Comparison of major Linux distributions forums

August 30, 2011

It could be useful to visualize the registrations of the major Linux distribution forums, and gives an idea of the health of each one. This is what it will be done here. A previous article(French) describe step by step the procedure used to retrieve registrations date from forums, based on scrapy to crawl the forum and pylab to draw graphs.

There is two kind of graphics, sums of registrations per months, and per day. The first one is better to visualize average, second one give more accurate graphs. As the last month (august) isn’t complete, there is a fall in last spot for months graphs. To collects data, I took my time, make sure it was accurate, check between number of the file entry, and what it’s actually said in the forum. In doubt I run tests twice.

Bellow is a list of forums that I goes through here. They are major forum for each distribution, witch I added some French one to compared the accuracy.

Arch Linux

Archlinux (en)

Archlinux (fr)


Ubuntu (en)

This site doesn’t have any memberlist, this option was deactivate, so I needed to go through every members profile. This wouldn’t be a problem if the forum hasn’t 1.4 million members. So I took only one of every ten members, based on the id number. This give 140,000 members crawled. So, the graphic is not the exact reality, but close enough I’m sure.

The last raise is surprising, and doesn’t appear on the French one, It might be some spam, such as with the Debian one (we see this one right after). It not easy to be sure, as they don’t provide a user list.

Registration per months (x10) for Ubuntu forum

Ubuntu (fr)


Debian (en)

This forum has recently lots of spam user, they aim to have a backlink in the member list. The list contain lots of not Linux related links.

Debian (fr)


Fedora (en)

Fedora (fr)

Inscription par mois sur le forum Fedora (fr)

Inscription par jour sur le forum Fedora (fr)

Linux Mint





Registration per month for Sabayon forum


Registration per month for OpenSuse forum




I started this mainly to test scrapy with a real example, but curiosity push me to conduct those tests for major Linux distribution. I really thinks this reflect the reality, of each distributions popularity. It’s interesting to compare results with DistroWatch, specially as the provide result from past years.

Few distributions missing, as CentOS, Knoppix, Frugalware, but I had some difficulties to retrieve results from them forum. And Frugalware as not enought members to make result, less than one hundred, due to a very young forum.

As I said last time, yes, Arch Linux doing well. I was surprise with the rise of Linux Mint, confirm with the result from DistroWatch, between first and second place with Ubuntu. I’m surprise too than Fedora didn’t get a rise when Ubuntu turn to Unity, as Arch Linux had. And I’m glade that Gentoo come back.

At last, a small ranking of the health of the Linux distributions:


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I'm Nicolas Paris, aka Nic0, I like to share about programming and Linux tricks. Follow me on Twitter, where the content is pretty much like here, mainly programming stuff. Or visite my website