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Fedora 6 Crosses Million Mark

Red Hat's Fedora Core 6.0 Linux distribution has crossed the million user milestone. Is it enough for the community-driven Linux distribution to claim it's the most popular Linux version?

Let's go to the stats. According to Fedora Project statistics, Fedora Core 6.0 has averaged 9.4 new installations every minute since the release of Red Hat's community driven distribution in late October.

That works out to 13,584 installations per day. In November, Fedora Core project leader Max Spevack reported that Fedora Core 6 hit 300,000 users in under a month.

Instead of counting downloads, which is how Mozilla tallied its first 100 million for Firefox, Red Hat's Fedora said it is aiming for a more accurate user number.

Fedora is tracking the number of unique IP addresses that check in with Fedora's repositories for updates. By measuring unique IP addresses, Fedora is able to determine installed instances of Fedora Core 6 that are active.

It makes a difference. Right now, it is difficult to determine with much accuracy which Linux distribution is the most downloaded or actively used. Both Red Hat and Novell provide some degree of insight on the enterprise side, though community Linux distributions like Fedora, Gentoo, Debian and Ubuntu historically have not. However, community Linux distributions are almost certainly more widely deployed than enterprise distributions. (They are free, after all.)

Currently Linux distribution site DistroWatch.com ranks Debian based Ubuntu as the number one Linux distribution. That ranking, however, is neither based on downloads nor unique IPs (as Fedora counts them) but rather based on page hit rankings statistics.

DistroWatch measures the number of times a specific distro's page is accessed on the DistroWatch site and can potentially be "stuffed" by supporters. Novell's OpenSUSE community Linux distribution is second on the list behind Ubuntu with Fedora Core holding down the number three spot.

It's not all good news for Fedora though. Users of older version of Fedora Core were recently dealt a mortal blow when the community-driven Fedora Legacy project fell apart. The Fedora Legacy project had been providing support for Fedora Core 4 and earlier distributions.

Fedora Core 6, though a solid distribution in its own right, is also seen by some, including Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens as a beta for Red Hat's flagship Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution which is expected to hit version five early this year. RHEL 5 Beta 2 was released in late November of 2006.