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Fedora Community Grabs the Brass Ring: Wins Our ‘Best Linux Distro’ Poll!

Red Hat’s community Fedora distribution handily wins in the reboot of our annual “Best Linux Distro” poll, followed by Pop!_OS and MX Linux. Thanks to generous contributions from All Things Open and SCALE, the winning project gets conference tickets, t-shirts, and hats!

Fedora 'Best Linux Distro' winner

Which of these distros would you choose as the ‘Best Linux Distro’ in 2022?

  • Fedora (33%, 1,507 Votes)
  • Pop!_OS (19%, 874 Votes)
  • MX Linux (11%, 489 Votes)
  • elementary OS (9%, 399 Votes)
  • Ubuntu (8%, 354 Votes)
  • Linux Mint (5%, 237 Votes)
  • Debian (4%, 201 Votes)
  • EndeavourOS (4%, 190 Votes)
  • openSUSE (3%, 154 Votes)
  • Manjaro (3%, 140 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,545

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Our readers have spoken, and Fedora takes home the prize in our our Readers’ Choice poll to determine which Linux distribution wins our Best Linux Distro award! Unlike our previous polls in this category, this year the winning distro gets more than just bragging rights — they get some cool, groovy, nifty, and useful prizes as well.

In final round voting, which took place January 12-18, Fedora received 1,507 votes, or 33% of the total, for a 14% lead over second-place finisher Pop_OS, which had 874 votes. MX Linux, which won the earlier qualifying round, made a third-place showing with 489 votes.

Honorary mention goes to Elementary OS. For many hours after we opened the poll on January 12, Elementary OS remained near the bottom of the field, with barely 3% of the votes cast. After I gave the distro a nudge in a toot on Mastodon, which was boosted by Danielle Foré, the distro’s co-founder, owner, and lead developer, Elementary supporters started voting, and at one point had garnered 15% of the vote.

Mastodon post urging users to vote in online poll

In the end, Elementary OS finished in fourth place, with 399 votes.

About This Poll

This year’s “Best Linux Distro” poll was something of a reboot of an annual poll we ran for three years, beginning with a single round poll conducted in March, 2015 that asked the simple question, “What Linux distro do you use most?” That poll was officially a narrow 11 point win for Ubuntu, although today we’d have to put an asterisk by the winner’s name, because by the rules we’ve used in subsequent polls, second-place Linux Mint would have been the winner by 13 votes.

That’s because the poll allowed write-in voting, including for distros that were already on the ballot, which were added to the votes received through our polling software. After that, we changed the rules to something similar to what we used for this poll, with two rounds of voting, and no write-in votes in the final round.

That first “Best Distro” poll set a few records for FOSS Force at the time. For starters, there were more than 2,500 votes cast, more than double our previous poll record from 2013 for a “Best Personal Linux or FOSS Blog” poll. Additionally, an article we wrote about the poll received 100 comments, more than doubling what we had seen before.

Our second annual best distro poll was conducted in January, 2016, with 2,625 votes cast in the second round. That one was won by Arch Linux, which got 592 votes, with Elementary OS finishing a close second with 502 votes.

At the time, we wrote of that poll:

In the qualifying round, Elementary wasn’t even offered as a poll choice and only made the final round due to a write-in campaign from the Elementary community. Involvement by the community was also responsible for the distro’s strong second round showing, with the distro using its Twitter account to rally users to participate in the poll. Elementary users launched something of a rally during the final hours of the poll, and it looked for a while like they might pass Arch, which was ahead throughout second round polling.

In January, 2017 we conducted our third best distro poll, which was our last until this reboot. In that poll, which collected 6,217 votes in the opening round and 8,176 votes in the final round, Arch was again the winner with 1,621 votes and Elementary OS again took second place with 1,251 votes.

For our next “Best Distro” award we’re going to change the name to something like “Most Popular Distro” (if you have any ideas about the naming, please put them in the comments), because many have pointed out to us that winning this competition has nothing to do with the quality of the distribution and everything to do with how popular it is with our readers. More importantly, I think, it points to the strength of a distro’s user community.

Whatever the name, the next “Best Distro” poll will take place in January, 2024.

2022 Poll the First With an Award

Contributions from Southern California Linux Expo and All Things Open mean that year’s poll was for a little more than mere bragging rights.

Thanks to the folks at SCALE, we’ll be handing over to the folks at the Fedora Project a couple of top-tier SCALE Passes to the Southern California Linux Expo which will be taking place in Pasadena March 9-12, one of the premier community-focused FOSS and Linux events in the country.

In addition, the Fedora Project will receive a couple of passes to All Things Open, the largest open source conference on the East Coast, which will take place in Raleigh, North Carolina October 15-17, courtesy of the folks at ATO. In addition, the folks at ATO are throwing in a couple of their t-shirts, as well as two of the nifty ATO hats that they hand out at their conference.

Hats off to the folks at ATO and SCALE for their generosity!

Editor’s note: In February, FOSS Force will be conducting a two-round poll on “Best Linux Desktop Environment.”

5 Comments

  1. Paul Eveleigh Paul Eveleigh January 21, 2023

    I question the validity of this poll as I knew nothing about it until past voting deadline and I subscribe to a lot of linux twitter feeds. Was this just announced in the Fedora and PopOS forums ?

    Such a shame the potential to vote was not more widely known.

    Meaningless poll, don’t get too excited.

  2. Ed Ed January 21, 2023

    Arch was not even a selection I could make, what gives?

  3. Bob James Bob James January 22, 2023

    Looks like another rigged election, too many distros not even on the list that are way better than Fedora. Like Paul I browse a lot of Linux new feeds and saw no mention of this poll so looks like it was selectively administered to get the desired results, lol.

  4. FOSS Force FOSS Force January 22, 2023

    Ed: Arch Linux received six write-in votes in our first round, not enough to qualify for our final round. Next year Arch should do much better, as in the future we’ll be including previous winners of our poll automatically on the ballot. Our thinking right now is that Fedora, this years’s winner will have the top spot, followed by two-time winner Arch, and then Ubuntu, which won once back in 2015. Those three will be followed by the top 16 distros on Distrowatch’s Page Rank list, as well as an “other” option for people to cast write-in votes in the comments.

    As always, there will be no write-in votes allowed in the second and final round.

  5. Paul Paul January 22, 2023

    Six votes for Arch ? This implies no one was aware of the vote, other than word of mouth or on a need to know basis !

    Just do the right thing, void the vote and start again, fairly.

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