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And Your First Linux Distro Was…

Back on June 23, when we asked you to name the first Linux distro you ever used, we pretty much knew that the choice “Other” would take the day.

That’s because we wanted to be completely neutral, so the ten choices we offered besides “Other” were just the top ten distros from the Distrowatch “Page Hit Ranking,” which meant that those who started their Linux life with something other than Debian or SUSE in the pre-Ubuntu era were not represented.

To be sure, “Other” did win the day, accounting for 326 of the 582 votes cast.

As always, those who went off board and voted for “Other” were able to “write-in” an answer, this time being the distro that got it all started for them in the Linux world. This resulted in two firsts for FOSS Force polls. For starters, it was the first time that “Other” was the most popular answer. It was also the first time that some of your write-in answers drew more votes than many of the answers offered in the poll. In fact, four of the top ten answers were supplied as “Other” answers.

Your answers also showed us just how diverse the readership here is. Not only did we see a lot of you offering up the usual suspects, such as Debian, Ubuntu, Mint and Fedora, we also got reminders of Linux’s rich history. It was somewhat gratifying to discover that some who visit here first tried Linux using long gone but not forgotten distros such as Yggdrasil and Soft Landing System.

Because so many of the votes in the poll were written-in, therefore not counted by our polling software, the vote tally offered by the software doesn’t really tell the entire story and we’re displaying it here, below on the right, only as a point of reference. The real story is in our manual tally in the list below, on the left, which includes ranking, name of distro, and number of votes cast. We’re sure you’ll find this truly to be a stroll down GNU/Linux memory lane.

[yop_poll id=”18″]
  1. Ubuntu–122
  2. Red Hat–91
  3. Slackware–76
  4. SUSE/openSUSE–55
  5. Mandrake/Mandriva–54
  6. Debian–26
  7. Mint–23
  8. Fedora–22
  9. Caldera–13
  10. PCLOS–11
  11. Yggdrasil–8
  12. Knoppix–7
  13. Puppy–6
  14. Soft Landing System (SLS)–6
  15. Mepis–6
  16. Xandros–4
  17. Lindows/Linspire–3
  18. Yellow Dog–3
  19. Pardus (Turkey)–3
  20. Arch–2
  21. Mageia–2
  22. Zorin–2
  23. Gentoo–2
  24. Kanotix–2
  25. UHU-Linux (Hungary)–2
  26. Manjaro–1
  27. Calculate–1
  28. Damn Small Linux–1
  29. Xubuntu–1
  30. Bodhi–1
  31. Slax–1
  32. Sabayon–1
  33. Vector–1
  34. tomsrtbt–1


  1. BrentRBrian BrentRBrian August 5, 2013

    1996, RHL 3.x, Rembrandt … experimental … got serious about the time RHL 5.0 came out

  2. Husoski Husoski August 5, 2013

    Both of my first experiences are listed. Knoppix as the very first to run on my machine. Partly because that helped me recover data from an NTFS partition that Windows wouldn’t read, I set aside partition space for a 2nd boot during recovery. Fedora was my first install, as the “most free looking” choice that didn’t require me to be a Unix wizard.

    It’s a little disappointing to see so few responses.

  3. Alex Borrell Alex Borrell August 6, 2013

    I know it’s late, but I tried Yggdrasil with not too much success, later on I settled with Best Linux from Finland which had a decent video support for Cirrus Logic cards. Yeah, it was quite a long time ago.

  4. Llorenç Llorenç August 26, 2013

    Stella a very good choice something like RedHat (Centos) wiith all you need to start using as a desktop, not so pretty look as others Cinnamon or kDE based for example, but with a solid Gnome 2 working as a charm

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