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From curiosity, is there a clear indication out there of which distribution is the favorite, statistically or otherwise? I expect it would probably be Red Hat, Suse or Mandrake; I wouldn't guess Debian, because it probably annoys novices.
distrowatch is a good place to see what the most popular(well, most downloaded)distro is currently. it changes, but it does keep track of what is downloaded, and like roach pointed out, right now ubuntu is at the top.
that may not reflect the most popular, cuz it's really a matter of personal preference that may not even be able to be measured....plus you have so many different places to download from, or to buy from...so yeah.
my favorite, slackware is a few lines down on the list, so i guess slack wouldn't win that award...
Red Hat still exists as an enterprise class distro (and there are several free versions of Red hat Enterprise Linux such as CentOS and Whitebox). It's probably the most popular enterprise distro, although Novell and SuSE are probably taking some market share.
The distrowatch counter isn't exactly accurate, I remember hearing many accounts of Ubuntu fans padding the webpage hits. That may still be happening, since 2500 new hits each day seems a bit high...*shrugs*
Hmm. Well, although I did ask from curiosity, my fall semester starts in about three weeks, so I need to pick a distribution and stay with it, or else shelve it and go back to the misery of Windows. There is no issue of which one I can word process with, because they all seem to have OpenOffice, so it comes down to which of them can I get my Linksys wireless equipment working with. So far, only Xandros fits that requirement, although the only others I've tried are Mandrake and Knoppix. Mandrake refused to cooperate, and I never figured out why (no one here could explain the error message to me); Knoppix is too slow as a live CD, and I don't have the time or patience to install it on my HD, which some people have told me it wasn't designed for anyway.