Judging from a few comments in the Reddit thread, it seems that Arch Linux is shaping up to become the new "distro for the cool." We probably won't see as much of an exodus from Ubuntu as we saw from Gentoo -- precisely because Ubuntu has a large bank account propping it up, as opposed to poor 'ole Gentoo -- but there will probably be a very pronounced dip. It seems to me (again, from that Reddit discussion) that some of the true fans of Ubuntu will be quite happy if this event takes place and takes some of the "ubuntards" out of their pool.
Ubuntu is the new Gentoo2007-01-29 13:40:00
Have you noticed that there have been a lot fewer Gentoo fanboys around since, say, mid-last year? I am fairly positive that's because they have all moved on to the "new hot" distribution -- namely, Ubuntu. I guess compiling everything with "-O 99 --funroll-loops" is out, and "brown gradients" is in, I don't honestly know.
Now, the situation is slightly different in the sense that as opposed to Gentoo, which was entirely grassroots, Ubuntu has enough money coming from the "bdfl" to pay the developers and keep the PR machine well-oiled. When the fanboys move on to some other distro that is newer and shinier, I don't think the drop in popularity would be quite as drastic, but I do believe it will still be very pronounced. When the "newness factor" dies down, I expect that most developers not actually paid by Ubuntu will move back to Debian [...], and Ubuntu will take its earned slot in the distro line-up -- hopefully the company makes enough money by then to break even. Free OS market is a very tough place to compete with the likes of Red Hat and
SUSE Novell Microsoft(okay, now I'm just being mean :)).
In case some people think this post is anti-Ubuntu -- it is not. [...] I simply suspect that current popularity of Ubuntu is mostly due to the "crowd" factor, and not due to its (many) merits. If anything, this is an attempt at predicting that in another year's time we'll see another project emerge (um...) that will attract many of the current Ubuntu "rabid fans" the way Gentoo and Mandrake have done in the past.
Fedora, on the other hand, will probably never be a "cool" distro to use -- mostly because Red Hat is seen by many "fanboys" as a big evil corp that's too mainstream to ever consider. There's probably a good reason to be happy with that state of things. :)