Compare Linux flavour

Posted: November 14, 2008 by Narendra Shah in Linux Box
Tags: , , ,

There has been a lot of Windows – Linux flame war between between community members where they go on fighting over topics whether Linux is more stable or Windows and which of the two looks good!

Well, all the community members who have ever used both OSes for decent period, would surely say that both of them have their own uses and its the USER who has to decide what his OS should be. No matter what your OS is, its the set of features (including the applications) and the level of ease of use ultimately decides what could be OS of choice for the user!

Windows seems to be more user friendly and people are habituated with it. On the other hand Linux world is catching up with the user friendliness and different visual effects to keep the user working fast as well as making the environment more enjoyable.

With plethora of Linux Distributions over the net, each one of them promising higher level of friendliness, usability, richer feature set and application set, it surely becomes a really difficult task to decide what distribution to go for (and after all Linux is FREE)! I have used many of the Linux distributions over last 2 years. I tested almost each of them which I got from some magazine and had downloaded 2-3 of them from the internet as well.

Choices vary and it has to be decided by the USER which Linux distro to go for as its the user ONLY who knows his needs specifically and clearly! One point is that when it comes to LINUX, most of those users who have absolutely no experience with Linux, ask the community members what to go for and ultimately end with almost no solution.

Usually, people discuss only the “FAMOUS” Linux distributions like openSUSE, fedora, UBUNTU and such! However sometimes, other not-so-well-known distros are also too good to resist.

I place them according to what they have to offer in different ares:
****************************************
1> openSUSE: My personal favorite distribution. It offers you the latest stable software, all tested by the community and thus stable. Being one of the most popular distro as well, it does offer you KDE and GNOME and other desktop environments as well. The package management is good as well and you would not need the keyboard while installing software if you have an internet connection and know where to look things up!

PLUS:
=====
*Offers KDE and GNOME and other Desktop environment.

*Stable in most cases. You can rely on it with your precious services and data!

*Ease of use is high.

* Feature set is great! Apart from multimedia, you would not require to look anything from the internet (I say this for general users).

*Most of the things work out of the box.

* NEW: Comes as a LiveCD as well! (from version 10.3)

* Improved package menegement featuring 1-click install from the version 10.3

MINUS:
======
* package management is BAD. It downloads package information from the software repositories everytime you start the YAST package manager (as of the recent 10.3 release).

*If you have a specific software requirement and you can’t use internet, You will have a REAL tough time with this distro.

*******************************

2> UBUNTU / KUBUNTU : Yet another distro which is popular as well as contains applications you would love to use! Ubuntu is quite well and OK, is more userfriendly than any other distro (yes even more than openSUSE). It comes in many flavors which are mainly categorizewd my the desktop Environment they use. Kubuntu uses KDE as its desktop environment and UBUNTU uses GNOME

NOTE: Its is advisable to new Windows users shifting to Linux to use KUBUNTU as the KDE desktop environment is more like Windows Desktop than GNOME is!

PLUS:
=====
* Very easy to use and install.

* Great package management.

* Most of the things work out of the box. Good hardware support

*Live CD is available so that you can see the Desktop before actually putting it on your PC’s Hard disk.

* Fast development cycle. So you have a new version every 6 months

MINUS:
======
* some complaints about instability on latest hardware, specially laptops.

*Live CD needs nice amount of memory to start and run the installation. (RAM required is at least 512 MB).
*******************************

3>FEDORA

To be honest, I am putting Fedora at the third place JUST BECAUSE OF ITS POPULARITY AMONG NEWBIES. Fedora is a project of the Red-Hat and is falling behind. Sometimes buggy, with weaker package management, this distro is not fit for home users. Is mainly used on servers (where experts take care of it!).

PLUS:
=====
*continues the trend of Linux to be secure. Still called as the most secure Linux distro.

* Another version of fedora (although commercial) comes with an added advantage called SEL or Security Enhanced Linux which ensures that if one serive is compromised, the other pars of the system remain secure!

*famous among newbies (I know thats not a PLUS point. . . but still).

MINUS
======
* Software dependencies will eat up your head and its a nice time consuming process to find and install them.

* Hardware support is not very good for latest hardware which is well supported by other distros.

*Installer is not very friendly. requires a person to be a GEEK in order to install it straight away!
*******************************

4> MANDRIVA

This is one of the BEST Linux distribution to start your Linux journey with. This is one distro that provides MP3 support out of the box and is really stable. Based on Mandrake, one of the most popular Linux distributions, it is well suited for the home user for its wide support of multimedia formats when compared to other Linux distributions. The package manager is very easy for the newbies and comes with a decent bundle of applications and games to keep you busy at work and play as well!

Mandriva is not as popular as others at the top in this list but is surely a distro a newbie will like! If you have not used Linux till now, it is suggested to start away with Mandriva

PLUS:
=====
* easy top use for newbies.

*Stable in case you have not put it up on some hardware not suppported officially.

*Support more multimedia formats out of the box when compared to other distros.

*Comes as a Live CD too.

*Project Metisse is a nice addon to eye candy.

*Both GNOME and KDE are supported.

MINUS:
======
*Package management is not really appreciated by many experienced users.

*Not many software officially available. However, RPMs released for SUSE do work in most of the cases!
****************************

5> DEBIAN

Some people say it is more for a geek . . . but thats not true. It comes with a bundle of more than 15000 (yes nits not 1500, its 15000) software packages. So if it is a dedicated server or be it a multimedia Powerhouse that you want to make, you will never be let down by this OS.

Debian is said to be one of the most stable Linux around and is very easy to use when it comes to software installations. All you need to get some software installed is to type down a simple command. The rest is taken care by its package manager. Debian is the ground on which UBUNTU stands

PLUS:
=====

*really stable on most of the hardware.

*Loads and loads of applications available for being installed from the net!

*A very strong package manager.

MINUS:
*Does not come with a lot of eye candy as of the last version

* Does not include the latest kernel.

*Is a bit tough to install for newbies, But still is worth a try!

********************************

There are many many others like PCLinux OS, sabayon, ARK, Xandros etc. but it is not possible to cover all of them. If you really want to switch over to Linux but do not know what to do and whom to trust, all you need to know is :
* How much do you know about computers (and Linux).
* What do you want from your Linux distribution.

Then head over to this address, answer some questions and you will get the name of the Linux distro which suits your needs best:

http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc/

Some people think that Solaris and BSD are same as Linux. This is not true. Both of them are derivatives of the UNIX operating system (just as linux is) but they are different from the Linux OS. It is not advisable to use Solaris until and unless you understand UNIX well and are more of a developer than a normal user.

BSD is also more suited for a server than a normal Desktop system.

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