Most people like it, many others donâ€™t, the fact is that Ubuntu is the king of Linux distributions right now – and for some very good reasons. Below I will attempt to identify those reasons that made Ubuntu the most popular distribution and explain why its success was â€œinevitableâ€.
1) A good start: Ubuntu started with a strong background. It wasnâ€™t â€œyet anotherâ€ distribution, it was a distribution that had a vision and enough people and money behind it to support that vision.
2) Easy and straightforward installation: From the text-based installer of the first few versions, to the point&click installer of today, ubuntu always had a very straightforward and simple installation. Every step of the installer was explained in a short, yet clear manner that made it easy for everyone to follow the steps of the installation proccedure (almost) regardless of their experience with computers.
3) ShipIt: Sharing â€œofficialâ€ CDâ€™s with the Ubuntu logo increased the trust of users towards the distribution and made it much easier for users on slow connections to try it. People could now give away several CDâ€™s to their friends and coworkers which made the general adoption of Linux much faster.
4) Synaptic: If you ask a first-time Ubuntu user to tell you what impressed them most, chances are that the answer will be â€œsynapticâ€. Indeed, this application brought APT much closer to the average user and made program installation in Linux a lot easier. Users didnâ€™t have to search for RPMs or worry that they might needed to deal with dependancies, compile from source etc, synaptic solved everything using a very simple interface. When the first versions of Ubuntu came out, the only thing that could be compared to the flexibility and ease of use of APT and Synaptic was Fedoraâ€™s YUM, but unfortunately at that time Fedora didnâ€™t have a good front-end for YUM (although Synaptic could be used with YUM, it was not nearly as easy to set up as synaptic and Ubuntu were).
5) Ubuntu forums/Community: The Ubuntu community was, and still is one of the most important factors that promote the growth of Ubuntu. The forums are very active and old users are very friendly and patient towards newcomers. Maybe it has to do with the philosophy of â€œUbuntuâ€â€¦
6) User promotion: Ubuntu is based heavily on the promotion it receives from itâ€™s users. Nearly every person who uses Ubuntu today has beed advised to try it by someone else who had tried it before them and so on. This, combined with the strong influence of Ubuntu to the internet forums related to GNU/Linux, has led to a major increase in itâ€™s adoption .
7) Fragmented competitors: When Ubuntu started itâ€™s â€œmarch to gloryâ€ there were three â€œbigâ€ distributions, SuSE, Mandriva, and Fedora. Debian and Slackware were popular but were not very appealling to newbies (Debian still had a text based installerâ€¦). All of the â€œbig threeâ€ were not at their best when Ubuntu came out and started gathering users. SuSE had recently been bought by Novell and was still undergoing internal reconstructions, Mandriva has in the middle of a severe financial crisis, and Fedora was just at FC2 which wasnâ€™t nearly as easy as it now is. This â€œfragmentationâ€ (or â€œdecay of the distribution maketâ€ if you like) helped many users make the decision to switch to Ubuntu.
There are definately many other reasons why Ubuntu managed to get to the top, and stay there, but making a complete analysis is not within the purposes of this post. Highlighting some of the points that made Ubuntu what it is today, is.
Till next time, keep drinking coffee