Saturday, 8 December 2012

Distro Comparison using forum Stats

 I hit upon a idea about comparing the various Linux distros based on forum statistics. I visited the forums of various popular distros (openSUSE, Fedora, Debian, Mint, Arch, Ubuntu) and then collected the stats displayed on the forums home page.
Raw Data
 The first step involved collecting raw data about the number of registered members in each forum and other stuff like number of threads , no of active users etc: I couldn't find active users statistics for all forums and each distro preferred to use a different bulletin board software. I collected screenshots of the stats too as shown below.
Distro Mint
Members 81833
Threads 108243
Distro Arch
Members 44823
Threads 148545
Distro Debian
Members 132589
Threads 69950
Distro Fedora
Members 139147
Threads 267719
Distro Ubuntu
Members 1762103
Threads 1906499
Distro openSUSE
Members 71137
Threads 175115
Number Crunching
Registered Users :- The number of users in each forum may be taken as some sort of rudimentary proof of popularity of a distro. Ubuntu takes the first place which should not surprise anyone. Fedora and Debian are neck and neck and both of them take the next two places.
Distro Members
Ubuntu 1762103
Fedora 139147
Debian 132589
Mint 81833
openSUSE 71137
Arch 44823
No of Threads :-  This set of stats threw up a few surprises. openSUSE took third place in the list. I guess old threads were archived by some of the forums.
Distro Threads
Ubuntu 1906499
Fedora 267719
openSUSE 175115
Arch 148545
Mint 108243
Debian 69950
No of Threads per member :- I think this stat should tell as to whether the distro is able to sustain interest with its users over  longer periods of time. We find that Ubuntu does poorly in this regard.  May be unity had a role to play in this. Arch and openSUSE seem to paying more attention to their much smaller communities than some of the more popular distros.
Distro Members Threads Mem Vs Thr
Arch 44823 148545 3.3140352051
openSUSE 71137 175115 2.46165849
Fedora 139147 267719 1.9240012361
Mint 81833 108243 1.3227304388
Ubuntu 1762103 1906499 1.0819452665
Debian 132589 69950 0.5275701604
Conclusion:- It is not enough that a distro is popular . It should pay heed to the needs of its community. All the stats presented are subjective and should be taken with a pinch of salt as many of the distros have been known to conduct day to day discussions on IRC and mailing lists too. It is not being taken into account here :-)

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