Debian Linux distribution 10 years old today

Following on from the FreeBSD project which celebrated its 10th anniversary a few months ago, the Debian Linux distribution reached the age of 10 today. Debian has been an amateur effort throughout its lifetime, and its success is a testament to how little difference money sometimes makes.

Despite the abscence of funding, Debian is the second most popular Linux distribution we find on internet web sites, surpassed only by Red Hat, and leaving the likes of SuSE and Mandrake in its wake. Arguably, Debian is the most cosmopolitan of any of the Linux distributions, having a significant following in the former Iron Curtain countries, and well represented in almost every country.

Geographical Distribution of sites running on Debian Linux

Leading sites running Debian include TheRegister and T-Mobile.

Outage at not likely to be part of general attack on Internet infrastructure

Overnight, has suffered an outage of a little over an hour. Microsoft have posted to the effect that this was caused by a [presumably non-http] denial of service that is not associated with any known vulnerability in Microsoft's own software. Speculation on Information Week that the outage might be part of a broader attack on internet infrastructure or linked to the start of the Defcon conference seems implausible, as only one other Fortune 100 site has shown an outage in the last 24 hours. Three of the 52 leading hosting providers monitored by Netcraft are showing outages in the last 24 hours, but all three are outside the US.

SCO Lawsuit: will the Enterprises take notice?

To analyse the web technology choices made by large enterprises Netcraft reviews the operating systems run on around 24,000 sites run by 1500 leading enterprises around the world, compiled from the Fortune 1000, the Financial Times European 500, and various FT regional lists.

Two months ago SCO sent letters to 1500 of the largest companies globally warning them of risks involved in running Linux. Although SCO did not make the identities of these companies public, Chris Sontag described the list as “the Fortune 500 and effectively the global 2000. It ended up being about 1,500 top international companies”. This makes it likely that the list of companies that received letters from SCO will be quite similar to the list of sites we use to study enterprises’ web site technology choices.

At the time many analysts speculated that SCO’s behaviour might deter enterprise companies from using Linux. However, this has not happened to date, at least in respect of their internet visible web sites. In the last two months Linux has made a net gain of over 100 enterprise sites; sites which have migrated to Linux including Royal Sun Alliance, Deutsche Bank, SunGard,T-online and most noteworthy, Schwab.

It may well be that although SCO has generated an enormous amount of attention from the media and the Linux evangelists, it does not presently have the attention of IT practitioners in large companies. Companies may be continuing with Linux migrations because they believe:

  • The likelihood of a successful conclusion to SCO’s lawsuit is extremely small;
  • The costs of migrating from Linux to FreeBSD at a later date are also small;
  • They are committed to a migration strategy and don't intend to change course;

In practice we think that conventional competition from Windows and Solaris currently presents more of a barrier to Linux adoption in the Enterprises than SCO. Although Linux has enjoyed a net gain over the last two months, it is not by any means one way traffic; in the past twelve months over 1600 enterprise sites have changed operating system in one direction or another.

Enterprise sites moving off Linux include Valaro Energy and National Service Industries and Colt which have moved to Windows, while Cadbury Schweppes have appropriately adopted a suck it and see approach, trying all three operating systems on their main site in the space of the last two years, and currently on Windows 2000.

JSP continues fast growth, on a surprisingly diverse set of operating systems

Last December we reported that the number of JSP sites had grown quickly during 2002, albeit from a small starting point. Reviewing the growth over the past year since July 2002, JSP continues to enjoy fast growth with a 94% increase in ip addresses running JSP based sites to over 44,000 ip addresses running some 105,000 active sites.

More surprising is the composition of these sites choice of operating systems. One might expect that by far the most common operating system amongst JSP based sites would be Solaris, given JSP's links with application servers such as Weblogic, IBM Websphere, Oracle, and Apache Tomcat. However, Solaris is only placed 3rd with 17% behind Linux with 40% and Windows with 26%.


It’s hard to predict what Sun’s assessment of this might be – would they be delighted at JSP’s increasing adoption, establishing a bridgehead for Sun into Windows and Linux territory, or would they be shocked and appalled at the numbers of JSP sites not choosing Solaris as an operating system platform? Probably, they would verge towards the former interpretation on the basis that use of any of the company’s technologies has to be a good thing.

Netcraft can report deployment of a wide range of technologies on the internet, aggregated by hosting company, or analysing specific choices made by enterprises. Please contact us ( for further information.

Windows Server 2003 approaching 100,000 active sites; 8,000 sites switch from Linux

When we first reported on Windows Server 2003 we gave an indication on the numbers of sites that had been put up prior to the official launch. In the three months since the launch the number of active sites has increased by over 300% and now stands at 88,400.

Windows Server 2003 Growth - July 2003 windows2003.PNG

Largest Microsoft Windows Server 2003
hosting companies by Active sites, July 2003
CompanyActive Sites
  1&1 Internet3,790

Over the past 3 months many new hosting providers have released Windows Server 2003 hosting packages. is now the top hoster of active Windows Server 2003 sites, and apparently has stopped offering Windows Server 2000 and Microsoft-IIS/5.0 to new customers, inisisting that they should run Microsoft-IIS/6.0.

Comparing the sites which are now hosted on Windows 2003 with their operating system in December 2002 shows over 42% of these to be new sites, 43% (68K) to be upgrades from other Windows platforms (mainly Windows 2000), 5% (8K) to be migrations from Linux and 1% from other operating systems.

Microsoft will take some considerable encouragement at the number of sites that have switched from Linux.