seems like such a waste of time- in the past several weeks most of the ‘news’ my various sources have cobbled together based on my interests have been a slew of “Ubuntu no longer the most popular” ‘news’ stories. Give me a break.

I saw one reaction to this on that dismissed the numbers and the comments were, I think, unfair. The author rightly notes that all these ‘news’ stories are based on Distrowatch visitors. And not based on the their platform as reported by the browser, but the pages on the Distrowatch site that people visit. In other words it’s useless. Before you rip me apart, follow my logic here.

Gus uses Windows but keeps hearing that the wise and powerful think Linux is where it’s at- but he’s confused about the idea of ‘distributions’. A friend suggests he look at Distrowatch to help him decide on a distribution to try.

Gus visits Distrowatch. He clicks around, looking at Fedora, openSUSE, and Ubuntu. He decides he doesn’t know enough and doesn’t install anything.

Distrowatch tallies his visit- 1 new visit each for Fedora, openSUSE, and Ubuntu!

Gus sees in the news that Linux Mint is actually the best. He checks back at Distrowatch and looks at Linux Mint. He decides he’s still not ready.

Distrowatch tallies a new visit for Linux Mint.

Gus sees more and more articles about Linux Mint and returns to Distrowatch, trying to muster his courage to install.

Distrowatch tallies a new visit for Linux Mint.

At this point, Fedora, openSUSE, and Ubuntu all picked up a visit, and Linux Mint picked up 2 and he still hasn’t installed! News people somehow equate those visits with distribution usage. The irony behind this whole conversation is that the resources at Distrowatch are geared to people wanting a new or different distribution. A real user isn’t going to visit the page when he’s happily using his chosen distribution of Linux every day.

‘News’ writers: you’re ridiculous and you are the problem here. Distrowatch doesn’t pretend that their stats have anything to do with users. Write some real news articles please.

All Linux distributions: can you please settle on a centralized way to track actual usage? Managed by someone else. Maybe it just counts via your update mechanism. I don’t know.

Until they do, can everyone stop whining about who is best and get back to making great apps for Linux?