As 2012 dawns, Mint leads the list of top Linux distros

Times change, and so do popularity trends in Linux distributions. Here's a look at the top 10 closing out the year.

By Katherine Noyes, PC World |  Software, Linux, linux mint

There's no denying that it's still a very good distro; the main reason some grumble about it is the mobile-style Unity interface it's chosen to use as its default.

That's not to say that there aren't choices, however, and Debian-based Ubuntu has numerous other advantages going for it as well, including ease of use, Long-Term Support (LTS) versions suitable for businesses, and numerous variants tailored to specific industries and niches. Ubuntu also plans to enter the mobile arena, potentially offering a seamless experience across devices down the road.

3. Fedora

Though last year it occupied the No. 2 spot on the DistroWatch list, Fedora now comes in third on that list, presumably as a result of the shifting around of Ubuntu and Mint.

This distro is the free version of RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux), so it's not entirely surprising that it tends to be strong on enterprise-focused features. With excellent security and a choice of desktops, Fedora has become increasingly user-friendly with each passing year, so it's now just as suitable for newer users.

4. openSUSE

It's interesting to note that openSUSE was No. 4 on DistroWatch last year with some 1200 hits per day where this year it's in the same spot with more than 1450.

Sponsored by Novell, the openSUSE project has three main goals: "make openSUSE the easiest Linux for anyone to obtain and the most widely used Linux distribution; leverage open source collaboration to make openSUSE the world's most usable Linux distribution and desktop environment for new and experienced Linux users; dramatically simplify and open the development and packaging processes to make openSUSE the platform of choice for Linux developers and software vendors," in the project's own words.

Included in openSUSE is the widely acclaimed YaST installation and configuration tool as well as a choice of desktops and a stability and flexibility that have won many users' hearts.

5. Debian

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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