Counting derivatives

In the news, there's an article by Bruce Byfield discussing the influence of Debian and its (transitive) derivatives on the ecosystem of GNU/Linux distributions: Linux Leaders: Debian and Ubuntu Derivative Distros.

The article is a sort of review of what you can find in the vast ecosystem of distributions rooted at Debian: from embedded to supercomputer distro, from netbook to scientific computing distros. The articles cites the Debian derivatives front desk and is a study similar to what we might tackle with the derivatives census by Paul Wise. (By the way: did you check if your favorite Debian derivative is already in? No? Do it!)

With this article, Bruce has made me quite a favor in harvesting distrowatch to refresh the figures about the number of derivatives that I often use in speeches. The need of doing that has been polluting my LaTeX "% TODO" comments for a while now… Here they are:

  • 324 active distributions
  • 129 of them are (directly or transitively) based on Debian
  • 75 of the latter class are (directly) based on Ubuntu, i.e. transitively based on Debian

Update: update figures that Bruce misinterpreted; live data are available, thanks to Loris (see comments) for noticing


These figures roughly show that any work performed at the Debian level ( {in addition to,instead of} within a derivative distro) potentially benefits sooner or later to 62% ( ≃(74+128)/323 ) of the active GNU/Linux distributions out there ! I'm impressed.

Comment by OdyX Sun 06 Mar 2011 11:18:14 PM CET that we are community-driven. And being part of this community makes me happy =)
Comment by perezmeyer [] Mon 07 Mar 2011 01:56:43 AM CET

The 128 include the transitively Debian based distros (so typically the 74 based on Ubuntu), Bruce obviously misinterpreted Distrowatch numbers in his article. You can easily figure this out by looking at this list:

So it's 39% in total, which is still a lot of course.

Comment by Loris Wed 09 Mar 2011 03:33:34 PM CET
Thanks for noticing and for verifying Loris, I've updated the figures above ... and I'm not a little bit less proud of Debian delivers now that I see the actual numbers :-)
Comment by zack Fri 11 Mar 2011 01:24:23 PM CET