RealTime IT News

Fedora Tops Charts in Growth Rate

The latest stats released this week from research firm Netcraft illustrate that Red Hat's community-based Fedora Core Linux is the fastest-growing Linux distribution in use on Web servers. But Red Hat distros continue to own the majority of the Linux Web server market.

According to Netcraft, from September 2004 to March 2005, Fedora Core was on 405,682 sites, an increase of about 122 percent from the 182,421 sites at the beginning of the period.

During the same period, Web servers running any "flavor" or version of Red Hat declined by 1.2 percent, though it still holds the top spot overall with 1,610,427 sites. The combined Red Hat Linux and Fedora numbers give Red Hat a market share that Netcraft estimates is "around 50 percent and rising slightly."

Fedora Core Project community marketing spokesperson Jack Aboutboul noted that the Fedora growth rate is very high.

"Everyone hopes that the fruits of their labor turn out positively, especially in the Linux world," Aboutboul told internetnews.com. "But the high growth just shows me, that despite all the detractors, we must be doing something right.

"I figured that many previous Red Hat users would make the shift to Fedora, and now that the project is mature enough, it seems like we are accomplishing that goal of re-establishing a vast user base," he said.

Following Red Hat is Debian, which had 819,341 fewer sites, coming in at 791,086 at the beginning of March. This represents a six-month growth rate of 14 percent.

Cobalt held the No. 2 spot in July but fell to No. 3 in the current survey, with 516,963 sites -- a decline of 16.6 percent.

Novell SUSE Linux holds the No. 4 spot and posted an 11 percent growth rate, swelling its numbers to 442,908 sites. Mandrake Linux and Gentoo Linux round out Netcraft's list with growth rates of 16.7 percent and 45.1 percent, respectively.

Netcraft's survey measures what Web servers are using but only if the Web server allows the reporting of the distro name. Netcraft has previously admitted that only a little more than 25 percent of all Web hosts actually "publish" the name of the distro they are running.

In an effort to protect against hackers, system admins routinely disable distribution reporting so that malicious network scanners will have a harder time identifying vulnerable systems by simply matching public exploits for specific Linux distros.