Find the answer to your Linux question:
Results 1 to 5 of 5
For a newbie like me it seems the only difference between distros is what applications are installed on them. Obviously that's not true. How to tell the difference between distros? ...
Enjoy an ad free experience by logging in. Not a member yet? Register.
  1. #1
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Estonia
    Posts
    20

    How to tell the difference between distros?


    For a newbie like me it seems the only difference between distros is what applications are installed on them. Obviously that's not true. How to tell the difference between distros? What do I have to look for when I am testing a distro?

  2. #2
    Linux Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Luton, England, UK, Earth
    Posts
    639
    Usually the package manager, and kernels are different, or modified differently. There is not really that much, community, package manager, kernel, apps installed, upgrading, installation. That sort of stuff.

  3. #3
    Linux Guru smolloy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    CA, but from N.Ireland
    Posts
    2,414
    This is a good question, and an important one. Of course all distros are very similar, because at the core of each one is the linux kernel, however there are still important differences between each one. These differences boil down to three main things,
    1/ The software that comes with it. Does it come with a lot of software or none at all? Does it limit itself to open source software, or does it include commercial stuff? Does it come with your favourite packages?? In this I include the choice of desktop environment/windows manager -- does it come with KDE/gnome/blackbox/etc.??
    2/ Its method of installation. How do you install it?? Anaconda?? Yast?? Another pretty GUI?? Installing from source?? Easy/difficult?? Designed to be easy for newbies or customisable for linux-pros??
    3/ Package management. Does it have a way of managing packages?? RPM based?? Deb?? Yast?? Portage?? Or install from source??

    The answers to all of these questions will give away the main philosophy of that distribution. For example, Slackware is a real purist distribution that attempts to stay as close as possible to the open source philosophy, and to make sure all the power is in the hands of the user -- this is why you will be installing everything from source if you use slackware. Gentoo is similar, but it's emphasis is on choice and control -- everything is up to you, and nothing is decided in advance for you. Also, it uses the incredibly powerful portage system for package management, which has to be seen to be believed!! On the opposite end of the scale are systems like suse, which is designed to result in a very slick, nice OS with the minimum of fuss. Suse is a very professional system with a nice pretty GUI for installation, and the very powerful control system tool Yast to set up your system.

    The differences between distros are mainly defined by the philophical approaches of each the mainatiners, and the best way to figure out the differences is to keep experimenting!!
    Registered Linux user #388328 || Registered LFS user #15880
    AMD 64 X2 4600+ :: 2X1GB DDR2 800 :: GeForce 9400 GT 512MB :: ASUS M2N32 Deluxe :: 4X250GB SATAII
    Need instant help? Try us on IRC -- #linuxforums on freenode

  4. #4
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Estonia
    Posts
    20
    So there's like almost no programming? I can use whatever distro to download those apps I want. I don't need to choose a special distro to do that.

  5. #5
    Linux Engineer psic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Ljubljana, Slovenia
    Posts
    1,205
    Quote Originally Posted by commodore
    So there's like almost no programming? I can use whatever distro to download those apps I want. I don't need to choose a special distro to do that.
    There is no programming (unless you want to). You can use almost all generic apps in almost all distros (I say 'almost' because we live in a world without absolutes ).

    So you can use Firefox, OpenOffice, Gaim... in pretty much every distro.
    Stumbling around the 'net:
    www.cloudyuseful.com

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •