The results from our past three Linux distro polls

The results differ wildly from year to year.
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Every year, we like to ask readers "What desktop distro do you prefer in 2019?" This year, the total votes tallied in at 5,641, and the winner was Fedora with 1,151 votes. Ubuntu was a very close second with 1,133 votes.

From Sparky to Puppy to Gentoo ("how was that not on the list?"), readers weighed in. And, lots of folks mentioned their love of Pop! OS.

You might think this annual poll would be fairly similar from year to year, from what distros we list to how people answer, but the results are wildly different from year to year.

(At the time of the creation of each poll, we pull the top 15 distributions according to DistroWatch over the past 12 months.)

Last year, the total votes tallied in at 15,574! And the winner was PCLinuxOS with Ubuntu a close second. Another interesting point is that in 2018, there were 950 votes for "other" and 122 comments compared to this year with only 367 votes for "other" and 69 comments.

In 2017, the total votes tallied in at 8190, with a whopping 220 comments. The winner here was Ubuntu with Mint a close second. 

What do you like about our annual poll? 





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What I loved about the poll is the absolute amateurism this site displayed in making them. Copy pasting the top "distros" from DistroWatch, throwing them into the poll and tacking "What desktop distro do you prefer" as the headline.
Readers found themselves looking at non-desktop oriented distros such as CentOS, FreeBSD derivative TrueOS and even ReactOS, a re-implementation of Windows.
These polls screamed "whomever made this list either have no clue or doesn't care". Neither option puts in a favorable light.

I wouldn't say they are non-desktop oriented. I have installed CentOS and Red Hat with their perspective default DE on several machines I have. And TrueOS states it has a default DE called Lumina; and others can be installed.

The title was called Distro not Desktop Environment. We all use various DE with all distros alike. I have 3 different installs of Ubuntu with 3 different DE. That's the great thing about all can have a different taste than everyone else. Just my two cents.

In reply to by Erez Schatz

The title was, for the record, "What's your favorite desktop Linux distribution". And here lies the issue I had with the writers copy/pasting the top choices from DistroWatch, as the options given were not specifically "desktop linux".

As to your comment. Just because you can install X11, a WM/DE doesn't make a distro "desktop oriented", theoretically you can run any and every Linux distro as a desktop.

However, a "Desktop oriented linux distro" means that the project makes its goal to be ran on personal computers as a "desktop".
This means, usually that you make certain to have a simple, graphic install process (or even better, a "live CD") to make it friendly to non-technical users. You need to support as many different hardware configuration that is found at the personal market which has a large variance and rely on hardware support for audio/video unlike a server.
Deliver a full "desktop" UX by either customizing an existing DE (like Fedora does) or creating their own (Ubuntu Unity, Mint) and have many applications out of the box or easily available for Office, and personal use.

It's not "Taste", it's project goals. You can run a server on Fedora and run CentOS on your desktop, however, those are not the respective projects' goals.

And while TrueOS is very much "Desktop Oriented" it is most definitely not a "Linux Distro", and neither is ReactOS.

In reply to by bmaynard

I think there are Stayers and Changers. Changers seem to be always on the lookout for some better distro out there.
I'm more of a Stayer, or maybe I should say Lazy Nonchanger, since the times I have looked at other distros I have a hard time seeing any advantage in switching, and a lot of disadvantages in learning a new scheme of how things are located and named.

I think I am more of a stayer. I have 5 distributions installed on different machines that serve as my drivers. I use the rotational method. I do keep two test rigs for distro-hopping because I like to see what is happening in flavor land.

That being said, I have used 3 of those 5 for over four years and recently added Modicia O.S. and Ubuntu Budgie to my production machine lineup. I am very impressed with MakuluLinux Flash and Core and they are being put through the paces.

My steady lineup is KDE Neon, openSUSE Argon, Deepin 15.x, Linux Mint Cinnamon and a dual-boot Modicia O.S. and Ubuntu Budgie. Desktop Linux has really come a long way these last few years and just keeps getting better. I can't deny there are some really great distro's and I often wish I had more laptops to run others I am impressed with. Fedora and Antergos, for example.

In reply to by Greg P

I've tried freebsd, redhat, CentOS, Ubuntu, mint, Debian, lubuntu, kubuntu, fedora, and a few more.
Fact that I come from Windows, means that gnome has a disadvantage on me. I prefer cinnamon desktop found in mint, and a lightweight distro.

Many are great candidates, but I finally set my sights on the latest Lubuntu.
It's light, just simply works (unlike others), is stable, looks good, and has a Windows feel.
Is easy, I can actually get work done on it (unlike redhat or FreeBSD where every task was a challenge to get it to work).

For me, Lubuntu is a winner!
Only one problem that the integrated graphics of my corei5 won't work when I have a dedicated graphics card installed.

To the 5 people who voted ReactOS (and were presumably serious), I'm curious if it's used as a daily driver and on what hardware. I can't imagine it's ready for dependable use yet (have tried it myself a couple of times but maybe things have improved).

The others are no surprise: Fedora, Debian-based (Ubuntu. Mint and Debian:) and "Arch, btw". Good to see MX Linux represented (it's incredible on older hardware) plus it's a rolling release (not too many have this key feature).

The 5 people who voted ReactOS probably did it for kicks and giggles knowing full well it's not a linux distro, nor even a Unix-like.

In reply to by gazoo (not verified)

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