I don't think anyone would claim the stats were scientific, but they do clearly mirror 'buntu's rise and decline - in particular the recent sharp decline since unity became the standard. They also clearly show the rise of Linux Mint at the expense of 'buntu. I'm sure if this article was only about 'buntu's rise from '04 through to '07 you would not be here questioning the reliability of distrowatch and google trends stats... But if you have better, more accurate stats to support this, then please present them here... Distrowatch stats, though admittedly unreliable in many cases are based on "hits". For many distros this is an unreliable gauge of how well a distro is doing. Let's take Arch as an example. It's a rolling release, so presumably new users won't be going to the main site that often to download installation images, that would make Arch much more popular than it appears on distrowatch. Debian is another example. It caters for many different types of user, many veteran users will upgrade rather than reinstall and testing/unstable users are running a semi rolling release, so many of them will never download new installation images. 'buntu and Mint on the other hand are obviously targeted at new users - in particular windows users. Even existing 'buntu users will almost always reinstall from scratch due to the, quite arguably perceived, unreliability of upgrades, so it's likely that the figures for both distros are actually rather inflated. It's also quite obvious that 'buntu has been losing ground for years if you head off to have a read of any Linux related forum except the 'buntu forum (where this thread would have been censored).