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It looks like I am going to have a lot of distros to try!
Hallelujah! No offence to the OP intended, but I do not understand the plethora of posts on fora everywhere on the internet asking the question, Which Linux system should I use? Every system is designed for different people, both knowledge level and personality (personal likes and dislikes). The only way to know if one will like a distribution is try it. It is like buying a car. My neighbour and I may have drastically different ideas about what constitutes a good automobile. I believe I have mentioned it here before. When I switched to GNU-Linux, I down-loaded three ISOs, burned the discs and tried the systems. I neither read nor asked for opinions. And I do not regret it. Anyone contemplating a migration to Linuxland should not be afraid to experiment. Try as many distros as one can stomach. If one does not like a system, it is only a wasted disc. Fear not!
Those who ask this question are used to the proprietary "you will do it this way" operating systems. They are not used to having a choice in the world of computing, so in that context, I think it is understandable that they look for the "you should do it this way" answer.
I build my own distros from scratch. I've been using my current system for about 3 or 4 years now; it's so stable that I have real trouble convincing myself to build another one -- but I'll get around to it one day.
If I had to pick an actual distro from all the ones available, it would be Slackware. It's the first distro I ever used and I'm using it on my laptop: an old 600MHz Dell Latitude that I keep as pure command line. I hacked the CD drive module and put a DVD drive in instead, and I used a PCMCIA card for wifi (supported by native drivers) -- so all in all it's pretty functional.
Anyway, thanks again everyone for your replies. I really appreciate you people who kindly sacrifice some of your time to share some of your knowledge with me, a random nobody on the internet.
Last edited by elija; 05-04-2012 at 09:42 AM.Should you be sitting wondering,
Which Batman is the best,
There's only one true answer my friend,
It's Adam Bloody West!
The Fifth Continent
I use Debian testing, with Gnome 3.
I hear loads of people complain about Gnome 3, that they can't find anything and stuff like that. I don't really seem to have that issue (but then again I've got 11 terminals open). I guess that as long as I can use bash in a GUI, I'm happy!
- Join Date
- May 2012
My PC runs on Lubuntu and my laptop dual boots with Xubuntu and OpenSuse.
Lubuntu and Xubuntu I use when I'm at home. They both are pretty easy on memory so it's good to run games on.
(Sometimes I play The Elder Scrolls - Oblivion on Lubuntu).
For use at school I have OpenSuse with Gnome. Because I only need internet and office applications at school I have lots of memory left, so in that case I like a nice looking desktop.
The most important thing about Linux and any OS I think is freedom of Choice. I like having distros available for all kinds of systems and user needs.
Ultimately, this question depends greatly on what you need. Do you want to live on (or over?) the bleeding edge? Do you need the latest features? Or do you need something that is stable and secure, even if some aspects may be old and outdated by some people's logic?
For people who want more stability (possibly because they are running a production server) I recommend Red Hat Enterprise Linux. RHEL is far from the latest and greatest, but they make a point of not releasing something that will cause disruption to a running system. So (for instance) the latest kernel revision for RHEL 5 is 2.6.18-308.4.1.el5 - they're still shipping 2.6.18, but with over 308 patches (many of which are backported from more recent kernels) to fix critical bugs and support newer hardware.
RHEL, however, is not free (as in "free beer", of course.) You have to pay an annual subscription fee to be able to download updates, and the cheapest releases don't support things like multiple CPUs and very large RAM sizes.
For those who want RHEL, but don't want to pay the maintenance fees, there is CentOS. CentOS is a free distribution built from the RedHat sources (sans any proprietary packages and without any RH branding.)
I like RHEL (especially the RPN package system) and use it on the systems I manage at work.
For those who like the RHEL design but want more cutting-edge features (and less extensive testing/support), Fedora is a good solution. It is based on the RedHat architecture, but is community-sponsored. A lot (but not all) of what the Fedora team develops eventually ends up in some release of RHEL.
All of the above are based on RedHat's branch of the distribution family tree. I happen to like this branch, mostly because it's what I started out using. Many others will recommend other distributions from other branches, especially those based on the Debian package system.
For those who prefer the Debian branch and like to live on the bleeding edge, I recommend Ubuntu. It is frequently updated and has a very easy to use graphical package management tool. They also have package channels where you can download versions that have not been fully tested (and may be unstable) if you like working with that kind of software.
Note that you don't have to use Unity with Ubuntu. They have packages for other desktop environments. I usually use either Gnome or the venerable Fvwm with the Ubuntu systems I run.
If you like the Debian package system and want something that is more stable than cutting-edge, I'm afraid someone else will have to help out. Ubuntu is the only Debian-derived distribution I have personal experience with.