The number of Linux distributions is declining. In 2011, the Distrowatch database of active Linux distributions peaked at 323. Currently, however, it lists only 285. However, exactly why the decline is taking place and how much it matters remains unclear.
Distros have always come and gone. In fact, Distrowatch lists 791 distributions that have existed since it was founded in 2001, although less than forty percent have ever been in active development at any given time. These tallies may not be complete, since some distributions probably never register with Distrowatch, but they are as accurate as anyone is likely to offer.
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