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Which Linux distro is right for you?

Linux Distros

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Linux DistrosWhich one do you have?

In our earlier article — the Art of Linux — we saw some prominent features of the *NIX based operating system – Linux. The actual power of Linux can only be unleashed once we have an installation at our disposal. So before we move ahead in our quest of mastering Linux, we shall have to to make sure that each one of us have at least a copy of Linux installed on their machines. This shall allow you to have a hands-on experience with stuffs we discuss over here. I am sure most of you would already be having a Linux distro on their desktops/notebooks, but we shall not lose out on the newbies too!

Today, most of the students and would-be-geeks crave for a Linux distro (or may be, more of them). With the development of rich GUI enabled installation procedures and the introduction of live-CDs, installing a popular Linux distro is a matter of minutes. Gone are those days when you needed to compile the kernel from the source for days or months and then debug it, repeatedly!

Linux is available in various flavors depending upon one’s needs and desires. Primarily, a Linux distribution is categorized as – rpm based or deb based. This classification is based on the kind of package manager the distro has. Each distro has a Linux kernel coupled with an intuitive GUI and a host of software’s or packages depending upon the genre of the distro – who are the targeted users?

To know the details of various Linux distributions, I would recommend a website: Distrowatch. This is a perfect platform to learn about various distros – what do they offer, whom are they intended for and how good are they.

Still confused?

Try out this Linux Quiz by polishlinux to help you know which distro fits you.

My personal recommendation for a newbie is Ubuntu – a popular Linux distro. It is getting popular day by day due to the kind of community based support it has. It is also has a great, out-of-the box Wi-Fi support. Moreover, its has a rich repository of software.

If you’ve been using a Windows or a Mac for several years, you would take some time to adjust to the new interface and a completely different file organization schema which a *NIX based system has had over the past 35 years. But once you get accustomed to this operating system and its Command Line Interface (CLI), administering Linux would be a cake walk. You might just not feel like bothering your boot menu to switch to any other operating system!

Now, take a leap and decide which distro is for you. You can download Ubuntu, the free installation CD/DVD from the distro’s website. You may even order your free and they’ll ship it to a destination of your choice.

So, with the advent of next-in-the-series article, we all shall have a Linux distro running on our computers. I hope that’s easier than said for you. Stay connected!

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24 Comments

  1. Ubuntu is the choice for newbie ? Eh ? Please try Mandriva , Sabayon , or Linux Mint [ an Ubuntu alternative ] and then say is Ubuntu really newbie or out of the box OS ?

  2. Ubuntu is the choice for newbie ? Eh ? Please try Mandriva , Sabayon , or Linux Mint [ an Ubuntu alternative ] and then say is Ubuntu really newbie or out of the box OS ?

  3. Well, I'm a non-techie. I don't know much about Linux and all. I just tried Ubuntu and I think its great. Its light and easy to use.The only difficult part is installation, particularly if you want a dual-boot with Windows.

  4. Well, I'm a non-techie. I don't know much about Linux and all. I just tried Ubuntu and I think its great. Its light and easy to use.The only difficult part is installation, particularly if you want a dual-boot with Windows.

  5. I'm going to have to agree with Shashwat.

    Another neat distro is DreamLinux - slick looks, consumes less resources, and yes, totally multimedia enabled, in the sense that you won't have to download codecs.

  6. I'm going to have to agree with Shashwat.

    Another neat distro is DreamLinux - slick looks, consumes less resources, and yes, totally multimedia enabled, in the sense that you won't have to download codecs.

  7. @Shashwat: Hi, I've tried all of the distro's you've mentioned. Ubuntu is by far one of the best supported and easy to use and install distro. Mandriva is also of the same breed but you must know that it's a rpm based distro. So, you can not just compare them. Also, Linux mint is nothing but Ubuntu+ default Multimedia support. Having said that, I do not mean that Ubuntu is not powerful. Instead, its more user friendly!

    @Manoj: With Ubuntu, always install windows first. Ubuntu shall automatically detect your windows installation and you'll get the grub boot loader by default with no hassles!

    @sathya: DreamLinux is also a newbie-distro. But I'm talking in terms of community support and repositories ubuntu has, its far better than the rest. After all we can't expect all the people to compile from source instantly.

  8. @Shashwat: Hi, I've tried all of the distro's you've mentioned. Ubuntu is by far one of the best supported and easy to use and install distro. Mandriva is also of the same breed but you must know that it's a rpm based distro. So, you can not just compare them. Also, Linux mint is nothing but Ubuntu+ default Multimedia support. Having said that, I do not mean that Ubuntu is not powerful. Instead, its more user friendly!

    @Manoj: With Ubuntu, always install windows first. Ubuntu shall automatically detect your windows installation and you'll get the grub boot loader by default with no hassles!

    @sathya: DreamLinux is also a newbie-distro. But I'm talking in terms of community support and repositories ubuntu has, its far better than the rest. After all we can't expect all the people to compile from source instantly.

  9. @Shashwat You've again got me wrong! There's nothing wrong with RPM at all, but you can't compare rpm and deb, they have different builds and have their own pros and cons. I've tried opensuse 10.3, its good at KDE, I feel. But with the kind of support ubuntu has based on the numerous communities and IRC channels is what makes it a better option for a newbie. However, that's my own discretion! You're thoughts might differ, for that matter.

  10. @Shashwat You've again got me wrong! There's nothing wrong with RPM at all, but you can't compare rpm and deb, they have different builds and have their own pros and cons. I've tried opensuse 10.3, its good at KDE, I feel. But with the kind of support ubuntu has based on the numerous communities and IRC channels is what makes it a better option for a newbie. However, that's my own discretion! You're thoughts might differ, for that matter.

  11. for newbie user: openSUSE
    for user wat to go deep: openSUSE

    with the new package manager in openSUSE 11 you can really forget apt (and the distro's using it: ubuntu, debian, etc.) even if it's based on rpm (don't confuse the package manager - apt - with the package type - dpkg). the new Yast is the most powerfull package manager on the market!

    openSUSE has a really strong community and is by far the best!

    once you're trying openSUSE you'll ask yourself a question: WHY I DIDN'T TRYIED EARLIER???

  12. for newbie user: openSUSE
    for user wat to go deep: openSUSE

    with the new package manager in openSUSE 11 you can really forget apt (and the distro's using it: ubuntu, debian, etc.) even if it's based on rpm (don't confuse the package manager - apt - with the package type - dpkg). the new Yast is the most powerfull package manager on the market!

    openSUSE has a really strong community and is by far the best!

    once you're trying openSUSE you'll ask yourself a question: WHY I DIDN'T TRYIED EARLIER???

  13. hi there, I hate Microsoft.. I paid a fortune for XP Professional only to have it crash twice and destroy all my data.. then when I attempt to re-install from the original CD have it refuse to work because my CD did not contain service pack 2. I heard about Linux and thought it might be the answer to all my prayers?? However after reading the above I realise that it is only for techies and computer nerds.. I am totally confused what on earth is a "Distro"???? How many different versions are there? What is the difference.. Where is software available?... All very confusing.. I now have Vista and the first thing Microsoft did when I registered it was to send millions of updates???..because it was sold totally full of bugs and problems!!.. How can they get away with selling something totally unsuitable for the purpose it was purchased??.. I wish there was an alternative but it seems Linux has a long way to go before a non nerd like myself can use it!

    John :O(

  14. hi there, I hate Microsoft.. I paid a fortune for XP Professional only to have it crash twice and destroy all my data.. then when I attempt to re-install from the original CD have it refuse to work because my CD did not contain service pack 2. I heard about Linux and thought it might be the answer to all my prayers?? However after reading the above I realise that it is only for techies and computer nerds.. I am totally confused what on earth is a "Distro"???? How many different versions are there? What is the difference.. Where is software available?... All very confusing.. I now have Vista and the first thing Microsoft did when I registered it was to send millions of updates???..because it was sold totally full of bugs and problems!!.. How can they get away with selling something totally unsuitable for the purpose it was purchased??.. I wish there was an alternative but it seems Linux has a long way to go before a non nerd like myself can use it!

    John :O(

  15. John, it's exactly for people like you that I am starting my venture : The OpenSourceDeal (The site is under construction but you can still order from http://www.opensourcedeal.com).
    I want every Indian be able to get his hands on any and as many Distro as he wants so that he/she can try it and move on to another Distro without having to fear its cost or , more importantly, its availability

  16. John, it's exactly for people like you that I am starting my venture : The OpenSourceDeal (The site is under construction but you can still order from http://www.opensourcedeal.com).
    I want every Indian be able to get his hands on any and as many Distro as he wants so that he/she can try it and move on to another Distro without having to fear its cost or , more importantly, its availability

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