Distributions and Desktops according to GamingOnLinux

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GamingOnLinux is probably the best site on gaming for us Linux users. They run an active forum and have over 10,000 registered users. They also regularly collect data from their users on their distribution and desktop preferences. The information is optional and around 20% or ~ 2000 users provide feedback. The results are then published and updated monthly. I sifted through the numbers and was quite surprised by the results. Let’s have a look at them together.

Arch Linux Most Popular Base

The most popular base distribution is Arch! It comes in at 40.05% followed by Ubuntu with 37.4%.

Fedora comes in a distant 3rd with 7%, followed by Debian with 4.63%, openSUSE with 3.82%, Gentoo with 3.32%, Solus with 1.2% and others combined with 2.55%.

The trend from all the data collected since September 2019 showed a constant decline of Ubuntu based distros in favor of Arch based ones! Fedora seemed to be gaining albeit at a very low rate. The others stayed pretty much constant with little variations.

Pure Arch is King!

Pure Arch is also the most popular “distribution” at 22.77% followed by Manjaro with 15.9%. Regular Ubuntu came in 3rd at 15.18% followed by Mint at 7.5%. Pop_OS!, Kubuntu and openSUSE scored around 4% each.

Here the trend reveals a rapidly rising Manjaro distribution while pure Arch stayed mostly put. The big loser has been regular Ubuntu. Surprisingly, Mint also showed a constant slow decline while fedora was inching a little upwards.

Desktop Environments: It’s a tie!

Looking at the desktop environments, the results were more in tune with my expectations. KDE Plasma and Gnome came in pretty equal at around 31% each, followed by Xfce with 11%,  Window Manager Only was at 10% , Cinnamon at 8%. Mate came in at under 4% while all the others like LXQt, Budgie, Unity and Panteon barely scored.

The trend of the past couple of years showed a steady surge in both KDE Plasma and Gnome while Xfce, Cinnamon, Mate, Unity and Budgie declined. Window Manager Only saw a small but steady increase during the same period. The decline of Unity was of course expected but the position of Xfce surprised me. It has almost been caught up by Window Manager Only.

All these figures are of course to be taken with a grain of salt. They represent the survey result of a single but popular web site. If we were to head to distrowatch.com we would be looking at completely different numbers. Over there MX-Linux is king which is based on Debian and has Xfce as its flagship desktop. Arch does score well there too with Manjaro taking position 2, Endeavour position 6 and pure Arch at number 14. That is according to the distros’ page hit ranking within distrowatch. This is more a reflection of interest than it is about actual installs.

What is your opinion on these figures. Do you think they represent the Linux landscape well or do you think the real numbers should be very different? Let us know your opinion in the comments below and feel free to point us to any other sources on the matter.




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Chief geek (editor) and maintainer of distrocrunch.com
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