Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
I’m primarily a Linux user (mandriva on laptop and ubuntu on desktop) though I do have a Windows dual-boot option for those occasions that it’s necessary to use Windows. Not that I’ve ever actually found it necessary to use Windows yet - 99%+ of my time is spent using Linux.
Mandriva is actually my ‘favourite’ distribution and has been for quite a number of years, but the main reason I ended up with Ubuntu on the desktop was primarily due to wireless support - after endless problems with Mandriva wireless (with 2 different USB wireless adapters) I gave up and migrated to Ubuntu instead. Shame on me! In the past I didn’t like their development model as much but it has improved a lot over the last few releases so I was prepared for “words on toast” and change to Ubuntu. On the laptop I still kept Mandriva as it worked well for what I wanted and wireless support was OK etc. As they all use the ’standard’ Linux kernel the main differences between the various distributions are the things they add on compared to the standard kernel. Things like the user admin interface, package manager (for software installation), etc.
However it occurred to me that the more popular a distribution gets (I don’t know any statistics for this, but gut feeling is Ubuntu is more widely used than Mandriva, for example) the more popular still it’s bound to become, since people developing software for them will focus on the most widely used naturally since that encompasses the widest range of users.