Survey Reveals Most Popular Server Operating Systems

The classic battle over operating system supremacy is raging on in the fourth quarter. In one corner, Microsoft stands with hands raised in victory as the market leader.

In the other corner, various open-source operating systems have joined forces under the Linux banner, threatening to dethrone the software giant.

So which operating system is the best of the best? If you ask 20 different people you may get almost as many answers.

If you ask Microsoft, corporate execs will surely give you a compelling spiel on why proprietary systems are tops.

If you ask Novell, the company will offer a convincing case for SuSE.

Ask Red Hat and, well, you get the picture. But for all the battle cries over what operating system is best - one of the various flavors of Linux or a closed-source version from Microsoft - ServerPronto can tell you this much: Beauty is in the eye of the installer.

In an internal study of its dedicated hosting customers, ServerPronto is shedding new light on operating system favorites.

According to company data, ServerPronto customers rely on Fedora, Debian, Red Hat 9, Windows, FreeBSD, CentOS and Gentoo more than all other options on the market.

Drilling down a little deeper, the top operating systems ServerPronto customers use break out like this:

Fedora 21%

Debian 17%

Red Hat 15%

Windows 13%

FreeBSD 9%

CentOS 7%

Gentoo 7%

Here's a quick run-down on each contender in the ServerPronto survey.

Fedora is a Linux-based operating system that showcases the latest in free and open source software.

Debian is a free OS that uses the Linux kernel, but most of the basic OS tools come from the GNU project.

Red Hat 9 was the final release the leading Linux OS before the company started offering Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Windows Server 2003 promises to simplify branch server management, improve identity and access management, reduce storage management costs, provide a rich Web platform, and offer cost-effective server virtualization.

Centos is a free, enterprise-class Linux distribution.

Last but not least, Gentoo is a free Linux-based OS that can be automatically optimized and customized for just about any application or need.