Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How to chose the right Linux Distribution for you

Choose Linux Distro
Choose Linux Distro
Hello dear Linux fans. As I mentioned in the first post, when I talked to you about what is a Linux Distribution, in this post I'll guide you trough the process of finding and choosing the Linux Distribution that suits you best.

First of all, you should know that there is no such thing as "best Linux distro" or "best operating system". It's all based on the purpose of the use and the personal preferences of the user.

Before you go ahead with Linux installation, you should check if all your hardware is supported by Linux. If there are Linux drivers for all your components and that they are compatible. This may save you a lot of time and headache.

What you should care about when choosing a Linux distribution:
- hardware compatibility
- community support
- license
- designed scope
- your Linux skills
- appearance and design

Let's get them one by one:

Hardware compatibility

If you have a couple of years old PC, almost any Linux distribution will work out of the box. If your PC is older, I would recommend you to check the lightweight distributions like Lubuntu or Xubuntu. If your PC is top of the line, double-check all the components for support. Please note that some components are buggy on some distributions or are supported only on a few of them. Usually the main distributions support most of the common hardware.

Community support

It is very important that the community backing up the Linux distribution that you choose to be large, because the larger the community, the easier you'll get your answers and problems solved. Distributions like Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Fedora, CentOS, Arch Linux have great communities and the support is fast and easy to get. Many of them have even local support communities so you can get help in your native language. This is a good thing both for the Linux beginners and advanced users. Also, you may want to surf the community forums before choosing a distribution to rely on.


Make sure the license of the distribution of choice is allowing you to use it the way you like. Many free distributions, require you to get an enterprise license in order to use it for business. Reading the license ahead may save you from unpleasant events.

Designed scope

What will you use the Linux for? Desktop, server, firewall? Home, business, multimedia, education? Many Linux distributions come prepackaged with utilities and software to help you accomplish your daily tasks in some domain. Search for a distribution that comes prepared for your domain of use and you may find a few to choose from.

Your Linux skills

If you are new to Linux, you should try a "beginners distro". It's not required, but it's easier to learn this new OS without too many headaches. You can choose something like Linux Mint, Ubuntu or Zorin OS, but keep in mind, there are many distributions oriented for the beginners, and the "normal" distributions like Fedora, OpenSUSE or CentOS are not much harder to use.

Appearance and design

An important criteria, which also makes Linux different from other operating systems, is that each user can choose for a different desktop environment. There are a few major Linux desktop environments, like GNOME 2 (deprecated now, limited use), GNOME 3, KDE4, XFCE, LXDE, Unity (used only by Ubuntu at the moment) Cinnamon and MATE (fork of GNOME 2 still active and actual). Each one of these desktop environments has it's own pros and cons. XFCE and LXDE are lightweight and are low on memory and CPU consumption. KDE4 and GNOME 3 are fancy and glamorous. Each one of them is easy customizable and most of the distributions have a by default customized desktop environment.

Keeping in mind the tips from above, you can find and compare Linux distributions that suit your needs and this will save you time, reducing the number of the distributions you have to read about and test before deciding on which one to use.

PLEASE do not ask on forums, Q&A sites or other discussion boards questions like "which linux distro is better", "best linux distro", "why is X distro better than Y distro" or similar. All of these answers are subjective and are a matter of preference, not of quality.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What is a Linux Distribution (Distro)?

A Linux Distribution, also called Linux Distro is a member of the family of the Linux kernel based Operating Systems.
Linux Distribution Logos
Linux Distribution Logos
Why there are many Linux Distributions? Because the Linux kernel is open source and anyone can use it to develop an operating system around it. Each distribution has it's own main purpose and is designed for a primary use, but all of them can be customized to be used on any environment. For example:
For server there is: Debian Server, CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and more
For desktop there is: Ubuntu (with Xubuntu, Kubuntu and Lubuntu), Linux Mint, Fedora and Open Suse and many more
For education purpose there is: Edubuntu (variation of Ubuntu) and others
For security researchers there is: Kali Linux, BackTrack, BackBox Linux and more
For older PCs there is: Puppy Linux and Damn Small Linux
Maybe the most well known Linux Distro is Android, which is used by many smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.
We will talk about most of them in future posts and we'll go trough reviews and some tips and tricks.

The main difference between Linux Distros is that each one has different applications installed and they are configured differently. Anyway, most of the Linux Distros have the kernel patched. A kernel patch is a set of modifications applied to the core of the OS, in order to avoid some bugs or incompatibilities with the installed applications or targeted environment.

In the next post I will teach you how to choose the right Linux distribution for you, based on your needs and preferences.