Debian is the best distribution of 2011 according to TuxRadar

Debian gold

TuxRadar has ranked the allegedly six more popular GNU/Linux distributions (Fedora, Mint, Arch, Ubuntu, Debian and OpenSUSE) according to nine criteria: installation, hardware support, desktop, customisation, community, performance, package manager, cutting edge and security.  These criteria are, in my opinion, quite well chosen and, even if the analysis is kind of shallow in some cases (namely when it comes to performance or security), I must admit that, being a Debian user myself, I would tend to agree with the final verdict. Yes, Debian happens to be the best all-round system of 2011.

To be entirely fair, however, I feel they mixed apples and oranges. To start with, I would classify the distros according to their goals. In my opinion these are the big guys (not all with a Linux kernel, I know):

1.- The serious guys: Debian, RedHat, Slackware, FreeBSD (and maybe one day OpenIndiana).
2.- The beginners: Ubuntu, Sabayon, PCLinuxOS, Mandriva, openSUSE.
3.- The live on the edge guys: Fedora, Gentoo, Arch.
4.- The small guys: Puppy.

Of course, one should also mention the most relevant derivatives in each case (Mint, CentOS, Scientific Linux, PC-BSD, MEPIS,…). I have purposely omitted the build-from-scratch guys and the “Mr. Obvious” re-spins.

But even more interesting than this kind of ranking, would be a comprehensive review of the most cutting-edges technologies being developed in the free software world:  multi-architecture (Debian), atomic updates (Linvo/NixOS), GNU with kernels other than Linux, etc.