Choosing a Linux distro

As all of you might be knowing that distro is a short name for Linux Distributions, here I list many distros which have gained a lot ground of late and can be truly called desktop OS. Some information are also appended along with them so that you can make a nice decision. All comments,suggestion and feedback are welcome.

Ubuntu: This is the best and the most usable Linux distro when it comes to general use. A Linux distribution should not just work properly, it should have a strong community, nice documentation, large number of HOWTOs and TIPS/TRICKS. This is the place where ubuntu beats all distros hands down. If you have problems downloading from the site or have slow connection, you can order its CD for free! Order Now

UbuntuForums: This is one of the most busiest forums and too exhaustive for any one to follow. In light mood its so vast that one needs to be unemployed to keep track of all the threads 😀 Its claims over 6,00,000 users on the community. Even if you post a n00b question, you should expect to get multiple instant replies. One thing special is the patience in community members. The same n00b question is asked again and again by different members and all of them are answered by the people in polite tone. Its a non-geek hangout

Ubuntu Wiki: This is one of the best documentation I have ever seen, one stop destination for all problems and tweaks. The wiki consists of two parts official and community. Official one is a bid narrow thing and to the point explanation whereas community section is highly exhaustive.

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openSuse: The community version of the SUSE enterprise Linux. This project is funded by Novell for creating a desktop based OS based on its proprietary SUSE. Its known for its great KDE based glass effects and looks. The latest version is OpenSuse 11.0 which has the latest release of KDE 4.0 bundled in it. Go and have a try.

openSuse Forums: At the time of writing openSuse forums had 2246 members and still had lots of activity going on by having a look at the number of discussions threads.

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Fedora: Like openSuse this one is a community Linux project funded by Red Hat to build entirely free Operating system based on its Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It has the same package management and shares many features from its parent except that it doesnt contain any non-free packages or softwares. The latest version is fedora 9 and it has great chances of making its roads inwards to Windows Users.

Fedora Forums: fedora Forums has a total membership of 110,000+ people with over 2.5 million threads and even more posts. Its properly split up into various parts. While posting questions take care to post it in correct section and secondly before posting a question take care to search whether its answered before or not. These care and precaution have to be taken for all community and not just Fedora in general.

Fedora Wiki: This project also have an excellent Wiki as far as I have noticed ( very beautiful too). I found all the stuffs which I required while using it. This project has a large user base and many of them are very committed in promoting this project, so they post all their howtos and tutorials at this place.

Fedora Ambassador: This is a concept started by Fedora to spread its user base. People register themselves as ambassadors and promote its use among the general people who have little tehnical knowhow about Linux and Fedora in general. They assist people in setting up their OS and installing some necessary stuffs like codecs and internet which is totally greek to a newcomer. If you want to contribute to Fedora you can start as an ambassador. Fedora Ambassadors discuss ways to promote it among masses. They post theit updates about the activities and promotional stuff. Highly contributing people can find their places to the top of Fedora development team.

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9 thoughts on “Choosing a Linux distro

  1. I like how you not only comment on the distro but also the community behind them – the key part _after_ you install something.

    I’d suggest adding a note about, The alternative flavors of Ubuntu (especially Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Mint and the reasons for choosing each) and PCLinuxOS. A discussion of a few project specific uses like FreeNAS (network storage), m0n0wall (router/firewall), Mythbuntu (DVR), Damn Small/Grafpup (run on really old computers), and dyne:bolic (example of several media production specific) help give those new to Linux an idea of what options are out there. All are live-CDs (or burn Read/Write media to test with).

    They can then experience the richness of running modern Operating Systems with “bling” without buying new and expensive hardware to do it.

    I run Xubuntu 7.10 (dual boot XP) & several 8.04 pure, use DSL for quick activities, FreeNAS for large network storage, and m0n0wall/pfSense for access points and firewalls, some video editing with Cinelerra on dyne:bolic recently.

    Oh, options for experimenting with Linux software can start with Open Office and Firefox installed on Windows, then boot K/X/Ubuntu Live-CD from within Windows (“Wubi”), then dual boot Windows/(K/X/U)buntu, then install K/X/Ubuntu only.

    Discretionary Thoughts

  2. hello,

    and mandriva ? and mint linux ? and PCLinuxOS ? and Debian ? and Zenwalk ? and frugalware ? and vector ? and mepis ? …..
    your choise is very small !
    @+ petitbob

  3. I’m really sorry to have to add this, but i came to this link via TuxMachines, where the blog entry is touted as

    Choosing a Linux distro

    With a synopsis of

    “Here I list many distros which have gained a lot ground of late and can be truly called desktop OS. Some information are also appended along with them so that you can make a nice decision.”

    What do i find, a list of 3 distros, all of which are well known, no assistance in making any choice, because according yo you all the distros are excellent, with excellent forums. and additional services. If you were going to do this article prehaps you could have started with Ubuntu, and then maybe listed some derivatives, such cas Kubuntu, Linux Mint, and Gobuntu then moved onto to Mandriva Linux, a highly capable Linux Distro, and its baby brother PCLinux, regarded by some as one of the best implementations of KDE3.5 out there. (Not a personal opinion, but it is an opinion), you could have lived on the Edge a little and le the world know about Sabayon, ok, a souce based distro, but VERY bleeding edge and a more than capable Desktop, again with a very active forum Then branch into OpenSuse,maybe Fedora, i personally believe this is a better server distro than a desktop distro, why? something ou didn’t go into, Package management, RPM, Deb, Source Based, pros and cons. I personally believe DEB files are better suited to Desktop Distros, as is apt-get, however RPM is very well suited to the server systems which you might not be updating so often. Do you see where i’m going here, your article, while factual, gives no personal opinion, with the reasons you have made that opinion, never be afraid to be flamed, flaming is good. it promotes opinion. Maybe you could expand the article? Also The OpenSuse forums may have 2246 members, but i personally find OpenSuse to be one of the poorest documented distros for Forums and Wikis, the information you can find is usually outdated, and incorrect, the howtos are poorly written, and the users assume too much, Fedora Forums, is better, however suffers with the same historical information in most cases, Ubuntu forums, are what sells the product.

  4. Well, the big missing distro is Mandriva.
    I’ve been using it for several years, upgrading (no fresh install since 3 years) and am very pleased.

    It is a pity Mandriva has not the buzz of ubuntu, but it is definitely a great distribution. It just deserves a better marketing.



  5. “This is the best and the most usable Linux distro when it comes to general use.”

    Wrong. It’s the most WIDELY used distro…that’s it. For general use, it doesn’t have anything that any other distro doesn’t already have/do/or use. In fact, there are quite a few that have features that make general use better than ubuntu has.

    I’d love to go point to point with you about this if you’re game. Just name some feature(s) you think is unique to Ubuntu that gives it ‘an edge’ and I’ll show you a distro that has them all and has had them all for longer.

  6. Firstly I would like to comment clearly that this post is written for an extreme *n00b* who has just moved to Linux and does not know the ABC’s of Linux. The first thing they say if “So many distros? Which one to choose?”.
    So I gave them a briefing of the most commonly and widespread distros which have communities so that they can sustain themselves without any linux champ sitting besides them.

    I respect the views of all of you. I know I have missed out many distros, but that was intentional, but am sure, once n00bs feel Linux at home, they will surely give different distos a try including Mandriva and Gentoo and many more.

  7. @Petitbob

    and mandriva ? and mint linux ? and PCLinuxOS ? and Debian ? and Zenwalk ? and frugalware ? and vector ? and mepis ? …..
    your choice is very small !

    yeah my choice is very small,It shud be at the beginning, will surely expand as time permits. Mandriva is nice, Mint is also. Debain is surely a bit tough for newcomers, believe it or not,it is. But surely Debain is the most matured distroo ut there. No doubt in this regard too.

    @David Field
    If you meant PCLinuxOS not PCLinux, its the brother of Mandriva not Ubuntu.
    Am not fearful of flames,flamewars are good till it doesnt go personal.

    I understand, will write a post for it too. Keep in touch, just need some time.

    You talking of unique feature? Its hardware support is the best of all which I have tried. All my hardware has worked out of box without even a single tweak. What more you need? This is the thing a n00b needs rather than a source code at the beginning. Source Code is needed when they are familiar with this OS

  8. If you want to use linux but not understand it, then ubuntu is fine.
    But, if you want to learn linux, then slackware wins!

    Slackware has great documentation (follow it and it actually works), and it has a great community… some noobs are intimidated because install cd/dvd boots to command prompt: this is good, because it weeds out idiots who can’t follow basic documentation — they end up in ubuntu giving clueless advice and confusing tons of others — and only those who make it through the install become slackers… Thus the slackware community has higher knowledge base to learn from…

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