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Why is Ubuntu so popular?

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  • Why is Ubuntu so popular?

    Hey all,

    Yet another one of my 'Why?' questions, but this is one I have been pondering for a while. There's no doubt that Ubuntu and it's varients are an extremely popular choice for people. Accoring to DistroWatch, it's the most commonly used out of any other.

    The question is though... what is it about Ubuntu that draws people in? Up until the other day, I wasn't that familiar with Ubuntu at all, but I figured due to it's popularity, that it was a good 'noobs' distro. I have to admit, I was wrong for the most part.

    I was helping a complete Linux noobie, and recommended him Ubuntu. Well, in the course of a few hours, he ran into so many issues... such as trying to install the NVIDIA driver, and even Firefox. I was also surprised to see that no kernel source code is included in the install, but requires a seperate download through the package manager. In the end, I now realize that you do have to have some Linux sense to use Ubuntu on a day to day basis. Unless it's just that Dapper is problem ridden... because I was surprised to see how many problems this guy ran in to... as I was helping him along.


    So why is it that Ubuntu has blown into such a popular distro? I just fail to see how it has advantages over some others out there, so I am curious.


  • #2
    Ubuntu is largely where it is today because of Mark Shuttleworth... If some other random person would have started Ubuntu, it likely would have not received the press or coverage that it has. Ubuntu is well funded by Shuttleworth, and receives extra publicity due to his name. With that, they also send out their free CDs to anyone who requests them, in any quantity.

    That's basically how I would sum it up into a few words... There's a lot more details to the matter, but that is pretty much how it boils down. I have nothing against Ubuntu, it is a relatively nice and easy-to-use desktop distribution.
    Michael Larabel


    • #3
      Interesting... I figured there would be more to it than just publicity. I found it easy to use also... but for complete Linux novices... I am not too sure. Apparently people just want to use what's the 'most popular', which forces them to learn it


      • #4
        Being able to get as many cd's as you'd like in the mail is probley the biggest reason. The second reason is because apt-get was developed so well with Ubuntu, and getting anything you wanted was just a command away.

        We live in a material world, and even with Linux people will use whats popular, because they don't want to be felt left out; Material people are so used to being told what to do, that when faced with a desision on what to use on the computer for a OS, they just find out what everyone else is using regardless of how well it works(Just take Windows as an example).

        I personally wouldn't put Ubuntu in the top 25 Distros, but then again what do I know. I know alot of linux users and none of them use Ubuntu, in fact they all hate is alot.

        I tried Ubuntu and Kubuntu two seperate times, and never had it fully running either time. Lots of driver issues and one version crashed and starting doing odd things after install.
        Last edited by KohlyKohl; 08-03-2006, 10:14 PM.


        • #5
          Yeah... I didn't find it that stable, really. The installer actually crashed on me the first time I tried to use it, heh. When I was helping this guy... apt-get wouldn't even function for him.

          Originally posted by KohlyKohl
          We live in a material world, and even with Linux people will use whats popular, because they don't want to be felt left out; Material people are so used to being told what to do, that when faced with a desision on what to use on the computer for a OS, they just find out what everyone else is using regardless of how well it works(Just take Windows as an example).
          Aye, it definitely looks that way. I just couldn't get over how many times I have seen "Ubuntu" on the front page of Digg and Slashdot... and rarely see talk about others. It's too bad, because there are a lot out there that deserve a lot more respect.


          • #6
            I've been using Ubuntu as a primary distro for my desktop for a few months now (previously on Gentoo and even more previously Slack). I've had very few problems with it. Maybe I'm just lucky though.


            • #7
              I'm new to the Linux world, was encouraged to try Ubuntu so did. Running Dapper on an old PIII test machine.
              Since I have some time invested scratching around in Ubuntu, I'm hesitant to go off in different directions, but have often wondered about other distro's.
              Which ones would you say are better? I'm just looking for a distro that works and doesn't give me a lot of grief if you know what I mean. Are some better than others with laptops? I've been watching the Ubuntu Forums laptop section and it seems there're goofy problems with every one of 'em. Overheating, weak sound, suspend/hibernate doesn't work, etc. etc.


              • #8
                There are many distros for a reason... but you don't necessarily need to move to another to get the most of your machine. Personally, I think if you are finding Ubuntu to fill whatever needs you have, then there is no real sense of moving to something else.

                I would definitely stick to it if you are finding it to be stable and without many bugs. Moving to another distro may cause a lot of bugs to creep up that you didn't experience in Ubuntu. SuSE comes to mind... because I find that one incredibly unstable distro.

                I recommend sticking with Ubuntu until you find you are completely comfortable with Linux in general. That's when you may want to move onto other prospects.

                You may also want to reference this page to see a list of the current popular distros.


                • #9
                  It's funny to me that one of the most recurring reasons given for Ubuntu's success here is the fact that you can get one or more CDs shipped to you without charge. While this is a very handy service, it says nothing about the distribution, what packages it ships with by default, the functionality it has out of the box, or the general ease of use. In fact, I've been using Ubuntu for about 2 years now and I've yet to order any CDs... it's just much easier in my situation to download the CD off the internet.

                  I will say that after using numerous releases of Red Hat, Fedora, Gentoo, Debian, and other distros over the last several years Ubuntu has been by far the best overall for my needs. I believe one of the main reasons for this (aside from Ubuntu's strong points that I glazed over above) is that Debian is the basis for this distribution. Debian provides an excellent base with it's repositories of free software, attention to detail, heavily commented code (to let you know what is going on), and already large user base and developer base. Many would say that Ubuntu has hurt Debian (mostly original Debian users), but I say that the two projects are so similar that Debian cannot help but gain from Ubuntu's success.


                  • #10
                    As far as I've seen, with 6.10 you cannot use a dual core processor and NVidia's official drivers because you have to install a different kernel that doesn't support it. To me thats just unsatisfactory, and I'm going back to SuSE most likely to finish out my 1 year SLED License and find something else.