Debian GNU/Linux celebrates its 20th birthday anniversary this month. I have been using Debian GNU/Linux only a few years and I regret not having known Debian earlier. The growth, vitality, and quality of the project has been amazing. With Debian GNU/Linux I have been able to do a lot with a tiny investment in IT. It is a force-multiplier for good Free Software.
For the cost of a download and a little reading, anyone can use software like Apache web server, PostgreSQL database, PHP and BASH scripting, openSSH, LibreOffice office-suite, Gimp image processor, and many thousands of other packages, just like the big boys use. The volunteers of Debian collect Free Software and provide a package manager, APT, that permits installation and updating the operating system, drivers, utilities and applications as easily as you can run a single application. They do the hard work and you have the fun. Starting with Debian GNU/Linux is a great introduction to information technology with the flexibility and power to take you where you want to go whether it’s a single PC working at home or a huge network of clients and servers spanning the globe.
Debian GNU/Linux runs about 10% of websites on the Internet. By contrast, RedHat GNU/Linux, which has more salesmen and news-coverage, runs only 2.8% of websites. Ubuntu GNU/Linux, the most popular distribution of GNU/Linux software on PCs, depends on Debian GNU/Linux, and runs 7.8% of all websites. GNU/Linux runs 30% of all websites. Nearly half the users of LibreOffice run it on GNU/Linux. Last year, there were over 15 million downloads of LibreOffice, mostly for that other OS. One estimate of GNU/Linux users on PCs globally comes to 67 million. I think it’s about twice that because the web stats have a strong bias against the biggest roll-outs on the planet.