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Which Linux Distribution? | Understanding Linux Distros


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Published: 2 months ago
In this video I go over the timeless question "Which Linux Distribution should I choose?" that haunts us Linux users. I'm going to try and demystify this so you can get to understanding Linux Distros. Everyone is very opinionated about this and what works for one person may not work for another. Instead of going over the literally 100s of distributions lets focus on the types to choose from and pick one from each.

Types of Linux
Debian and Ubuntu
Slackware and SUSE
RHEL, CentOS, and Fedora
Arch

Sites to help you choose
https://distrochooser.de/en/
https://librehunt.org/

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comment  Comments

As a curmudgeon who was dragged down the MS rathole because of the need to use proprietary business software 25 years ago, I wish people would clarify that "distros" are really akin to visual updates, and the real OS core is always linux build up by Ubuntu or Debian, etc. Integrating the most popular or desirable programs, seamlessly, along with seamless updates as required, safely and painlessly, is the essence of what I'm looking for in abandoning my Windows familiarity. The hope over time is that linux disciples will foster an ever better group of more sophisticated, competitive tools that provide all the majority will ever need. If that means inevitable attrition, for those distros which faltered or failed to rise to collective challenges, at least they contributed to a general progressive trend without the ugly aspects of closed-system models that trapped and extorted customers unable to migrate to other options.

1 day ago

can you share the link the big linux distros chart schematic thingie? :)

2 days ago

did you just say debians package manager was more robust than arch/gentoo's ? xd i can see the rage in the comments now

4 days ago

Lol, How about this? I like zypper better than any of the package managers... *Linux community officially triggered*

4 days ago

Command lines are pretty much same on all Linux distributions. Therefore, learn command line interface

1 week ago

Get a chrome book, or Linux mint

1 week ago

2:00 I think you meant dep-rih-kay-ted “deprecated” meaning no longer accepted as current, not “depreciated” de-pree-shee-ay-ted meaning lowered in monetary value via a schedule.

1 week ago

I used to distro hop as a new Linux user, then Linux Mint came out and i stayed with that for years. I switched to openSUSE a couple of years ago and never looked back or distro hopped again. openSUSE is perfect for me, i use it daily even for complex work, definitely not for newcomers tho, i recommend Linux Mint for newcomers.

1 week ago

Ubuntu is currently the best distro I would recommend to any new users.
I use something else because I'm not 'new'.

1 week ago

No mention of LFS? Gentoo is a cakewalk compared to Linux From Scratch. My first experience with Linux was downloading a pile of floppy images and using rawwrite to create the bootstrap into Slackware. Second hurdle, learn to compile a kernel using make config in an attempt to get the CD-ROM drive and network card working again. Anyone here know the pain of this?

1 week ago

Red Hat rocks for servers. I'm yet to see a Red Hat server fail because of an OS issue. For home users who are used to Windows and want something "that just works" stick to Ubuntu or Linux Mint.

1 week ago

Just skip most of this and install Linux MINT if you aren't going to be a rocket scientist about it, Mint incorporates a lot of these elements into one operating environment that Windows users can probably understand well enough plus it has plenty of ubergeeks helping to improve it. Even there you have a few 'flavors' that will let you choose what you like to do and use...you have 32 and 64 bit versions, you will want to download and burn it to a DVD, it's too big for CD-Rs and NO LICENSE IS REQUIRED...just make a few choices at the start of installation and in the case of Mint it does the rest. There is also a huge number of apps to choose from.

I wouldn't give up Windows in full but having machines with each is a good thing and you can now restore Mint with an app, similar to Windows. It's not going to be exactly the same, and I wouldn't abandon Windows etc completely because I have Windows programs I count on that I can't find exact replacements for or that I'm completely happy with...not an indictment but just the way it is for me since using Windows and programs for it since version 3.11 (Windows For Workgroups).

1 week ago

I never ran a "pure" Slackware but there is a Slackware based distro called SalixOS. It was one of the fastest distros I ever had on my system and nearly everything worked right out of the box.

1 week ago

Thanks alot for this video, I recently went back to the Fold of Linux as I had it finally Up to the Cosmos with Windows....When you got talking about Arch, it brought me back to what I feel comfy with....my first Linux experience was probably back in the early 90s and boy has it come a long way from trying to setup x11! mind you I've dabbled well after that but sure has brought up some fond memories of tinkering and learning linux when I was 10....(I been on PCs since 86, so DOS and Terminal was never a issue for me, just relearning the jargon of commands vs the DOS jargon was the curve for me....I ramble)

1 week ago

LINUX IS IMPOSSIBLE TO USE AS ABOUT 12000 DIFFERENT VERSIONS WITH A NEW VERSION RELEASED EACH DAY. 12000 VERSIONS....RIDICULOUS.

1 week ago

Useless crap like Linux shouldn't be allowed to be called an Operating System, but what it actually is... a fraction of an operating system.

1 week ago

+ratatatuff ...says the whining troll.

1 week ago

You're just another troll who is simply too stupid to use Linux.

1 week ago

New person?
Dude, my first Linux was Slackware back in the 90's. 😂
There wasn't the internet as we know today, times of 56K modems and the COM and Parallel ports, we had to compile kernel modules in the middle of the installation process, build everything after we finish and there wasn't a graphical interface. That will teach a thing or two about Linux, how to men up and grow a pair, it was hard to make it happen.

I've used a lot of them, Slackware to RedHat 4.0, 5.0 and 6.0, now I use Debian+Gnome. I don't like Ubuntu because they spy people (google it), and Fedora, they like to break a lot of things! You get your video and audio card working in one version them they break it so you need to do "hacks" to use packages from the previous version in to the new one. Debian don't use the "last version" mind set, it's rock solid and I've never saw one crashing in my 20+ experience with it.

1 week ago

i was not mentally prepared for the 'vast' screen shot. i know that theres a WHACK TON of distros, but that screen shot floored me.

1 week ago

What would be the best distribution for a file server for someone that is a beginner to the linux or freebsd world

1 week ago

I need that chart.

1 week ago

good ramble, thank you!

2 weeks ago

Great video. My first Linux Experience was Backtrack v4.3. My tech friend told me it was a GREAT idea, until Amarok bricked an ipod and then the laptop itself. I wish I would've been introduced this way to Linux the first time.

2 weeks ago

longtime windows/mac user, recently switched to linux with great apprehension and uncertainty.. this helped greatly, thanks much.

2 weeks ago

Great video! You explained that very well and I just learned a lot from you, thanks!

2 weeks ago

Thanks for the nice video.
Nicely said and I agree about the fragmentation with so many distributions.
I am a relative newbie and started with Linux when Windows XP was no longer supported. Started with Ubuntu, and then settled with Mint (virtually the same). I have tried a few different distros on spare computers over the last couple of years and come back to the Ubuntu line. I have installed Zorin for some elderly and colleagues who were having difficulties with Windows. Zorin is good for those who are transitioning from Windows and just need the basics to surf the web and keep up with their social media (kind of a watered down Mint). Zorin has a couple of hiccups but is ready to go out of the package and the wifi seems to work well.

2 weeks ago

Ubuntu will install without issues on just about any generic computer that has been around a few yrs and run without issues. Dell and HP are your best bets. Most people don't like issues and this avoids issues. Puppy Linux is valuable because you can install it on something like an old but solid laptop and run basic software. I will add that most people can find and use the browser and go on line without problems. That means they have access to the social groups and can use Google docs which means they can do the basics. I trust my claims because when a desktop went down in my computer lab due to hard drive failure I'd run Ubuntu off a thumb drive till it got fixed. The students didn't have a problem using their educational web sites. The fact that it was Linux was not an issue. Zero learning curve. Zero problems.

2 weeks ago

Fedora with Cinnamon desktop!

2 weeks ago

Netrunner

2 weeks ago

I have to agree on the Slackware issue, it's exactly what I did, Installed it learned it played around a bit, I had it up and running with everything I wanted but my main issue the lack of a Package Manager and pretty much anytime you went to upgrade the distribution you pretty much had to go around and fix everything that breaks in the system from that upgrade, great if you want to learn the fundamentals but so good if you just want something that works.

2 weeks ago

Its really hard to believe anyone who doesn't know that OS X pronounced Oh Es Rea (its a roman numerals ten, not an X) and further its officially actually macOS for many years now.

2 weeks ago

+Dennis Mohican Apple officially change the name to macOS several years ago, just FYI for all those folks that are years behind the times.

2 weeks ago

According to Apple - "The current version of Mac OS is Mac OS X (pronounced "Mac O-S ten")." And btw, sfw? Everyone calls it OSX. Only a snooty Mac user would try to say something like this. I won't hide my disdain for macs lol. Wish Apple had died in '96. :P
Dennis

2 weeks ago

I'm actually using Android as my primary operating system.

2 weeks ago

It's not Deebian. It is as Deb-Ian. It is named from Ian Murdock (creator of Debian) and wife Debbie (girlfriend Debbie Lynn when it came to be).

There are plenty of Debian (yes start with Debian spins) based distributions that are great. MX Linux has a great history from Mepis (an old Debian system from the early 2000's). It is solid, stable, and ready to go out of the box. Elementary and their Panteon desktop environment is a great start for new users to learn Linux from. Simple and great for new users. Oh and yes...Peppermint IS a great and stable system that is a Ubuntu spin. It is good...really. KDE Neon is a great distribution created by Planet KDE desktop environment developers. The Rolls Royce of Linux. Ubuntu and Mint is a yes. They are probably the most popular. Stay away from Arch and Arch spins like Manjaro and Antergos. Don't get me wrong they are grreat distros but they are rolling distribution and things will go wrong and you will have to fix things eventually. CentOS and Redhat are business and server driven OS's. Not for home and daily computing. If you want to go with Redhat use Fedora and Fedora spins. It's been around for a long time and is solid.

Look I'm a ten year user of GNU/Linux; and these distros I've mentioned are solid, stable, and they have support forums to help. Oh and If a person wants the most solid stable system, doesn't mind learning and spending a little time with, Debian is the most rock solid and stable system on the planet. It is all of that and more. They have the best focused support and documentation on the planet. Or you can go with Debian Live plus nonfree and you will have a Debian system that is ready to go. MY 78 year old mom use Debian Live KDE nonfree and is comfortable with it.

But really go with what fits a person best and the desktop environment that works for you. KDE, Gnome, XFCE, Budgie, and Mate are the best solutions and environments to choose from. Gnome is eye appealing; but is the heaviest of them all and not for older machines. KDE is the King (since 1996). The first, most gorgeous, most eye appealing, most customizable, it is more Windows like per-say, and they do have their own desktop environment--KDE Neon (and no it is not bloated like it was in the past). XFCE and Mate work great on older hardware (light, fast, and not that hard to learn). Stay away from tiling desktop managers like Qtile, Xmonad and those that are obscure. Arch, Gentoo, Slackware, and Linux From Scratch, they are great and awesome distros; but they are way advanced and their text based install methods are not for new users. Oh and one thing I would like to mention. Dell computers work best with GNU/Linux.

Good video though. Thank you

2 weeks ago

Gimp was 2.10.8 as of 08 Nov 2018. Maybe mixing-up with Blender Beta?

2 weeks ago

Speaking of the Linux Timeline . . . Are you going to take the Yggdrasil 10-day challenge? https://archiveos.org/yggdrasil/
(Joking)

2 weeks ago

i got my start in.linux with slackware

3 weeks ago

hey u r slow like me

3 weeks ago

I've been calling Centos as Cent-O-S and never cross my mind pronouncing it as Centos.

3 weeks ago

After trying several distros, I just prefer Debian with a good LXDE desktop. Very fast and energy efficient. Never failed me, never crashed. I love it and I don't need more.

3 weeks ago

I am more for rolling releases and Debian is not really good at it unfortunately, they are working on it and might become interesting when they have figured it out in a stable manner. A great and reliable distro nonetheless for their non-rolling releases but not for me with my beefy server at the moment. The last thing I wanna have is a full version upgrade on my server since it is a 120 Tb raid 51 effectively in total. Arch architecture is far better if not the best if it comes to rolling releases. Vanilla Arch itself being my favorite obviously. I still recommend Manjaro which is fast, reliable and as KISS as it can get for a distribution ultimately aimed at the intermediate to poweruser but still suited for beginners because it has a splendid GUI installer and a rich community which is eager to help. Antergos is also a good idea within the Arch family but is a bleeding edge distro which might drive beginners mad. Very reliable and stable once installed but because the GUI installer is a bit wonky on this distribution it can end up in a fail using the GUI (CLI install recommended). Vanilla Arch is just not suited for noobs as it does not have a GUI installer at all, only CLI sorry. You can of course Pacbang (Openbox as default) a Vanilla Arch into existence as noob which is but a CLI script to make things easier and faster (recommended for people who sell vanilla Arch Linux pre-installed on their hardware systems (the Pacbang watermark can easily be removed) to save time) but that does not bring you far without knowledge of the CLI itself. The learning curve for Manjaro is a bit steeper than with Debian for beginners but you get a very fast and reliable system in any desktop environment you want (or not if you use the net install and choose no DE). The CLI on itself is very powerful if not more powerful than any DE. All Arch architecture will give you access to the AUR (Arch User Repository) which just rocks for compiling from the GIT. KISS all the way if it comes to that subject. If it ain't in the AUR your program does not (yet) exist for native Linux computing, it is as simple as that.

Once an Archer, always an Archer.

PS: I dig Plasma. I know it is not that intuitive like LXDE and takes a lot more resources but it gives me the possibility to make my desktop look like I want without to much fuzz. I run on very beefy computers for all my systems so I do not care that much about resources.

3 weeks ago

Tahrpup,,,,,,I use Windoze, I like Microsft,,, dont listen to this guy...Tahrpup

3 weeks ago

What is "Fedora" best used for?

3 weeks ago

I've been dabbling in Linux for probably about 15 years now. It has finally hit a point where I can comfortably run a Debian based distro full time without missing ANYTHING that Windows has to offer. My wife isn't very tech savvy at all, and I put Mint with Cinnamon on her laptop and she hasn't even once asked me "hey how do I do this, or how do I do this. Her desktop still runs Windows 10 because Guild Wars 2 doesn't seem to run well in WINE, but that is the ONLY hiccup I've found.

4 weeks ago

why isn't there an official linux as in officially from the guy who created the kernel?

4 weeks ago

You should consider doing a series of building a bare bones system using Debian, SuSe, Arch, or RH to make very old H/W with 1G or less RAM useful again or everyday user needs.

Each new Distribution is a customized version of the MAIN FOUR.

A lot of the distributions are bloated with a lot of unnecessary apps that most users will never use.

A series customizing a distro for very old H/w will enlighten & empower newbies to Linux, and discourage distro hopping to find an OS that they like Using the latest H/W with lots of RAM simply won't be as educational as struggling to get productivity out of a Pentium4 using Arch Linux or debian.

1 month ago

Debian with i3wm.

1 month ago

Correction (not another pronunciation error)! Debian is community driven. Ubuntu has corporate backing.

1 month ago

For me, Slackware and Fedora only

1 month ago

Such hostility. Just because you want convenience and dont understand Slackware, doesnt mean its bad. Slackware is NOT for desktop users. Slackware forever!

1 month ago

I think it pays for a user with intermediate experience to distrohop among the major distros to get a sense for how they differ. All Chris' recommended distros are systemd based. Love it or hate it, systemd should be learned. But I think it's worthwhile to also learn other init systems. Void Linux uses an init system called 'runit' that's dead simple, super reliable and fast. Gentoo defaults to another systemd alternative called OpenRC. Neither of those is suitable for a newbie. I'd recommend that a newcomer start with Manjaro.

1 month ago

The enormous amount of Linux distributions out there is unnecessary and overwhelming for new Linux users. The nature of free software and tendency to fork a project when someone wants features others do not agree on or just wants to create their own distribution has resulted in this convoluted mess. There should only be a few distros, with each one targeted at a different type of user (beginner/intermediate/advanced) or purpose (desktop/workstation/server). People should focus their efforts on making the successful distros better rather than creating yet another unnecessary distro (we can make an exception for distros that run on embedded systems or run on different architectures, but most of the unnecessary distros are for x86_64). With that being said these are the most suitable distros for each purpose:
- Debian: a rock solid desktop/workstation OS for intermediate to advanced users. Has an enormous software repository and uses apt-get or aptitude to install software from a repository or dpkg to install a local package
- Ubuntu: desktop/workstation OS for beginners to intermediate users. Newer software versions but less stable than Debian stable (Ubuntu is built using Debian testing as its base). Being Debian based it also uses apt-get, aptitude and dpkg however being a distro targeted towards beginners the Ubuntu software center and synaptic package manager are more "user friendly" tools
- CentOS/RHEL: rock solid OS for servers however the main repository consists of very old software, and while installing software from other repositories will provide newer software versions and software not available in the main repository it may result in a less stable system. Software from a repository is installed using yum (Yellowdog Updater Modified) or local package using rpm
- Arch: a bleeding edge and highly customisable desktop/workstation OS for intermediate to advanced users. Installation, configuration and fixing the system (when it breaks and being bleeding edge it can break when an update is done) is all done through the terminal. Pacman is used to manage package installation

1 month ago

Dennis Mohican Limiting what people can do with Linux is not what I’m getting at. Linux is free open source software and the user is free to change or improve the system any way they want. To suggest otherwise goes against the philosophy of free software.

However adding another distro that is very similar to a bunch of other distros doesn’t really help anyone. For one it creates confusion for new users and decreases the adoption of Linux. I’ve tried many distros over the years and have found very few that are actually good.

Most Linux users want a stable, efficient, highly customisable system that doesn’t spy on them. Windows is a buggy and bloated OS with a heap of privacy issues while macOS runs only on mac and is designed to slow the computer with each update. Both are closed source so the user can neither see what information is being collected and sent out nor can the user/community change things they don’t like that are not part of the software. It’s great to have Linux, however just because someone can create yet another distro doesn’t mean their contribution will benefit the Linux and FOSS community. Creating a new distro as a hobby or experiment is fine if something is to be learnt from it (and learning is always good), but a lot of distros exist because they were forked due to a disagreement on something (or for whatever reason).

In closing I would like to say people should have free will with creating distros and end users using them. However the current state of Linux distros is a mess, and the community would benefit from a more focused and cooperative approach.

1 week ago

@Chunky G - Thank god you're not the boss... While I agreed with picking a distro, and sticking with it for awhile, learning it, I still got plenty of experimentation left in my old arse.. :)

"There should only be a few distros, with each one targeted at a different type of user (beginner/intermediate/advanced) or purpose (desktop/workstation/server). "
Says who? You? lol... And whose gonna decide that? Thankfully, Noone.

That comment is so far off base from reality. And thank god it'll never happen.
Linux. FREE OPEN SOURCE Software. It is what it is. And again thank golly that noone like Bill Gates or even Linus Torvalds is deciding alone what happens to it.
If people need vids like this to help them choose, that's why they are here. I like how many distro's there are, tons of choice, for All by All. Anyone can use it OR make their own. A damn sight better than proprietary OS's.
Dennis Mohican
58 years
ATX

2 weeks ago

Spoke the truth, man. Been using Ubuntu for less than a month and my opinion on open source projects is the same. All this fragmentation really messes up the understanding by newer people and that ends up making it harder for Linux to become more predominant in people's usage.

2 weeks ago

It’s the first time I see a white Indian with blue eyes!! Because such confidence to call this and that crap, junk and trash can only be seen in Indians!! 😂

1 month ago

I used Ubuntu and Debian for quite a long time, and I can assure you that these are the best options for newcomers to Linux. Once you are a "Linux user" you can evaluate which things you don't really like of the OS, which aspect or feature you'd like to try that your Debian/Ubuntu doesn't offer to you, or if you just feel like trying something new. After that you can begin your journey to find a different distribution that better fits your needs. I used Elemenary OS, Linux Mint and Deepin OS (and a few others), but in the end I decided to say goodbye to the Debian based world and now I'm in the Arch realm, Manjaro to be precise, Manjaro Deepin if more precision is needed, and I can say that I'm very happy with it, I always find the packages that I want to install (AUR is a great alternative!), it is lightweight, offers a lot of desktop flavors (I really liked the aesthetic look of Deepin OS, but in the core it was Ubuntu, with its cons and pros, then I ''discovered' Manjaro Deepin), and its package manager is named pacman :D! I kind of feel that with Arch as the core in Manjaro it surely offers much more than that, but this are my first steps into this linux branch and we're still knowing each other, I really hope that Manjaro becomes my new daily-use linux distro.

1 month ago