Ubuntu has been overtaken by Fedora, Mint, and openSUSE. Mint now holds the number one spot in all of DistroWatch’s rankings going back at least a year, which leads us to wonder why.
One reason behind this reversal of fortune for Ubuntu could be the change of default interface in version 11.04 or “Natty Narwhal”, released in April 2011. With the new Ubuntu came Unity, an interface previously seen in Ubuntu Netbook Edition, and Gnome was relegated to an option.
There has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding Unity. Now it seems like Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, may be paying the price for the change. Let’s look at the numbers.
Mint’s rise to the topWe charted the top distributions since 2005, as ranked by DistroWatch. In doing so, we excluded a couple of distributions that only made a brief appearance in the top five: Mandriva dropped off after 2006, PCLinuxOS only made an appearance in 2007 and 2008, and Sabayon only showed up during 2007.
Here’s what it looks like from 2005 until now for the current top five Linux distributions: