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The Curious Case of the Disappearing Distros

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[dropcap] W [/dropcap] ell the holidays are pretty much upon us at last here in the Linux blogosphere, and there’s nowhere left to hide. The next two weeks or so promise little more than a blur of forced social occasions and too-large meals, punctuated only — for the luckier ones among us — by occasional respite down at the Broken Windows Lounge.

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Perhaps that’s why Linux bloggers seized with such glee upon the good old-fashioned mystery that came up recently — delivered in the nick of time, as if on cue.

“Why is the Number of Linux Distros Declining?” is the question posed over at Datamation, and it’s just the distraction so many FOSS fans have been needing.

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“Until about 2011, the number of active distributions slowly increased by a few each year,” wrote author Bruce Byfield. “By contrast, the last three years have seen a 12 percent decline — a decrease too high to be likely to be coincidence.

“So what’s happening?” Byfield wondered.

It would be difficult to imagine a more thought-provoking question with which to spend the Northern hemisphere’s shortest days.

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