Linux Distro Comparison
In this article you’ll see a Linux Distro Comparison. This way some new users will be helped, because when it comes to Linux, there are always a lot of choices. Even if you’re not a new user then and you’d like just to change from one distro to another, this is going to be a helpful guide for you in case you’re not already a pro. Choosing a Linux distribution isn’t always an easy choice. There are so many option and Linux has so many capabilities and it is really understandable if you feel lost. But in any case, things are not so complicated as they may seem. Every Linux distribution has its own reason of existence. A very specific goal. Some distros address to server administration, others are for desktops, others are for old computers and there even some distributions for a special purpose like taking data from a “Broken” PC.
First things first, what is a distribution?
First of all, Linux OS is nothing more than the core that our computer loads when it boots. No GUI, no applications, nothing else but the core. Practically one PC that only has the Linux core is as useful as a car that only has an engine and it has not wheels, seats, gears. The same applies for every OS though. So even though we’re going to see that a the distro list is big (most of those are based in 3-4 standard ones) we’ll see that the best questions to ask our self is “what we need” and “which GUI we are going to use”. Every user is special, so we have to examine that topic from a lot of different perspectives.
Is it a newbie? Someone that switched from another OS or is it one of the few more advanced users that want a distro that fits them precisely?
Is your machine multi-core with endless ram and can handle 64bit OS or it’s an old computer who can’t even run windows 7 and wants a decent OS?
Do you want to make it a media center? Do you want to make your machine a server or it’s an old pc which you want to “resurrect” so your kids can play with that?
Does our user want support from the awesome Linux community or he can pay for support because this computer is going to be used for business purposes and google searches(for problem solving) is bad for the company’s productivity?
So let’s start our Linux Distro Comparison – First according to the usage.
Every day usage
Every day usage includes browsing, opening documents(LibreOffice, PDFs), listening to music/watching videos. For this kind of usage, our user doesn’t need to have a complicated control panel (like….windows for example). He/she also needs to be easy for a software to be installed and then the GUI should kind of look like windows. This user needs GUI and some good ideas would be KDE, Cinnamon, Mate(of Linux Mint), Gnome Zen from PCLinuxOS). A pro for Cinnamon and KDE is because they don’t have a complicated CP and also the existence of Software Administrator. Alternative solutions is KDE or Gnome Zen which their pros is that the first one has an LTS edition that is supported for 5 years while the 2nd one is semi rolling, which means that you install it and only update it. In both, codecs are pre-installed. If the hardware of the PC isn’t helping you can change your GUI in XFCE. Again Linux Mint is your friend here. Now, if the hardware doesn’t help at all(old CPU, low RAM etc) you can try Puppy Linux or if you’re advanced users you can try the distro that you know better and try the Razor-qt GU or OpenBox or Enlightenment(without the effects).
In everyday usage we can also add the use of your PC as a media center. Most users that plan to user their PC as a media center, they install their PC tower right next to their TV and they only use this machine for listening to music(no internet) or for youtube. In that case the only solution is the distros that include the XMBC. Those are GeexBox, OpenELEC, or if you want Ubuntu, the choose MythBuntu.
There is a solution for users that want to edit Music, Image or Video. The most complete and solid solution is Ubuntu Studio. But you have to know that Ubuntu Studio is for this usage only.
Every day usage for business that needs performance, the options are SuSE with KDE or Gnome (depending on your hardware or Red Hat. Maybe they contain slighter older editions of Software but it’s the most stable you can find, something that is important for a pro.
In this category are the users that usually experiment with their machine. Those users usually want to adjust the distro according to their computer. Their metric usually is the speed that their pc can handle processes, the existence of tools-softwares and last comes the “design” of the GUI. So XFCE is usually a good chose for that for a GUI. Not for Distros if you want to go deeper into Linux knowledge Gentoo, Arch Linux or Debian are really good places to start. If you don’t plan to dive deeper you can use openSUSE or Fedora with which ever GUI you like. The point here, is if you want to have to ultimate control of your computer or if you want to have the latest edition of an OS. Most likely those users are software administrators, networks admins and also developers. You should definitely follow their awesome community.
For a server
The category of “Servers” doesn’t usually have to do with the majority of users. But we mention it because every day more and more people decide to install a server in their house for all kinds of usages, or even in their small business which they usually do the “tech support”. So in that case a user like that cares about data security and a relative easiness to install either via tools either with the use of documentation. Here, the solution of centos (which is practically Red Hat) and Ubuntu Server are the distros that have the monopoly of the users. In Ubuntu solution only the LTS version is going to be chose because of the long term support. Alternative, our users can choose Debian or FreeBSD because of their stability and the long term support. There are some pros though, which also need security and stability but since time is money, they’ll trust the support in a company. In that case the choices are Red Hat and SuSE.
Linux Distro Comparison – List of Distributions
After the decision of RedHat to give RedHat linux only as an enterprise product for enterprise environments, it was Fedoras time to take RedHats position, mainly as a test field of new technologies with the potential to be attached later to the enterprise distributions of the company. It addresses to both advanced and inexperienced users and its really popular. Its easy for someone to find Softwares and support in the internet. It also includes a software called Yum which provides the functions of installation, uninstall and upgrade.
Website: Fedora website
Package management: RPM
Default desktop: Gnome (default) και KDE
Suse is the European(German) proposal for Linux Desktop and it addresses to the same group as Fedora. In it’s installation CD provides a lot of softwares and also it has one of the strongest software management tools, Yast2. Besides the packet management, Yast2 provides the user with a lot of choices for the control of the entire system. Also, if someone buys it, the package includes commercial apps and also the package of tech support from SUSE. However, someone can download SUSE for free, without the commercial SW and tech support. It is a very good distro with history and big community.
Web site: SUSE website
Package management: RPM
Management tool: Yast2
Default desktop: KDE
Maybe the distribution with the biggest audience. It’s not supported from some company, but from a huge, all around the world community. The main characteristic of Debian, is flexibility and the biggest SW collection from any other distribution. It has a very good support because of its awesome community, not only in the level of user support but also in a level of finding and fixing bugs in the software that already contains. Even if it’s one of the most popular distributions, the new Linux user will maybe find some difficulties in his starting installation because it doesn’t have a graphical user interface(user will have to install it later) and also it doesn’t provide more apps but only the absolutely necessary for the user to continue the installation according to his own personal needs. So, even if we can’t say that it’s a “no-no” choise for the novice user, for sure it’s not recommended. Important features of Debian is the flexibility in installation, the very high level of security and also the big number of stable versions in his softwares.
Web site: debian website
Package management: deb packages
Management tool: apt (package management only)
Default desktop: –
Ubuntu is here to give the user friendliness that Debian doesn’t. It’s based on Devian but it’s more simple, with the goal to give the easiness in usage and the friendliness to novice users. It incorporates It incorporates a method that does not require the root user account, which although it has been criticized by most fans of linux, it is a pleasant surprise for the novice user. Besides of being a good basis for the novice, it can be proved good enough for the advanced user as well. And this is true, thanks to the fact that it is based on Debian and therefore has the ability to install packages from this, which extends its usability and also the lifespan of your system. Ubuntu uses a GUI called Unity and which is quite controversial in terms of friendliness to the user. There are people who love it and others hate it. Besides the “pure» Ubuntu, there are several “derived distributions» (derivatives distros), ie distributions using the same basis with Ubuntu, but come with different GUI. The main derivative distributions are:
The Kubuntu which is an Ubuntu with KDE graphical environment
The Xubuntu which is a Ubuntu GUI XFCE.
The Lubuntu which is a graphical Ubuntu LXDE environment.
The Ubuntu GNOME which is an Ubuntu with GNOME desktop.
Web site: Ubuntu website
Package management: deb packages
Management tool: Synaptic (package management only)
Default desktop: Gnome
Here you can find a guide for Ubuntu 16.04 installation
Gentoo is a counter-proposal to Debian, as addressed pretty much to the same audience: To more experienced users who want control over their system. Gentoo goes a little further though. By giving the user the option to download the code of the programs and let the user compile them, provides improved performance! But as you already understood, this is for very advanced users. And the user doesn’t loose the benefits that has be given from the systems package manager. Gentoo installation is relatively difficult and it’s similar in general to that of Debian, giving initially a minimalist system on which the user builds the rest according to his needs. It has a relatively large community, many programs, like Debian and it will be a good idea for a beginner to avoid it.
Web site: Gentoo website
Package management: Portage
Management tool: portage (package management only)
Default desktop: –
Hardcore linux. A distribution with a long history and many fanatical users. It is a relatively minimal distribution, addressed to advanced users and it is quite stable. Mainly supported by one person, Patrick Volkerding, who takes care of informing the packages. The package management system is rudimentary and does not support dependencies, putting the user in charge of installing the necessary programs and libraries in order for each app that installs each time, to work. The problem of dependencies can be addressed by installing external programs.
Web site: Slackware website
Package management: Slackware Package Management (tgz)
Management tool: –
Default desktop: –
Mint is one of the most widespread distribution, while the popularity is growing rapidly. It is a distribution aimed at Desktop Computers and which is particularly friendly to new users. The strong point is that it is a carefully staged distribution, which regardless of the GUI you choose, it will give you a very pleasant Desktop experience. Mint is based on Ubuntu, but what distinguishes it from the Ubuntu derivative distributions (Kubuntu, Lubuntu, etc.) is that it uses the same packages in Ubuntu, but it has its own repositories.
ISO offers pre-installed with the following graphical interfaces: Cinnamon, Mate, Xfce, KDE.
Web Site: Mint website
This was an article, trying to do a Linux Distro Comparison. We hope you found it help full, you can also type in our search bar “linux distros” for a couple of articles more(no comparison there, just a reference). That being said, we mentioned in the article that the Linux Community is awesome, and we always encourage our readers to check the community FIRST! Here you can find a lot of links that will guide you to the distros community you desire. Thank you for reading and have fun.