Debian -- the Linux to rule them all?

Over the six months from July 2003, Debian has been the fastest growing Linux distribution according to Internet researcher Netcraft Ltd. Netcraft counted active sites containing the name of a Linux distribution in the Apache Corp. server header.

In percentage terms, Debian is closely followed by SuSE, now owned by Novell Inc., and Gentoo Technologies Inc.

Red Hat Inc. has a far greater number of sites but -- quite typically for larger players in the market -- a much slower growth rate. Its share fell this month, following widely publicized and controversial changes to its licensing and security update policies, which saw the company move to a more commercial model to which many in the open source community were unaccustomed. However, with a hit rate of over 1.45 million, ore than the rest of the distros combined, Red Hat won't be too upset.

A distribution name was present in a little over a quarter of Linux based Apache sites, according to Netcraft, and the overall growth rate of Linux servers was just under 15 percent.