Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sun 25th May 2003 08:29 UTC
Linux It's been almost a year since our first Linux distro poll, so here is your... annual Linux poll. Click more and vote for your favorite distribution!
Order by: Score:
RedHat For Me!
by Christopher X on Sun 25th May 2003 08:36 UTC

I have no prob, politically or otherwise, with any other distro but RedHat has served me well. Its reasonably conservative (stable) and reasonably up-to-date (modern), the best of both approaches. Now thanks to apt-get I can upgrade it regularly and effortlessly. KDE? I've long favored Gnome, so thats not an issue for me. Multimedia support? Once apt-get is installed thats easily remedied. Finally theres the whole standard issue, it is the unofficial standard. Beyond being my favorite Linux distro its also my favorite Unix flavor, for what its worth.

I've tried other distros....
by IFightMIBs on Sun 25th May 2003 08:36 UTC

And though each has its merits, my answer is the same as it was last year. Debian. It just gets the job done. On my servers, stable is just that -- rock-solid stable. And on my desktops, Debian unstable I find just as stable and usable as the commercial distros. I don't have the hardware to run the ereet source-based distros, nor do I really care to. Give me a fast connection and an hour of time, and I can have a very nice Debian workstation ready to use.

Debian? No. SuSE!
by Daan on Sun 25th May 2003 08:50 UTC

When I first tried Debian, I was very impressed with it. Apt-get is really great and with Unstable you have all software available for you.

However, I use my computer for the desktop. And then I installed SuSE and I found that everything worked lots faster. Logging in, for example, but also scrolling through webpages and such. It felt like SuSE added a turbo to my PC. Additionally, to reconfigure X in Debian (change resolution, for example. I brought a new monitor) you need to know that you need to run dpkg-reconfigure -y xserver-xfree86 or something like that (package name, and -y to make it ask for data again). In SuSE you can do everything of system configuration with the great YaST program. Finally, SuSE autodetected my soundcard, and it is the first distribution to make cd playing work for me.

This all is why I voted SuSE.

by Greg on Sun 25th May 2003 09:06 UTC

Nice to see Gentoo doing so well. I like Portage, and the BSD init scripts, and I think I've learned more about Linux using Gentoo than any other distro.

However, it's a bit too unstable and, surprisingly, outdated in places. Debian was my choice because unlike Gentoo, I can run it on my Celeron 433 and have a reasonable hope of running KDE, Mozilla and OOo before the next Ice Age. Synaptic is also way cooler than KPortage as graphical package managers go.

Gentoo's youth really shows in places.

by Felix on Sun 25th May 2003 09:09 UTC

I'm amazed... I'm actually in the majority of one of these polls... I guess it must be night in the US or something, and only the people cursing their computers because they want to turn them off before they go to bed are up ;)

Clarification about OSNews' readers
by Eugenia on Sun 25th May 2003 09:15 UTC

Please note that OSNews attracts mostly developers and geeks as an audience. Therefore, Debian and Gentoo will excel in this poll with better scores than they would normally get on a more "normal" web site's poll.

can't be compared
by Brian Aagren on Sun 25th May 2003 09:18 UTC

This years poll can't be compared to last years poll. the question isn't the same.

fx I like gentoo better than red hat, but at my company the sysadmin has installed red har on all our servers, so i use red hat a lot more than gentoo.

I voted Debian...
by Nathan O. on Sun 25th May 2003 09:38 UTC

I voted Debian, but its only saving grace for me was Knoppix. I tried to install Debian, and it was just too much to bother with. Knoppix? Run a script from within KDE, running off CD. A few simple questions.

Also, RE: Clarification about OSNews' readers, I wouldn't be too certain that all that many readers are developers. Geeks, yes, but I, for example, found this web site when I was just entering the whole Linux deal. If I voted last year (don't remember), it was for Red Hat. I would at that time have been convinced that it was the right choice, but since I became the least bit familiar with Linux, my vote has changed a few times. Had I even given Mandrake a try at the time, I'da voted for it.

But now there's Knoppix ;)

RE: I voted Debian...
by Greg on Sun 25th May 2003 09:48 UTC

I agree. While Debian's installer is not extremely bad (except the experimental one; STAY AWAY FROM IT), its kernel is outdated, so it doesn't recognize my NIC or my sound card. Knoppix did both (after a bit of ACPI fiddling). Knoppix is just genius, because it has 5 awesome benefits:

1. HW detection. Very good.
2. Debian-based, with much cutting-edge. Stable and yet comes with XFree 4.3, for example.
3. Live CD. So many uses!
4. Transparent Decompression. Why don't more distros use this, instead of having us download 5 zillion ISO images? Knoppix comes with an extremely-loaded, easily updatable system on one.
5. Easy install, with native XFS support. This is very useful. Plus, you can use the system while it's installing (which takes maybe 10-20 minutes, not much at all)

On my new desktop, I have a Gentoo partiton and a Knoppix one. Whenever I need to see how to do something, I cheat and look at how Knoppix does it ;)

debian =)
by duder on Sun 25th May 2003 09:54 UTC

The multiple versions of debian make my life so easy. On my production servers we run stable (and believe me, it is _rock_ stable). On my personal computers I run unstable. Yet it's all Debian!

forgot to mention
by duder on Sun 25th May 2003 09:56 UTC

Debian is also _the_ cross platform linux distro. Not quite NetBSD, but not bad either.

RE: forgot to mention
by Greg on Sun 25th May 2003 09:59 UTC

Isn't there a Debian-NetBSD?

by aa on Sun 25th May 2003 10:16 UTC

My favorite distro is Redhat. But Suse,Debian,slackware and Lycoris have also their own place.

by Simon on Sun 25th May 2003 11:08 UTC

Gentoo's in the lead! :-)

I must say that I've had love-hate relationships with both Red Hat and Debian (RH was too automagic, yet Linux - Debian was too hard to figure, yet Linux). The excellent community and the dead-easy system management, not to mention the extreme cutting-edgeness, however finally brought me to Gentoo. And I can't say I am unhappy with it. I just installed the unstable GCC 3.3 compiler, and it hasn't brought me many problems... yet.

Although it can take hours to install an application, I am still in love with Portage (yeah, I know it's a BSD ripoff). And the ultratweakability is really nice, which is why Gentoo is so great for geeks and developers...

- Simon

RE: nowt
by alfie on Sun 25th May 2003 11:44 UTC

i've always used mandrake but am really impressed with suse pro 8.2 and i'm thinking of changing.

Slackware for me!
by Cube4EVER on Sun 25th May 2003 11:53 UTC

I like the good old slackware.It stable and reliable.I learned more with one month on Slack than a year on Mandrake.In other words,i learned linux

debian netbsd
by duder on Sun 25th May 2003 11:53 UTC

Indeed, not only is a Debian GNU/NetBSD in the works, there is a Debian GNU/FreeBSD port also. And of course, don't forget Debian GNU/Hurd.

Debian... it's not just linux anymore.

by yop on Sun 25th May 2003 12:03 UTC

I'm surpised to see that gentoo and debian have the lead in the poll. I voted for gentoo because that's what I use as my main OS but it is not a distro for everyone. It was so long to install (from stage 1 on a fast PC) that I wouldn't consider installing it again from stage 1. Maybe from stage 3. But once it is installed and configured, maintaining it it very easy and not time consuming. Plus its biggest avantage is that you can be on the bleeding edge on certai programs if you choose to.

Re: debian netbsd
by Greg on Sun 25th May 2003 12:10 UTC

The funny thing is, there's an official Debian Win32 mailing list!

Debian..... it's not just reality anymore.

Gentoo Stage 1 Install
by Steve Forse on Sun 25th May 2003 12:12 UTC

I voted for Gentoo. I've installed it on several computers and I've never had a problem with it. While that's still true, I'll continue to install it on more.

One thing that I like about Gentoo is that, while the developers continue to make the system easier to use, it's geared primarily towards enthusists. That means that one can learn a lot about the system, have a lot of control, but never feel like things can get so broken that they're unfixable with a couple portage commands. I'm still waiting for a nice Gnome GUI for Portage, though.

Debian BSD
by KAMiKAZOW on Sun 25th May 2003 12:17 UTC
Three Words...
by FH on Sun 25th May 2003 12:18 UTC

Linux From Scratch.

Nothing better than building it yourself exactly the way you want it.

What's your favorite OS?
by rabbit on Sun 25th May 2003 12:21 UTC

I voted none, because I don't (apart from a shell account I read my mail on) use Linux anymore; I use OpenBSD now.

As this site is about different operating systems in general, maybe a 'what's your favorite os?' poll would suit more people.

Though maybe it's not such a good idea, as it may lure the windows-vs-linux trolls out of their caves. ;)

OTOH, this kind of polls is pretty useless, because one's favorite OS (or linux distro in this case) is a very personal choice. It's almost like asking 'What colour do you like best?', or 'What music do you prefer?'.
But they can be fun sometimes too ;)

RE: What's your favorite OS?
by Andrew on Sun 25th May 2003 12:40 UTC

> As this site is about different operating systems in general, maybe a 'what's your favorite os?' poll would suit more people.

I believe there's been plenty of those. Maybe not lately. How often do you visit this site?

by Pascal de Bruijn on Sun 25th May 2003 12:44 UTC

I voted for Debian, it's a great allrounder, it's fast and easy to install. And well apt-get kinda rocks. That's actually why I've also re-begun to use redhat, because it now also has apt-get.

Though linux is also great, it's very much like slackware but then just optimized for i586 or i686, with a very nice bsd style ports system. Seems very stable, mostly up to date.

And it uses pristine/vanilla/virgin sources to compile software. Some see this as an advantage, some don't.

SCO may help GNU/FreeBSD and GNU/NetBSD
by Anonymous on Sun 25th May 2003 12:51 UTC

Do you think the SCO fiasco may help the GNU/FreeBSD and GNU/NetBSD efforts? Personally, I like the BSD userland over the GNU userland so don't see much need to change either of those BSD's but if using the Linux kernel is deemed illegal, a *BSD kernel may help the GNU people.

RE: SCO may help GNU/FreeBSD and GNU/NetBSD
by Greg on Sun 25th May 2003 13:00 UTC

Please don't think in those terms. SCO killing Linux is not going to help you or BSD or anyone except maybe SCO and Microsoft.

That said, it cannot be deemed illegal to use the Linux kernel. That is legally impossible. Plus, if there is proprietary code found (there won't), I guarantee Torvalds and Cox and every kernel developer will make it their highest priority to replace it, and it will be most likely done very quickly.

RE: SCO may help GNU/FreeBSD and GNU/NetBSD
by Greg on Sun 25th May 2003 13:02 UTC

Ooops. Didn't read your comment carefully enough. Sorry.

It probably will, but GNUers will probably stay away due to ideological raisins.

top down or bottom up?
by Daisan on Sun 25th May 2003 13:12 UTC

someone once said linux is easier to learn from the bottom up, than top down. After using first Mandrake(8 and 9) and than redhat with its horribly broken kde. A friend recommended Slackware. I had read and heard all the horror stories. But downloaded and burned the iso. A quick 25 minute install and blam its up. Type in gdm after loging in as root and blam.. into my desktop. yes.. its not Windows insta-click friendly. I did have to edit the config file to get my mouse working(imps2) and i will say that getting printing to run properly was a bear. But, i was looking to be a bit geeky and wanted to get away from the commercial distros. The 2 days of wasted time with gentoo.. only left me convinced that I love Slack. Dropline gnome aint too shabby either. Btw.. this wasnt intended as a flame.. diff flavors for diff peeps.

RE: top down or bottom up?
by Greg on Sun 25th May 2003 13:18 UTC

>diff flavors for diff peeps.

I prefer GNU Diff myself :-)

Gentoo Forums
by Spark on Sun 25th May 2003 13:43 UTC

Obviously Gentoo has one of the strongest online communities, so this was expected:

I think these days we see a split between "meta distributions" like Debian and Gentoo (both certainly best quality of their particular kind) and more complete and integrated solutions like RedHat or SuSE.
And RedHat just rocks IMHO. ;)

by Chris on Sun 25th May 2003 13:57 UTC

The power of debian, the ease of libranet. My choice by far.

by sam on Sun 25th May 2003 14:15 UTC

i use yellowdog linux on my imac.


re: Spark
by samb on Sun 25th May 2003 14:32 UTC

I think these days we see a split between "meta distributions" like Debian and Gentoo (both certainly best quality of their particular kind) and more complete and integrated solutions like RedHat or SuSE.

What are you talking about? Debian is both the most complete _and_ the most integrated distribution of all. No other distribution, actually, no other operating system period has something like the Debian Policy Manual ( that encompasses _every single component_ of the system. Not just the base system, but also all the packages supplied by the distribution. If something doesn't conform, it's a bug and should be reported as such. Most of the non-essential packages for other major distributions like RH and SuSE aren't even packaged in-house, they're contributed from the outside. That's why you sometimes end up in 'RPM dependency hell', and not because there is something inherently wrong with the RPM package format as some people seem to think.

Red Hat 9 for me thanks
by Mike Hearn on Sun 25th May 2003 14:46 UTC

I used to enjoy mucking about with my system and upgrading it all by hand, but to be honest these days I'd rather get on with my own projects. Red Hat give me a nice, integrated desktop, that updates every 6 months which is certainly fast enough for me.

Rock on Red Hat!

Tried 7 out of the listed distro
by aherm on Sun 25th May 2003 15:02 UTC

Each has its ups and downs but overall, my favorite is SuSE ;-)

1. Hardware compatibility
2. Applications
3. Easy management tools
4. Stability
5. Speed

Way to go guys :-)

vote for libranet
by eyeleica on Sun 25th May 2003 15:03 UTC

Voter other, but I would vote Libranet if listed. Libranet, the best kept secret in the linux world. Perhaps not a secret much longer.

Fun to see how OSNews readers prefer developer disto's like Gentoo and Debian while the most mentioned (as I see it) here on OSNews are Mandrake, Red Hat, and SuSe. Just an observation...

I voted Debian btw. although I would still like to try Gentoo :-)

redhat won
by eightiesdude on Sun 25th May 2003 15:07 UTC

I know redhat won according to the poll. But I just dont like the new blending of both gnome and kde. I wish during install they would let the user choose if they want the real look of the gui's or the new combined one. Because of the blending of the this I dont use Redhat. I just do not like it. It is a shame. I didnt get to vote but I would of voted mandrake and then libranet and suse.

Re: redhat won
by Greg on Sun 25th May 2003 15:11 UTC

Actually, it didn't. Gentoo did.

Re: redhat won
by Greg on Sun 25th May 2003 15:13 UTC

Ohh,you must have been looking at the old poll. The new one is still active. Vote!

by xirus on Sun 25th May 2003 15:15 UTC

I voted 'other' because I'm using ArchLinux atm (I tried about all the other distros in that poll, but they are either too unstable or to newbie oriented)

Arch is an 1686 optimized distro (although they're working on a i586 version too) with pre-compiled packages (you can compile them yourself too), a ports/portage/apt-get like system called pacman and a lot of very cool features.

It still lacks applications and it's not for newbies but still my distro of choice atm.

re: Spark
by Spark on Sun 25th May 2003 15:37 UTC

What are you talking about? Debian is both the most complete _and_ the most integrated distribution of all.

That's not what I meant. I used Debian long enough to know its qualities. ;) What I mean is, that a distribution like Debian "just" packages available software and the "Debian-specific" stuff mostly centers around installing, building, configuring, etc of those packages.
With RedHat or SuSE OTOH, you get a complete and ready-to-go system with all the software you need tightly integrated (like the BlueCurve desktop), often heavily modified from the "original" software. The RedHat GNOME desktop for example is quite advanced compared to the original GNOME desktop.

As you correctly noted, RH and SuSE aren't so much into providing packages for everything but more into providing a solid and stable operating system and then letting the user install new software mostly from third parties.
That's why I call Debian and Gentoo meta distributions. They don't try to build a new system from existing free software but they rather provide advanced methods to install and manage available and mostly unmodified free software. There is clearly a huge difference between these two kinds of distributions.

MODERATOR: Problem with poll
by Anonymous on Sun 25th May 2003 15:43 UTC

Your poll has a fatal flaw - you select an option by default.

Yellow Dog...
by mopar on Sun 25th May 2003 15:56 UTC

Is a Power PC port of Red Hat, isn't it?

by CybrJackle on Sun 25th May 2003 16:02 UTC

Voted for Debian but would have choose Libranet too.

Run Libranet 2.8 on my Desktop
& Debian Woody 3.0 on my Sparc box.

I used SuSE for years, play with every new release for RH, MD, Slack, and ran Gentoo a few times. plus other little distro's but have found Libranet to be the best Desktop Linux out there, plus it makes a great server too.

Linux polls
by LinuxSurveys on Sun 25th May 2003 16:08 UTC

You can find a lot of different Linux related polls at

by RF on Sun 25th May 2003 16:09 UTC

I chose Mandrake because that's the Linux distro I am most familiar with for the last three or four years. But, I have found that what fits my needs best is actually FreeBSD... I would have gone with Slack or Debian, but I like the idea of having an entire operating system put together by a single team, and if you happen to check netcraft's top 50 uptimes, you'll see tribute to the stability of this particular operating system. It saddens me not to see any Linux in there. Not that I need such uptimes, of course. I have no experience with Slack or Deb, really, so I can't honestly choose them, despite what I have heard.

Debian Up Your life ;-)
by Emil 'opi' Oppeln Bronikowski on Sun 25th May 2003 16:29 UTC

Im all after Debian. We're running our server on Debian, we're using Debian on Desktop. Debian runs also without problem on Pegasos ( ). Gentoo is also pice of nice distro.

RE:MODERATOR: Problem with poll
by Wrawrat on Sun 25th May 2003 16:48 UTC

Indeed. However, I have found a bigger problem. I saw the results when I voted, but now I seem to be able to vote again. Strange.

by ThanatosNL on Sun 25th May 2003 16:59 UTC

I chose "other" for CRUX. CRUX is basically a simplified slackware with a bsd-style ports system. I prefer it over Gentoo, because (and I have to be honest here) some Gentoo users have ruined it for me by running around plugging Gentoo in webforums where it's not needed. I know this says nothing about the actual quality of the distro, but technically I actually find CRUX superior, because it's more flexible. You can install it without its ports system, and just download and make your own packages yourself. It will then behave more like a Linux From Scratch box+package management. You don't even need the package management tools! You can also install a tool called prt-get, which works on top of the ports system to take care of dependencies and update stuff without cd'ing into the ports tree.

Maybe I should consider the whole desktop experience more; how well a distro provides a clean, easy to use desktop ui experience. IF that were the case, I'd go with RedHat, but then again, I'm not one to speak, since I unfortunately can't bring myself to accept all these ui frontends to configuration and such that cripple a CLI user ;)

re: RF
by samb on Sun 25th May 2003 17:05 UTC

and if you happen to check netcraft's top 50 uptimes, you'll see tribute to the stability of this particular operating system. It saddens me not to see any Linux in there.

Sigh, you're only the 50th person to bring that survey.

From the FAQ (
Additionally HP-UX, Linux, Solaris and recent releases of FreeBSD cycle back to zero after 497 days, exactly as if the machine had been rebooted at that precise point. Thus it is not possible to see a HP-UX, Linux or Solaris system with an uptime measurement above 497 days.

That said, I just noticed a Linux system in 3. place. Not sure if that's an accurate report though. This is something which can easily be faked.

by BlakeRG on Sun 25th May 2003 18:12 UTC

i am a redhat linux convert ;)

i used to be a mandrake user from 7.1

by RF on Sun 25th May 2003 18:16 UTC

Thanks for pointing that out. I just saw the Linux placement in 3rd. Nice to see. ;)

Gentoo is great!
by Zachary on Sun 25th May 2003 18:25 UTC

I first installed Gentoo at 1.2 or so on a spare partition on my main comp. There's a lot to configure to get it running perfectly, but once you have it right you don't have to worry about reinstalling. I eventually overwrote my Gentoo partition because of lack of time to configure and I went back to using Windows 2000. However, as soon as I got my laptop repaired I installed it on there, took to time to get everything configured, and fell in love with it all over. I'm now typing this on my newly reformatted main machine with Gentoo as the primary OS ;) I still have lots of configuration, but that's ok. After my first trial of Gentoo, no other distribution has really appealed to me. I used to download all the latest of Red Hat, SuSE, Mandrake, Xandros, etc to try out. However, in my opinion, none compare to Gentoo. It's a learning experience and a great OS.

by cr@zy on Sun 25th May 2003 18:47 UTC

was this pole up for 4 hours or something? I visit osnews daily and missed the poll. I understand that you need to close the poll so some zealot site doesnt send all their readers here to vote for their fave, but seriously at least you could've waited for me :p

by Eugenia on Sun 25th May 2003 19:09 UTC

>Fun to see how OSNews readers prefer developer disto's like Gentoo >and Debian while the most mentioned (as I see it) here on OSNews are >Mandrake, Red Hat, and SuSe. Just an observation...

Last year's poll revealed Red Hat as the leading distro, so we did reported on it more. Thing is, distros like Debian and Gentoo have VERY FEW news items to offer, while commercial companies they make press releases to attract attention and let us know in time of things. We just report on whatever is out there.
Personally, I am not convinced that Gentoo was able to lead this poll. I am looking to see if someone has tumpered with the poll.

>MODERATOR: Problem with poll
>Your poll has a fatal flaw - you select an option by default.

No, it is not fatal at all. I put Slackware up there, as first choice, because I knew people were going to whine about this. I can't do anything about the selected option, I did not write this poll engine, we outsource it (how many times should I write this???). This is why, in order to not have people again say "ah, the X distro is No1 because it was preselected and people just clicked on it", I just put there a distro that is NOT as popular as the others. This way, you don't get to whine because the first pre-selected distro wouldn't be ranking first, but you still did whine.

>was this pole up for 4 hours or something?

The poll is still open. It seems that someone with your IP address voted before you did.

by adapt on Sun 25th May 2003 20:10 UTC

I voted Other for Crux Linux ( I had been a Gentoo user for quite sometime, and decided to give Crux another shot. Small, Simple, Stable.


YHBT (Re: Gentoo is Great!)
by ThanatosNL on Sun 25th May 2003 20:33 UTC

> I used to download all the latest of Red Hat, SuSE, Mandrake, Xandros, etc to try out. However, in my opinion, none compare to Gentoo. It's a learning experience and a great OS.

You can't download Xandros. ITIHBTBAGZ, however.

by Bakari on Sun 25th May 2003 21:08 UTC

Eugenia, how do I remove the Pollog and PollSt textfiles from my C: drive? I have deleted it several times, to no avail. Is it some kind of spyware? If so, I will never attempt to make a vote at Osnews.

by Nucleotide on Sun 25th May 2003 21:32 UTC

It's funny I haven't seen one mention of YOPER, yet over at DistroWatch ( this OS has been listed as most popular for the last several months I think...followed by a close second is Mandrake....thought I'd mention this


RE: Spyware?
by Eugenia on Sun 25th May 2003 21:33 UTC

What spyware are you talking about? This is just a javascript poll it does not create any files on your hard drive.

I made a search on the web and found this:
and this:

These files are not related to osnews' polls AFAIK (which again, we outsource them, but Js can't create files on a hard drive afaik, by default).

RE: Replies
by cheezwog on Sun 25th May 2003 21:33 UTC

"Personally, I am not convinced that Gentoo was able to lead this poll. I am looking to see if someone has tumpered with the poll. "

Another reason is that while distros like red-hat, mandrake etc all do a great job, chucking in an install disc and clicking a few boxes does not lead to the same emotional attachment to a distro that building it from scratch does.
With Gentoo you can build a system that is perfect for *you*, something that cannot be offered by prebuilt ones, so perhaps everyone who voted for Gentoo is really voting for a distro they themselves have designed.

RE: Replies
by Spark on Sun 25th May 2003 22:44 UTC

And another reason certainly is that there is no major RedHat or Debian forum where someone could post a link to stuff the poll. ;)
The particular thread at the Gentoo forums has above 260 views as of now.

I think its sad
by Maynard on Sun 25th May 2003 23:01 UTC

For people to go and link to this page from distro forums and such. it is tantamount to rigging the poll. Anyway, Redhat still leads the rpm based distro list.

By the way
by Maynard on Sun 25th May 2003 23:02 UTC

Its nice to see Yoper go down the rankings at Distrowatch. Yes disappear, for all I care. Guys make people test and them don't give them a distro. They should have made it clear from the beginning, I am sure it would have never gone that high on Distrowatch.

by Francis on Sun 25th May 2003 23:07 UTC

I voted Debian... I would perhaps have gone with Gentoo, but I don't have a week or more to get the thing running at an acceptable level...

It takes me about 1 hour to get Debian fully functional. After about 10 mins, I am in an IRC channel killing time while everything else is installed... Gentoo never finished compiling for me... after 9 days, I was going insane - no computer for that amount of time is simply unbarably! I stoped the compilation, popped in my Debian CD, and had everything working - fast enough for me - within 1 hour...

Perhaps Gentoo is nice - on a P4 3.0 Ghz machine... however I only have a pos 633Mhz and only 128MB RAM... for me, its simply not practical...

I pitty people who actually thing Gentoo is the answer. If a package doesn't appear to be performing well, then I use apt-src, after a few hours, the package is running very fast, and my system was functional the whole time... This is how its supposed to be - compile ONLY slow apps, if the binary application is fast enough, why waste your time?

I commend those that maintain Debian packages, I maintain 3 currently, but I will never compile the entire system again!!

by pret on Sun 25th May 2003 23:30 UTC

I love and use Gentoo.. switched from three years of Debian usage to it.

I don't mind the long initial setup time, because I hardly reinstall..

I don't beleive in the Optimization=huge difference myth.. I u se gentoo for different reasons than that. First, there is more customizability. For example, if you want to maintain a completely GNOME-free system like I do, and a gtk app has optional (or perhaps default) GNOME support, you can automatically make portage not use GNOME support through use flags. In other distros, such as Debian, you're in the mercy of the packagers. Only sometimes in Debian, for example, would you have a package and a package-gnome. In portage, it comes basically for free..

I don't mind compiling everything. My computer is fast enough (Athlon XP 2200+) that it can be compiling all day and still be as responsive as not compiling anything at all. When I want to do something like play quake3, I can always pause it.

Btw, a stage3 install of Gentoo with GRIP packages only takes about 2 or 3 hours or so here. I usually do this because I have a functioning system. Most everything gets updated later on anyway,.

redhat and GNOME
by toto on Sun 25th May 2003 23:58 UTC

I have to say it is hard for me to pick a favorite distro. Since at work we migrate all our J2EE apps to Redhat Linux and our development is also in Redhat desktops I am very comfortable with Redhat. We use Dell Hardware and notebook, pcs, servers redhat install with no issue.

Love SuSE
by Ed March on Mon 26th May 2003 00:09 UTC

I started with slackware in 1994/5, tried Slackware,
Red Hat, Debian, Caldera (open linux free sample) and
Makdrake 8.1. I Stuck with Suse after buying SuSE 5.0.
I run SuSE 7.2 with KDE 3.1.1 at home and 8.1 at work.
I also seen RH 8.0, and RH's getting better, but SUSE
just provides more tools (and toys) right our of the box.
They were also first to ship on a DVD.
I'll admits sometimes the doc is in German or the wording
on Yast is funny, but it's all monor, when it all works so
well. Thanks SuSE for great engineering!!!


by akira on Mon 26th May 2003 00:14 UTC

i've tried slack, mdk, suse, and now gentoo. hands down it is the best. it can not be beat, although slack is up there. suse/mdk/rh/rpm's suck.... i'd wouldn't use linux if everthing were rpms.

Re: By the way
by SeanParsons on Mon 26th May 2003 00:42 UTC

I'm the one whom updated there logo (back during rc1) and feel that I will never pay to use their distro after the way much of the community was treated by them. Here is a link to the logo I gave them the rights to:

By the way
by Maynard on Mon 26th May 2003 00:58 UTC

Sorry about that. It sucks. At least people like Xandros did not raise anyone's hopes and had very limited beta tests. Plus they include a lot of their own stuff there. I think the day will come when most dstro's will disappear, and Yoper will be one of the first to go. They can not live without the community. They forgot that its the community that beta tests, and not their coprorate clients. Ask redhat, SuSE, and Mandrake on why you should try keep the users happy

by Andrew on Mon 26th May 2003 01:10 UTC

"Personally, I am not convinced that Gentoo was able to lead this poll. I am looking to see if someone has tumpered with the poll. "

Don't let all the positive comments fool you into thinking people like Gentoo!

By the way this poll is crap, I'd have to revote if I want to look at the results.

by Centinel on Mon 26th May 2003 01:59 UTC

I suspect that the Gentoo forum astroturfed this poll

by anonymous on Mon 26th May 2003 02:06 UTC

wow....if you people are so sad as to worry about the gentoo forums, then you need to get a life. Seriously, worrying this heavily over a poll is a bit immature, and people like Eugenia will never understand Gentoo, nor the user base.

Just my two cents.

by on Mon 26th May 2003 02:13 UTC

I came from the gentoo forum, but even so, If I had come from the RedHat, debian, or any other forum I would have voted the same way.
I've used RedHat, Mandrake, Suse, and others, (some for years) but nothing compares with Gentoo.

I've learning more using Gentoo then any other OS, and I've got a better faster more stable system then I've ever had with any other OS.

I've even got my system talking to me, telling me when there's mail and who it's from. (emerge festival) fun stuff.

SuSe Vs Debian
by Hiryu on Mon 26th May 2003 02:27 UTC

The title of my post implies a troll. I started using debian back in 1999 and a few days ago I bought and installed suse 8.2 (just for kicks). I am loving suse, it's great for a desktop machine.

But how do I feel about debian now? I still love it. I'm just tired of doing everything by hand, suse just works.

So which one do I like better? I can't choose one over the other so I am not voting. I enjoy them EQUALLY. SuSe is a change from the norm, it's fresh to me because I've used Debian for so long. Maybe eventually I'll go back. I like the variety of being able to use linux in a somewhat different form.

Now I think I should try the most recent release of mandrake and redhat to see how I like them!

Hard to decide
by Darius on Mon 26th May 2003 07:37 UTC

I did not vote, because I am still undecided. So far, I have tried Slackware, Xandros, Lindows, Redhat, Mandrake, Knoppix, and as I type this, Gentoo is doing its thing on a spare PC. (I plan to try more, including Debian and LFS in the future).
So far, it is a toss-up between Slackware and Gentoo. I have figured out that I don't care too much for the 'automagic' and 'easy as pie' distros because, although they work most of the time, I don't like not knowing WHY things work and worse yet, when something doesn't work/breaks or when I need to dip down to the CLI and get my hands dirty to get something working, I really feel lost.
So, I feel more 'at home' in distros that require you to do more stuff manually. I figure as long as I don't know what the hell I'm doing, I might as well go all the way with it ;)
Problem is, Linux is really a hobby project for me. I rarely get time to work on it and when I do (such as over this holiday weekend), I generally tend to try out a new distro, so I never end up spending a huge amount of time with just one.
For now, I play with Linux to tinker and to try and learn because that is one kind of experience that I don't get with Windows. However, as long as I insist on doing everything the hard way, it'll probably be quite some time before I settle on one distro, much less actually do anything useful with it ;)

I like Slackware best
by devil on Mon 26th May 2003 08:41 UTC

I like Slackware best.
secondly Mandrake.
Then Redhat.

by Quag7 on Mon 26th May 2003 09:42 UTC

I can be happy with any distribution which has a reasonable package management system. I really think for me this is the central thing I hate screwing around with. I can't find any good reason to choose a commercial distro over Gentoo or Debian or what have you. It certainly does take some time to configure your system with something like Gentoo but once it's set up, I barely mess with it. I haven't messed with it probably in 3-4 weeks, save a few package updates. I'd like to see Red Hat, Mandrake, SuSE, etc. refine their package management systems, and I think they will. URPMI kind of worked for a few packages but not for others. Haven't used it in awhile.

But you know, you have to be rational and all and not be a sort of zealot ab


out your distro. You have to use one that thoroughly fits your needs. Not everyone has time to muck about so much with an OS; fortunately I fully enjoy doing that. hits my firewall...
by slack boogie on Mon 26th May 2003 10:29 UTC

while I am trying to vote...
Just FYI.

re: Hiryu
by samb on Mon 26th May 2003 10:59 UTC

But how do I feel about debian now? I still love it. I'm just tired of doing everything by hand, suse just works.

Doing what, exactly, by hand? Debian 'just works' for me. What didn't it do for you? Are you refering to anything beyond easier installation and initial desktop glitz? Of course, with distros like SuSE and RH easy installation is an absolute must, because every now and then you _have_ to reinstall to get the latest greatest. With Debian, you install once and upgrade in place forever after.

Gentoo, no doubt
by C.M on Mon 26th May 2003 11:22 UTC

Tried RH (twice) and Debian before, but I've quickly switched back to Windows. Gentoo was the first dist that I could get exactly like I wanted, and everything worked right away. Just followed the excellent install-guide at

Starting at stage 1 isn't all that much work. Just leave the comp on a few hours and do something else. ;) Try it!

by blub on Mon 26th May 2003 16:17 UTC

It's stable what Do you want more? (Besides running a BSD *g*)

Linux From Scratch
by Gerard Beekmans on Mon 26th May 2003 17:06 UTC

I prefer using self-built Linux systems over pre-made ones. Linux From Scratch is my choice.

I'm using Gentoo as my main OS now, after an history of MacOS, WinXX, and countless back and forth between Slackware, RedHat, SuSe and Mandrake.

I think that the design of the distro is great, and one thing that I like in particular is their will to EXPERIMENT.

by R.J. Dohnert on Mon 26th May 2003 21:59 UTC

I think they need to figure out a way to fix these polls so people cant vote multiple times. That seems to be the case with most online polls. Gentoo is not that popular and I doubt 960 people have even heard of Gentoo

Slackware would be winning...
by Anonymous on Mon 26th May 2003 22:05 UTC

<drumroll> except most of us are probably Slackers! <cymbol crash followed by groans>

Alternative poll
by Mark on Mon 26th May 2003 22:22 UTC

According to the posts, everyone assume a distro is what they use as a desktop or server. What about firewalls or routers. Another way to conduct this poll would have been to divide it at least in 4 categories : desktop, server, floppy and CD based.
I'm raising this issue because, as Eugenia said, most people who visit this website love to tinker with their systems. They probably have more than one rig and try as many distros as they can.
I use Coyote Linux (firewall), Mandrake and Windows 2000 (I know, it's not Linux...) as desktops, Mitel SME Server. In a drawer, there is a FreeBSD Live CD. Also, whenever I'm looking for another old computer to buy, I bring a Knoppix CD.
As you can see, when hobbyists have plenty of choice, it's hard for them to pick a particular OS as their favorite (although it's easier to guess who the villains are : SCO and Windows).

I've noticed a number of posts along the lines of "Gentoo would be great if you had a 3 GHz P4 and you were a *nix god", so I'm going to quote what I said in the Gentoo forums regarding one's greatest Linux accomplishment:

I installed Gentoo alongside Win98 on my 700 MHz P3 laptop with 128 MB RAM, and am able to access the network at work for printing and accessing files on the server.

Why is this so great? First, I work at a major academic medical center (I'm a pediatrician), and I am using Gentoo for all of my work needs. I am one of the few non-Windows users at work (some of the other docs have Macs), and I am sure that I am the only Linux user.

If this doesn't show that Windows can be replaced in the corporate arena, I don't know what will.

Second, my computer background consists solely of programming in BASIC and Pascal on an Apple II+ back when I was in high school. Even so, I managed to install Gentoo with very little support from my IT department -- all I really needed were IP address for the network printers.

If this doesn't show that beginners can install Gentoo, I don't know what will.

Gentoo acused of cheating?
by Lovechild on Mon 26th May 2003 23:22 UTC

I can't see that posting a link to the poll in the forums could be considered cheating - it's not like anyone has been scripting anything nasty like some FreeBSD users did in the last BSD poll (as I recall it was the FreeBSD users who spiked the polls in that one).

I simply fail to see it, after all RedHat is free to post a link on it's frontpage if they see it fit.

I personally think that Gentoo is the best distro out there for me - it might not be for everyone and sure it still has problems in some areas. But the poll question is "What is YOUR favorite distro", so who am I to be dishonest -- Gentoo is great, but that doesn't mean I would install it on my parents box (they run Mandrake btw.)

Ehere is Conectiva ?
by Marcelo on Tue 27th May 2003 00:22 UTC

My favorite distribution is Conectiva.

It is trilingual (portuguese, spanish and english), use apt-rpm natively, it is 99.9% Red Hat compatible, it has mp3 and multimedia support out of box, it comes with 4 binary CDs in its last version (9.0), its packages are very fragmented and it permits that you can have a really minimum installation, etc.

by Bayerwerke on Tue 27th May 2003 02:19 UTC

Dreamcast Linux is overwhelmingly my favorite. Beverage in hand, feet on the coffee table, 27 inch T.V., DSL, Broadband adapter, w3m, telnet, nmap, vi. The door to the room with all the computers is closed and locked and I'm not going back in there until my weekend is over.

RedHat Rules
by Christopher on Tue 27th May 2003 02:50 UTC

I love RedHat because it is very stable and easy to use. Out-of-the-box multimedia support is a lame standard by which to judge a distro, IMO, and there is more to linux than KDE!

by vrt3 on Tue 27th May 2003 14:42 UTC

Is there a way to view the results of the poll without voting? I voted already a few days ago, and I'd like to see how the results evolved over time.

by Mario Vazquez on Thu 29th May 2003 15:36 UTC

Well, definitelly geek predominance was a factor in the poll. I tried various distros and what I like (in order are):

Red Hat / Slackware (tie)

Gentoo is fast, rock solid. Mandrake is good overall in speed, tools. But in some areas somewhat unstable. RedHat I dislike thier RHN policy. Even a purchased distro comes with limited time account. Even Microsoft don't do that.

Even when I like more Gentoo, I would prefer RH or MDK for server installation (no compilation required).

BTW: Companies usually get products from other business so they can request support (ie. by phone) or blame it in case something goes wrong.