Lets face it, there are so many Linux distributions available these days that deciding which Linux distro to use without trying every single one can be a daunting task.
Each Linux distribution contains the same base Linux kernel and system tools, but what makes a distribution unique is how things are packaged and managed. Research is the most important thing a Linux user can do when choosing the right Linux distribution. This document hopes to provide you with the necessary resources and information to make the choice that is right for you. So, how do you find out which Linux distro to choose?
- DistroWatch is a website that displays top rated (popular) distributions along with newly added distributions and releases. You can find extensive comparison charts, reviews, download links and various other information specific to each distribution. This site is a must visit for anyone looking for a Linux flavor that suits their needs.
- Live CD’s
- Check to see if the distribution you are planning on installing has a Live CD. This will give you the opportunity to test out features before committing valuable time and hard drive space.
- Distro Chooser
- This website contains a straightforward 10 question quiz that may help you narrow your research. I have not tested the output more than twice, so I’m unsure as to which distributions the creator has as optional answers. I answered the questions to the best of my ability and the quiz answered Slackware as the number 1 operating system that fits my criteria.
- Choosing a Linux Distribution
- This article has some decent recommendations for which distributions to use if you’re a new Linux user, if you’re a power user, if you’re planning on installing Linux on a server, an old computer or installing Linux for games.
- Comparison of Linux distributions
- The comparison charts and information on this wikipedia page are put together very nicely. There is a ton of information on each Linux distribution located here, including history, features, technical aspects and more. Take some time to learn about some of your choices before making the jump.
Additional Tips/Resources On Choosing:
- Make a list of what you want to accomplish and what you will be doing on Linux. Check off each item as you find out the distribution is capable.
- Check out the activity in the community related to your distribution. Look on IRC, forums, and mailing lists and ensure that you’ll be able to seek help easily.
These tips and resources are provided to help you choose the perfect distribution for your needs. Typically, the most important needs a user should desire are: ease of use, flexibility, support, and security. Remember, try out Live CD versions of distributions before you install a full copy so that you can get a feel of how things are laid out. Use these resources to your advantage and you’ll be operating on a distribution that fits all of your needs in no time. Good luck!