Ubuntu is popular, popular for a Linux distribution anyway. You think commercial and enterprise Linux distributions would look to Ubuntu for inspiration, but most companies are close minded.
I was in a meeting the other day with some salespeople from Novell, and we were discussing how RPM is essential broken, and its been frozen in time since the late 90’s. I suggested looking at the most popular Linux distribution for inspiration on packaging.
The salespeople looked puzzled, What distribution is that? “Ubuntu” I said.. From the looks on their faces, I think a few of them were questioning Ubuntu’s popularity.
Here is the data from Google trends..
Basically, if you take every other popular Linux distribution and combine them, it might equal Ubuntu’s share. Now, your typical sales person would say, “well that’s because they give it away for free!” Sadly, the lack of a price tag has nothing to with Ubuntu’s popularity. Fedora has been around a lot longer (for free) and has more money thrown at it, but Ubuntu still leads.
Redhat and Novell should take a hard look at Debian and Ubuntu, they could probably learn a few things about what makes a good Linux distribution.