Arch Linux wins the qualifying round for the second year, followed by Linux Mint. In addition, eight distros qualified by write-in votes to be included in our final round. Now it’s time to get out the vote in the all-important final round to determine the Best Linux Distro according to our readers.
The FOSS Force Readers’ Choice Awards Poll
Through our qualifying round of voting, you have decided the final slate of candidates for our annual FOSS Force Readers’ Choice Award for Best Linux Distro. At 11 a.m. EST, final round voting began to determine which desktop Linux distro gets the prize for this year’s award.
Admittedly, there’s not much at stake here; the winning distro receives nothing more than bragging rights and a heartfelt symbolic pat on the back from our readers — which has to count for something.
Again this year, voting in the qualifying round sat a new record for participation in a FOSS Force poll, with 6,217 votes being cast in the main poll, and another 532 votes cast in our separate write-in poll. This beat our previous record for votes cast in a single poll set last year when a total of 5,784 votes were cast. Last year’s figure included write-in votes which were not conducted as a separate poll but were incorporated into the main poll through an “other” voting option. This option is not available in the polling platform we now use, so we were forced to find a workaround that involved using a forms platform.
For the second year in a row, Arch Linux has won the first round of polling, although with fewer votes and a smaller margin than in last year’s competition. In this year’s polling, Arch garnered a total of 931 votes, or 15 percent of the total votes cast in the main poll. In last year’s qualifying round, Arch finished with 1,378 votes, representing 23.8 percent of the total votes cast, which included write-in votes. Last year’s second place winner, Debian with 1,140 votes or 19.7 percent, this year only managed a sixth place finish, with 360 votes, or 6 percent of the votes cast in the main poll.
Which of the GNU/Linux distros listed below would you choose to win the FOSS Force ‘Best Desktop Distro’ Award for 2016?
Total Voters: 8,176
Coming in second in this qualifying poll was Linux Mint, with 765 votes, or 12 percent of the total. Last year, Mint qualified with a fourth place finish in the first round, pulling in 679 votes. In 2015, the first year we conducted our Best Distro poll, Mint qualified with a second place photo finish, only 11 votes behind the leader, Ubuntu.
In all, 52 distros received write-in votes this year. Of these, eight received enough votes to qualify to make it to our final round poll. Listed in order of votes cast, the write-in distros making the cut are: MX Linux, Devuan, Gentoo, Xubuntu, Bunsen Labs, Slackware, OpenMandriva and KDE Neon.
The complete results of the first round of voting are available on our Completed Polls page.
One thing we’ve learned from our past experiences with these Best Linux Distro awards is that they primarily measure the involvement of the communities that form around each distro. Last year, for instance, it was easy for us to see as we monitored our traffic, that Arch Linux was getting votes because of efforts being made on the distro’s community sites to “get out the vote” — which is a time honored tradition in U.S. politics, so we’re not about to discourage it here.
In this year’s first round, we saw efforts being made by more distros than in the past — with traffic coming from community sites associated with not only Arch, but PCLinuxOS, a Manjaro users’ group in Italy, Solus, Ubuntu and Xubuntu. Other users’ groups have probably been active as well, but these are the ones we’ve been able to monitor from our end.
What this means, of course, is that if you want your distro to win, you might want to rally the troops. Post to your favorite distro’s forums and to its pages on Reddit, Facebook and other social sites. Let Hacker News know too, and tweet it out with your distro’s hashtag.
This poll will run until noon eastern time on Monday, February 6. Within an hour or two of closing the poll, we’ll let you know our take on the results.
In the meantime, go and get out the vote (and feel free to make the case for your favorite distro in the comments below).