Why has Ubuntu lost its popularity?

Ubuntu for the first time with a significant loss of popularity

It is probably one of the great success stories in the Linux world: Almost immediately after its first appearance in 2004, Ubuntu, with its focus on ease of use, rose to become the most popular Linux distribution. A status that is reflected not least in the ranking of Distrowatch, where Ubuntu has held the undisputed top position for years. Or at least had: Because for the first time, there is currently a trend reversal.


As a look at the current figures - which are generated from the requests for individual distributions - shows, Ubuntu had to give up the top position to Linux Mint last month. This follows a trend that has persisted for a few months and has brought the two distributions closer and closer in terms of ratings.

Root cause research

Of course, one can only speculate about the reasons for these shifts in the ranking. In view of the fact that Ubuntu is using its own Unity interface for the first time with the current version, the rejection of this innovation is an obvious explanatory model. Especially since Linux Mint is an Ubuntu descendant that - at least for now - continues to rely on the "classic" desktop of the GNOME 2.x series.


Anyone who now concludes that there is a general aversion to innovations on the Linux desktop should, however, take a closer look at the ranking. Because in addition to Linux Mint, Ubuntu has now also been overtaken by Fedora. The big innovations in the form of the GNOME3 integrated with Fedora 15 seem to be positively received here. The values ​​of Fedora have accordingly grown steadily over the past few months. A general annoyance about the increasing going it alone and some controversial announcements by Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth may also play a role here.


It should be emphasized that the figures are of course not representative, but only represent a section of the interests of the Linux community. Even so, it remains to be seen that for the first time ever, Ubuntu has suffered a really significant slump in popularity on Distrowatch. It remains to be seen whether this is a short-term dissatisfaction with the current release or whether the current numbers turn into a long-term trend. (red, derStandard.at, 24.06.11)