Choosing Between the Different Linux Distributions

Concerns about security and collecting information tend to be what cause many individual home users to take a new look at Linux. If you’ve never taken a look before or are coming back after turning to other operating systems, then you might not be sure which distribution is right for you. There are literally hundreds of different distributions of Linux to choose.

No one can tell you what distribution is right for you. Only you can make the end decision, but it might be useful to at least look at several of the top distributions before you make a decision. You might find different distributions fit the needs of different machines you have. Fans of various types of Linux will surely promote their favorites and belittle ones they don’t care for but in reality, no one distribution is a one-size-fits-all solution for everything.

Examining Some Popular Linux Distributions

Debian: If you’re looking for an operating system based on a package distribution system, then you might want to look at Debian. It features over 50,000 packages of precompiled binaries, which makes it attractive to those who want to install a ton of applications. The apt-get package manager makes it very easy to install these, and they’re constantly being updated. Raspbian, the default Raspberry Pi operating system, is also a flavor of Debian.

Ubuntu: Developers forked Ubuntu from Debian, and it features a ton of packages along with the custom Unity interface. This interface is supposed to unite the way users interact with laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones by selecting a single interface for all devices. Programmers continue to provide alternate Ubuntu packages with other desktops too. Lubuntu is drastically lighter and features LXDE. Xubuntu is slightly heavier, and uses the Xfce desktop. Kubuntu uses the KDE Plasma Workspace.

Mint: Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, and it offers a relatively complete out-of-the-box experience that uses either the MATE or Cinammon desktop to provide a comfortable user interface for users. The Mate interface uses something that resembles the Windows 10 start menu combined with the original Windows 95 start menu along with a host of programs forked over from the GNOME Core Applications collection.

Slackware: Perhaps no other distribution is as conservative as Slackware, which is closest to a traditional distribution. Developers who prefer to compile binaries from source code are attracted to Slackware, as are users who prefer to always user traditional text-based install software. Slackware is ideal for anyone building their own distribution.

Arch Linux: Experienced Linux users moving from one distribution to another will want to consider Arch for sure. Unlike Debian-based distributions, it features a unique homegrown package management system called pacman, and maintains its own package repositories. Arch Build System software allows developers to easily build new packages.

Puppy: Unlike other distributions, Puppy Linux is technically more of a family of operating systems. They’re especially useful for people revitalizing old computer hardware, and most of them come in 200MB or less packages. Some versions of Puppy are built on Slackware while others are built on Ubuntu. The developers use the term “grandpa-friendly” to emphasize just how inuitive Puppy is for new users.

Fedora: Red Hat works on the Fedora distribution, which is ideal for those who want bleeding edge releases without any closed-source software polluting their environment. More than likely you won’t find any official support for third-party closed-source packages even, which helps to keep an installation completely clean from a licensing standpoint. This is part of the same family of Linux distributions as CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Those who need commercial support may wish to look into an RHEL support contract. Fedora offers several different package options called Fedora Spins, which are geared toward different tastes. This has very recently made Fedora popular with gamers.

openSUSE: Several companies including the namesake SUSE Linux organization contribute packages to openSUSE. Developers work to leverage open source packages to make openSUSE a very complete operating system that’s also extremely easy to use. openSUSE emphasizes simplification of package development in order to provide a dizzying array of applications to end users.

PCLinuxOS: Out-of-the-box graphics and sound card support is the goal of PCLinuxOS. Consumers coming over from Microsoft Windows often expect all of their hardware to work as soon as an operating system install is finished, which is the reason PCLinuxOS is built the way it is. They work to slipstream a ton of popular applications into the distribution, which include browser plugins for multimedia sites.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.