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Choosing a Linux Distribution

Choosing a Linux Distribution

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Published by Edmund Ochieng
This is a guide to help persons decide which Linux Distribution best suits their needs.
This is a guide to help persons decide which Linux Distribution best suits their needs.

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Published by: Edmund Ochieng on Apr 06, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Choosing the Right Linux for Me
Edmund OchiengApril 7, 2010
This article is written to answer the widely asked question, ”Which isthe best Linux for me?”. The truth is there is no Linux that is best foryou but, there is a Linux Distribution that is best suited for the task youwant to undertake. This article should guide both the Newbies and socalled gurus in selecting the best Linux to perform the task they wouldlike to unertake.
1 What is Linux?
Linux is a generic term reffering to any unix-like operating system that is basedon the Linux kernel. Its a promintent example of open souce software impliyingits source code can be modified and redistributed both commercially and non-commercially depending on the terms of the licence mostly GNU General PublicLicence.The use of Linux is prominent in the server environment whereas, most desk-tops and laptops either run Mac OS X or Microsoft Windows with Linux havingabout 1-2 % of the desktop share. However, it tends to hold a larger market sharegenerally due to its ability to run on a wide range of devices; from embeddeddevices such as mobile phones, smartphones and wristwatches to mainframesand supercomputers.
2 Why do you need the Linux on your PC?
Despite changing trends in the recent past, Linux still faces a lot of oppositionas it is said not to be user-friendly a fact I’d boldy disagree with. This is awrong notion that is brought about by using the wrong the distribution-onedoesn’t use a table knife to cut uncooked meat. In my opinion, Linux is a swisspen-knife and is not meant for the faint-hearted.Linux can fully be operated through the graphical user interface that shipswith the perating system however in some cases it is necessary to execute tasksfrom the command line interface as the GUIs in some cases are absent or offerlimited options.A typical user may not need to learn how to perform tasks from the com-mand line however, the knowhow is necessary. Often when the operating systemcrashes or rather fails, the command line interface mostly reffered to as the shellsurvives and may be used to revert the last change that caused the failure.In addition to, here are more advantages of LInux:
Lower total cost of ownership-its free
Quicker bug fixes
Faster release cycles
Wider support base
No vendor lock-in
Encourages innovation / creativity
Good security
Facilitates the understanding of concepts especially in academic institu-tions2
3 Choosing the right Linux Distribution
Linux distributions are practically incomparable due to their techincal varia-tions. Technical variations here being support for different hardware supportand systems or package configurations. There are three questions that shouldguide when choosing the right Linux distribution, these are:1.
What needs should the Linux distribution meet?
The purpose for which the Linux OS is to be used is a crirical considera-tion in the choosing the right distribution. Various distributiions are bestsuited for certain task for instance Ubuntu Studio is best suited for thosewho have interest in the mastering and developing of multimedia whichlack in most other Linux distros, BackTrack for firewalls among others.2.
What is the installation type?
This is determined by the purpose the operating system should server.This may break the type of installations into two major type:(a) Server install(b) Workstations / Desktop installThe type of installation required also determines the packages to beincluded in the system. However, for newbies and explores, you mayconsider installing all packages to ease the strain of adding packages whenneeded later in time.3.
Categorization of the distributions
Finally once the first two questions have been answered satisfactorily, wecan choose a Linux distribution from iether of the groups below:(a)
For old PCs which may have very little storage space, small Linuxdistributions such as Puppy Linux, Damn Small Linux, Piggy Linuxamong others may be used.(b)
Novice vs Expert user
Depending on the intended users of the system, a perfect Linux dis-tribution may be chosen. Where by a Novice may be adviced to use aLinux distribution that is easy to install and has an easy to use soft-ware updater such as Ubuntu whereas, Experts may go for systemsthat may better perform the tasks needed but may not have verygood and well developed user interfaces which may make it difficultto use for novices.(c)
Bleeding edge vs Stable
Based on the requirements of the user, a user may choose a bleeding-edge distribution - here being a Linux distribution that attempts toincorporate all new developments in the open source realm. Suchdistributions are normally pleasant and fascinating to use however,they have tendencies to become unstable especially if some of theincluded software are still in ther alpha stages an example of such anoperating system is Fedora Linux and Ubuntu. On the other hand,3

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