Linux distros: a random sampling

I’ve been using Linux, in both work and home environments, for about 6 years now. We Linux fans do regularly get the urge to change distros, and I’ve got through a few…!

No offence to the dozens and dozens of distros that I don’t mention here. I’m sure they are fabulous, but I’ve not tried them.

Started out with SuSE, although it was a very different beast back then from recent versions.

I’ve tried newer versions now and then as they come out, and it’s a very proficient and solid distro. For those who find RedHat (or Fedora as we’re meant to use these days) a little too respectable but still yearn for mainstream, SuSE is a good choice.

Gentoo has been hugely good fun – being source based and requiring updates to be compiled it appears rather daunting to the newcomer. However it’s actually much easier to use than one might think. The documentation and forums are excellent, and the compilation of new software is, by default, almost entirely automated. The overall architecture is also very, how can one put this, elegant. The more experienced user will recognise the very solid and well-thought out architecture. My main criticism of it is not the complexity at all, it’s the (more obvious) requirement that all new software be source compiled. Some of the machines I ran it on were old – and recompiling a new version of KDE with a handful of bug fixes in it on a Pentium II 400MHz is not for those in a hurry…

Latest distro love-affair is Ubuntu. These people really do seem to have got it about as right as I’ve yet to see. All the usability and solidity of Debian, but without the baggage and history that seems destined to forever hold Debian back. Ubuntu seem to have covered all the bases in one distro: the beginner, the hacker, the business user, all are catered for. And they’ll even send you a CD for free, so you don’t have to download it.

Comments are closed.