Template talk:Linux distributions

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Google hits[edit]

Number of Google hits in millions, rounded by million, of the Linux distributions from DistroWatch's top 20. Taken from Google Linux at 20100601. Numbers can vary.

  1. Debian (4)
  2. Ubuntu (4)
  3. Fedora (2,5)
  4. Red Hat Enterprise (<1, "RHEL":+0.3, "redhat":+2,3) Estimated ranking ("redhat"'s relevance hard to evaluate)
  5. SUSE (2)
  6. Mandriva (1,5, "Mandrake":+0,8)
  7. Slackware (1,4)
  8. Gentoo (1,3)
  9. CentOS (1,0)
  10. Arch Linux ("Arch Linux":0,5, "arch":+1,2) Estimated ranking ("arch"'s relevance hard to evaluate)
  11. Knoppix (0,5)
  12. Linux Mint (0,4)
  13. Puppy (0,4)
  14. PCLinuxOS (0,3)
  15. Damn Small (0,2)
  16. Xandros (0.1)
  17. Sabayon (0,1)
  18. Zenwalk (0,1)
  19. MEPIS (0,1)
  20. Dreamlinux (<0,1)
  21. Slax (0,1)
  22. Vector ("Vector Linux": <0,1, "vector": 0,4) Estimated ranking ("vector"'s relevance hard to evaluate)
  23. Ultimate Edition (<0,1)
  24. Tiny Core Linux ("tiny core": <0,1)

Proper name[edit]

The article the title links to is named Linux Distribution. Creating a redirection because some people view GNU/Linux as "more" proper isn't the way to go about things. If you want the name changed to GNU/Linux then you need to change Linux distribution and Linux to GNU/Linux also. This template is going to mirror the name that those articles are given whether you like it or not. I'm also requesting page protection as an editor war is not happening. --Koolabsol (talk) 21:31, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

The changes you suggest are currently impossible to make without reversion because too many people are biased towards the terms that media sources commonly use, like "Linux" and "open source". In these Wikipedia articles, the GNU/Linux system (but never, curiously enough, the GNU/FreeBSD system, the GNU/Darwin system, etc.) is nearly always truncated to "Linux" (which gives newcomers the wrong impression that Linus created the whole system, or at best, the GNU project were just a few little people that helped him along the way), and "Free Software" is usually called "open source" instead (which incorrectly makes Stallman, the FSF and Free Software advocates appear like quixotic extremists to a newcomer, when in fact the term "open source" did not even exist until 1998). Let's at least use terminological compromises like "Free and Open Source Software" and "GNU/Linux" instead of "Linux". 68.155.217.251 (talk) 22:00, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

From: Talk:Linux "Merge this article with Linux distribution: No, this is a WP:SUMMARY style article for the broader Linux picture Can we rename this page to GNU/Linux? No, the vast majority of people and companies call it Linux, and we already mention the alternate name in the lead and its own subsection. Do we need the GNU history? Yes, GNU played an important role in the development of Linux as we know it today."

While I think that is bullshit and the correct term is GNU/Linux, they have locked the article with the current name. The title will be Linux distribution as long as Linux is Linux and Linux distribution is Linux distribution. I can not do anything about it and being immature about it and changing the title of the Linux distributions template to use the correct terminology while you can not do anything about the other, more prominent title errors will not get anyone anywhere. If you bring this up with an administrator and fix the problem at the root then naturally the title will be changed to the proper name. Otherwise, you will have to let things be. --Koolabsol (talk) 01:59, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

I will not change the name of this template again because I do not want to break any rules, but I do not think the major articles about free software are as fair to certain aspects of the movement and as they could be. 68.155.217.251 (talk) 02:39, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

April 2010 anonymous revamp[edit]

These edits completely changed the template. I'm going to undo some of it based on general notability. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 10:32, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Looking at:

There's a notable discrepancy between some of the navbox content and reality. I'm looking at ditching everything with less than 50k google+linux hits and below 25 on distrowatch. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 10:36, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

I removed all of those and then a few more. Thoughts welcome. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 10:47, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Looks fine to me, I just made some minor fixes. I like the new layout by the anonymous contributer. --Koolabsol (talk) 11:07, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Just now I removed another three distributions for which I could barely find proof of significance based on the above criteria. Two of them had really generic names and their Google search results were practically worthless, even when searched under quotes, because the two words could easily form part of a generic sentence. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 12:31, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

I think we could use another simple criteria - an article can't be linked from the infobox until its article gets at least a handful of barely encyclopedic references... --Joy [shallot] (talk) 12:31, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Some leftovers that might need to be removed:

  • systemrescuecd 58k google/linux hits, no 40 at distrowatch, name possibly too generic to search, article barely referenced
  • vectorlinux 49k google/linux hits, no 23 at distrowatch, article not really referenced

--Joy [shallot] (talk) 12:40, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Well I always just use my common sense when editing. If it's notable, and it's Linux, put it in. Also I believe Google Chrome OS should be the article put up as Chromium OS is only the open source development version. --Koolabsol (talk) 20:35, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Uh, can you also not make various changes in a minor edit with a useless description? I explained my edits pretty exactly, but you reverted many of them without any explanation. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 21:21, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
My bad I guess. I'm not really a team player. I replaced Xubuntu with Elive as as I find it more notable than Xubuntu for being the only Enlightenment distro on the list. I assumed that the list shouldn't get overgrown so I removed Xubuntu, if it's okay for the list to grow big then you can just add Xubuntu back. I removed SystemRescueCd as you called it into question and there doesn't appear to be anything making it notable. Changed Gentoo to Gentoo Linux as it is the proper title of both the distro and the article. Added TinyMe for being one of the only extremely minimal distro's to be used on old computers, appearing to notable. As it is number 38 on the distrowatch list that you linked to earlier. Ordering on that list is also reason for some other changes but I am almost certain I am forgetting which ones. Replaced Red Flag Linux with Puppy Linux, added Damn Small Linux, Tiny Core Linux, Moblin, and Pardus Linux as they meet the distrowatch number cut off and are notable. Moblin being notable also because it is made by both Intel and Nokia. Very large companies. I already explained the Chromium OS thing. Ask if you need any more explanation. --Koolabsol (talk) 08:07, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Elive needs to be notable in general. I had removed it because it had just 44k google/linux hits, and was number 24 in the last 12 months on distrowatch. If you wish to restore it, you should a) explain that b) restore Xubuntu because that one is at least as notable.
I'm not against a removal of SystemRescueCd, but with an appropriate Help:Edit summary.
TinyMe has the same problem as Elive - 28k google/linux hits, number 35 on distrowatch, and also another problematic article.
Red Flag seems notable enough to me. It was previously there, but was removed in an earlier deletionist spree :) To be fair, it needs to be said that it's got 82k g/l hits, only no. 229 on distrowatch, and a reasonable article.
Puppy Linux seems fine to me. 201k on google/linux, distrowatch has it at number 9.
Tiny Core Linux is hard to verify via google/linux search - the string without quotes has just 44k hits, with quotes has over a million hits (!), and on distrowatch it's number 15. It would help if its article didn't already have a cleanup tag on it.
Pardus - 133k gl hits which is workable, but only number 35 on dw, and the article has a cleanup tag on it. That's borderline IMO.
Moblin is a bit better - 203k gl hits, number 36 on dw, but a decent article.
I had already added Damn Small and Chrome/Chromium so there's no argument there from me. In general I'd say it's good to have at least a modicum of an explanation for any listed item, preferably in edit summaries. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 22:25, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't think CrunchBang is suitable. Koolabsol said add crunchbang 342 g/l and no.20 dw but the problem is:

Not even a normal Google search has more than 167,000. It looks like a bug/feature of the special Linux search. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 20:26, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

It's only me and you talking, you can address me with just "you" if you like. I vote for keep even though it seems to be a fluke of some sort. If you provide a good enough reason for removal then I'll change my vote to delete. --Koolabsol (talk) 01:30, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm leaning on delete, but I'll hold back. Let's wait for some other editors to notice and weigh in. I'll go link this talk page from a few others. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 08:03, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Deleting entries based purely on "hits" somewhere seems very arbitrary to me. That speaks very little to notability or other relevant guidelines. For example, Yellow Dog Linux was removed, despite the fact that it is the longest-lived PowerPC, and sole (AFAIK) PowerPC-only, Linux distro. I think this denotes a significance that "google hits" alone belies. Did you perform any research beyond checking hits? ⇔ ChristTrekker 16:32, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Yellow Dog was not on the list before April 16th, when you appended it after a bunch of other stuff was added without any apparent research. This is how the pre-April 15th template looked like. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 18:59, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Just to remind, that is similar to how the template looked since April 2006, and pretty much like the original in November 2005. We need a rationale for changing the established precedent. A bunch of anonymous edits referencing Distrowatch is certainly not a real rationale. DW popularity is just as raw a statistic as Google Linux search. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 19:04, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
So my addition got whacked largely because I did it in proximity to a bunch of bogus edits?
I'm not sure I like the post Apr 15 redesign, either. I think it is useful to have the distros split out as they are now, but it's wasteful of screen space if each category has only two or three examples. I'd rather see something on a single line, like Debian (Knoppix, Ubuntu), Fedora (CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Yellow Dog Linux), Mandriva, Gentoo, Slackware, SUSE (Damn Small Linux, Google Chrome OS). ⇔ ChristTrekker 19:24, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
I like the overall idea of your suggestion but it is ambiguous to a degree. It doesn't clearly denote what is based on what or even describe what information is being conveyed. If we can't come up with a proper new template in a month or so I believe we should revert it back to the way it used to be. --Koolabsol (talk) 19:58, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Is this is response to me? I'm not sure because of the outdenting. If so, I'm not sure how it's ambiguous. An item with a parenthesized list after it is pretty clearly something with examples of that something. In this case, distros with variants/flavors/forks of that distro. ⇔ ChristTrekker 15:41, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Not really, I noted the removal reason for Yellow Dog in the edit summary - it's not (comparably) notable enough. Maybe if we establish historical prominence as a criterion, in which case we need SLS etc. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 23:18, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Not sure what SLS means, but if you mean that we should establish some basic criteria, I agree with that. As Linux started out as, and largely still is, an x86 platform OS, distros specifically targetting other major architectures (as distinct from those available/supported on multiple arches) are significant. Often they are at the forefront of porting for that arch. ⇔ ChristTrekker 15:41, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Softlanding Linux System --Joy [shallot] (talk) 18:03, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
It may also be wise to update Template:Unix-like if we can make proper changes to Template:Linux distributions. --Koolabsol (talk) 22:22, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
An editor added Maemo and MeeGo, which got me thinking. Since we already have Moblin, and MeeGo is intended to supersede both Maemo and Moblin which ones should be listed and why? --Koolabsol (talk) 19:51, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Since the template is still much larger than the previous one, with several distributions of little relevance and very few distributions per category, I went back to the old version. --Chealer (talk) 15:52, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
(This was since reverted by Koolabsol.) I think it's clear by now that we're at the point where we really don't have any idea what the exact purpose of this template really is, under the current generic title. It seems to me that it would be a good idea to bring it up on Wikipedia:Templates for discussion so that we get more input. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 11:57, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I think the purpose of the template is quite clear - link to articles about Linux distributions. Of course, that doesn't exactly say which links should be in the template, but I think this is something that can simply be discussed here. That was already done in the past and will surely be discussed more.
I rollbacked the template after reading too quickly ChristTrekker's comment suggesting to go back to a single line. I missed the part suggesting categorization using parentheses. So I'm sorry, I had a false impression of support when going back to the concise version. I'm not sure what to think about using parentheses. I'm not completely against the principle of categorization, but we should only do it if numbers justify it, since templates should be concise. Proposed categories are too small. Furthermore, even List of Linux distributions, which is more or less a full version of the template, is moving towards no (or few) categories, since there are many overlapping categorizations possible. --Chealer (talk) 19:15, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
AFAICT we have tried discussing it and have failed to produce any sort of a coherent criterion for inclusion. The data set is not limited by template name, e.g. it's not "Template:Well-known Linux distributions" or similar, so it has an inherent problem with that. I just re-read Wikipedia:Navbox - I can't honestly say I can give a thorough answer some of those basic questions - Ask yourself, does this help the reader in reading up on related topics? Take any two articles in the template. Would a reader really want to go from A to B? For most cases, a common category, which also exists, is quite sufficient. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 20:28, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
OK. To these questions I would answer that yes, someone non-expert in Linux distributions may click the links. Not often, but with a similar likeliness as any template link. I wonder if Google Analytics could confirm. Regarding which distributions should be linked to directly, it would be of very little value IMO to link to the Linux distributions category. That category is huge, the interesting articles are found in subcategories, and the vast majority of articles are uninteresting. It would also be crazy to link to all distributions with an article on Wikipedia. There are over 200. So, I think the right thing to do is to continue linking to those distributions which are the most relevant. Yes, the criterion we use to measure that is highly imperfect, and there will be no doubt more debate about which distributions should be linked to directly, but I still think this is the page to have this discussion. --Chealer (talk) 06:49, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Template Protection[edit]

After having to police a continuous stream of largely bad edits over the last few weeks, I've skimmed over the template history once again, and it seems to me that all we have is trouble. Does anyone object to protecting it from editing, at least by anonymous/unconfirmed users, since it's apparently a sufficiently highly visible template that it attracts a lot of problems? --Joy [shallot] (talk) 08:33, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

I have no objections, in fact I welcome an indefinite semi-protect. Link to the discussion here so that others can observe it and give input. --Koolabsol (talk) 19:51, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
I've added the semi-protection. (Any other opinions still very welcome.) --Joy [shallot] (talk) 12:41, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Impeding unregistered users to edit is against the spirit of wikipedia. It should be done only on exceptional vandalism circumstances and with a precise deadline for unprotecting the page.--Sum (talk) 18:57, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
If the history is, as Joy says, that unregistered editors overwhelmingly contribute negative edits to this template, I have no problem with semi-protection. Time of knowledgable editors is a limited commodity. Don't waste it. ⇔ ChristTrekker 16:35, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
My thoughts exactly.
One could argue that we just have a content dispute in that we don't have a clear threshold of inclusion, so the overzealous anonymous/newbie additions of their favorite distro to the list aren't technically bad edits, but they are doing nothing to really contribute to the resolution of the dispute, they are just being bold without reading the talk page or history.
At the same time I very much welcome anyone else's analysis of template history, that would confirm or deny my assessment. --Joy [shallot] (talk) 20:12, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree with protection. --Chealer (talk) 15:38, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Template reversion[edit]

User:Chealer has reverted the template back to the way it used to be.[1] Thinking his edits were in good faith and mistaken I reverted them in good faith.[2] He has reverted the template back once again[3] and I am putting a notice on the talk page so that others can weigh in on this. I will not be reverting any more edits as that would most likely lead to an edit war. Discuss. --Koolabsol (talk) 03:03, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Size of the template/number of distros mentioned[edit]

I think there should be more distros added to the template. There is no sound reason to only include 10 or so popular distros, when 20, 30 or even 40 could easily be included without taking up too much space. Compared to other templates it would still be rather moderate in size. I'm specifically missing distros like Sabayon, SLAX, Zenwalk and Backtrack which are quite popular and/or respected. It would also be a good idea to create sections and sub-sections to reflect the evolution and relationship of different distros.

Of course I'm aware of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Linux_distributions, but the template should be improved nevertheless in order to provide the core information at one glance.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.85.186.107 (talkcontribs) 09:10, 3 October 2010

OK, can you determine a tangible criterion by which Sabayon, Slax, Zenwalk and Backtrack should be included? What are the parameters that we can use to verify and compare "popular and/or respected"? --Joy [shallot] (talk) 17:58, 5 October 2010 (UTC)