Fedora makes rapid progress

Fedora, the community-driven Linux distribution started by RedHat, is the fastest growing Linux distribution in the web server survey. Based on distribution names contained in the server banner, Fedora has outpaced all its rivals over the last six months, growing fastest both in absolute numbers and in relative terms.

 Distribution   Active sites
Sep '04 
 Active sites
Mar '05 
 6-month
Growth Rate 
RedHat16303821610427-1.2%
Debian69394179108614.0%
Cobalt619960516963-16.6%
SuSE39903144290811.0%
Fedora182421405682122.4%
Mandrake629727345916.7%
Gentoo435256316045.1%

RedHat's strategy of reserving the RedHat brand for its commercial offerings, while using community-driven development in Fedora to try new features, seems to be working well. RedHat seems to have the best of both worlds at the moment: market-leading status for RedHat Linux, plus the fastest growing community distribution in Fedora. While share for RedHat itself is falling, taken together with Fedora its share is around 50% and rising slightly.

Among the other distributions, Debian has the fastest growth in absolute terms, and is secure for now in second place. But some of the smaller distributions are growing faster relative to their existing user base. Gentoo continues to roughly double each year, albeit from a low base. Mandrake's recent acquisition of Conectiva will boost it only slightly, as there are only a few thousand Conectiva sites in the survey; Mandrake's own growth is more significant.

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See here and here for past articles on Linux distribution growth.