Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Top Ten Linux Distributions

The following link will give an unbiased attempt to list the most widely-used distributions available today, complete with brief overviews of their history, purpose, pros and cons, available editions, and possible alternatives. The page should serve as a good starting point to those computer users looking to switch to an open source operating system or trying to find their ideal distribution.

http://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=major

For new users I recommend (In order)

  1. Ubuntu ( The most popular GNU/Linux Distribution )
  2. Freespire
  3. PCLinuxOS
  4. KNOPPIX ( Best Live CD )
  5. openSUSE
  6. CentOS ( for RedHat fans )


Summary of the article:

Ubuntu

  • Pros: Fixed release cycle and support period; novice-friendly; wealth of documentation, both official and user-contributed
  • Cons: Some of Ubuntu's own software (e.g. Launchpad, Rosetta) are proprietary; lacks compatibility with Debian
  • Software package management: Advanced Package Tool (APT) using DEB packages
  • Available editions: Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu and Xubuntu for 32-bit (i386) and 64-bit (x86_64) processors; Ubuntu Server edition also for SPARC processors
openSUSE
  • Pros: Fixed release cycle and support period; novice-friendly; wealth of documentation, both official and user-contributed
  • Cons: Some of Ubuntu's own software (e.g. Launchpad, Rosetta) are proprietary; lacks compatibility with Debian
  • Software package management: Advanced Package Tool (APT) using DEB packages
  • Available editions: Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu and Xubuntu for 32-bit (i386) and 64-bit (x86_64) processors; Ubuntu Server edition also for SPARC processors
fedora
  • Pros: Highly innovative; large number of supported packages; strict adherence to the Free Software philosophy
  • Cons: Less community-oriented than other major distributions; its priorities tend to lean towards enterprise features, rather than desktop usability
  • Software package management: YUM graphical and command line utility using RPM packages
  • Available editions: Fedora for 32-bit (i386), 64-bit (x86_64) and PowerPC (ppc) processors; Red Hat Enterprise Linux for i386, IA64, PowerPC, s390x and x86_64 architectures; also live CD and live DVD editions
  • Suggested Fedora-based alternatives: BLAG Linux And GNU (desktop, free software), Berry Linux (live CD), Yellow Dog Linux (Apple's PowerPC-based systems)
  • Suggested Red Hat-based alternatives: CentOS, Scientific Linux, StartCom Enterprise Linux, Lineox
Debian
  • Pros: Very stable; remarkable quality control; includes over 20,000 software packages; supports more processor architectures than any other Linux distribution
  • Cons: Conservative - due to its support for many processor architectures, newest technologies are not always included; slow release cycle (one stable release every 1 - 3 years); discussions on developer mailing lists and blogs can be uncultured at times
  • Software package management: Advanced Package Tool (APT) using DEB packages
  • Available editions: Installation CD/DVD and live CD images for 11 processor architectures, including all 32-bit and 64-bit processors from Intel, AMD, Power and others
  • Suggested Debian-based alternatives: Ubuntu, Damn Small Linux, KNOPPIX, sidux, Dreamlinux, Elive, Xandros, 64 Studio
Mandriva

  • Pros: Beginner-friendly, especially the commercial editions; excellent central configuration utility; very good out-of-the-box support for dozens of languages; installable live CD
  • Cons: The company's customer service has developed bad reputation over the years; complex, confusing web site infrastructure; dropping popularity due to its commercial nature and unpopular corporate decisions in the past
  • Software package management: URPMI with Rpmdrake (a graphical front-end for URPMI) using RPM packages. "SMART" available as an alternative method
  • Available editions: Freely downloadable Mandriva Free and One editions for 32-bit (i386) and 64-bit (x86_64) processors; commercial Mandriva Discovery, PowerPack and PowerPack Plus editions for 32-bit (i386) and 64-bit (x86_64); also high-end "Corporate" solutions for desktops, servers and firewalls, all with long-term support options
PCLinuxOS
  • Pros: Out-of-the-box support for graphics drivers, browser plugins and media codecs; fast boot times; up-to-date software
  • Cons: No 64-bit edition offered; no out-of-the-box support for non-English languages; lacks release planning
  • Software package management: Advanced Package Tool (APT) using RPM packages
  • Available editions: MiniMe, Junior and BigDaddy editions for 32-bit (i586) processor architectures
MEPIS
  • Pros: Beginner-friendly; excellent hardware auto-detection and support; intuitive, installable live CD
  • Cons: Software in its repositories not always up-to-date, lacks development roadmap
  • Software package management: Advanced Package Tool (APT) using DEB packages
  • Available editions: SimplyMEPIS for 32-bit (i386) and 64-bit (x86_64) processors
KNOPPIX
  • Pros: Unparalleled hardware auto-detection and auto-configuration; portable operating system that can be used for rescue, demonstration and testing tasks; provides a hard-disk installation script
  • Cons: Recent releases somewhat buggy; lack of polish and unification of menus across the different desktop environments; slow when run from DVD
  • Software package management: Advanced Package Tool (APT) using DEB packages
  • Available editions: Live CD and Live DVD editions for 32-bit (i386) processors
  • Suggested Debian/KNOPPIX-based alternatives: Damn Small Linux, sidux, Xandros Desktop, Elive, Dreamlinux, Parsix GNU/Linux, grml
Slackware
  • Pros: Highly stable, clean and bug-free, strong adherence to UNIX principles.
  • Cons: Limited number of officially supported applications; conservative in terms of base package selection; complex upgrade procedure; no official 64-bit edition
  • Software package management: "pkgtools" using TGZ (TAR.GZ) packages
  • Available editions: Installation CDs and DVD for 32-bit (i486) processors
gentoo
  • Pros: Excellent software management infrastructure, unparalleled customisation and tweaking options, superb online documentation
  • Cons: Occasional instability and risk of breakdown, the project suffers from lack of directions and frequent infighting between its developers
  • Software package management: "Portage" using source (SRC) packages
  • Available editions: Minimal installation CD and live CD (with GNOME) for Alpha, AMD64, HPPA, IA64, MIPS, PPC, SPARC and x86 processors; also "stages" for manual installation from command line
  • Suggested Gentoo-based alternatives: SabayonLinux (desktop live CD/DVD), VLOS (desktop), Ututo (desktop, free software only)
  • Other source-based distributions: Lunar Linux, Source Mage GNU/Linux, Sorcerer, Linux From Scratch

1 comment:

chopey said...

http://mvlinux.blogspot.com/2007/04/linux-is-linux.html