Pin Me

Different Types of Linux - Selecting a Distribution

written by: Om Thoke•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 12/11/2009

What are the different types of Linux distro: Common ones include Ubuntu, Red Hat, Knoppix, Suse, etc. But presently there are roughly 220 global distributions of Linux available. Let's take a closer look.

  • slide 1 of 5

    Selecting Your Flavor: Considering the Available Distributions

    There are several factors that affect the choice of flavor of Linux you choose. However, let us first consider what you’ll be using it for. If it's a home desktop or office type workstation, it is most favorable to consider Mandriva, SUSE, Linspire, MEPIS, Xandros, Core, and Ubuntu.

    If you are using a small to medium business server, then you can try Debian, CentOS, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Fedora Core, Turbo Linux, Vine Linux, LASER5 Linux, Kondara MNU/Linux, or RedHat Enterprise Linux. These statistical distributions can host online pages and databases for an intranet, handle e-mail, and operate and manage a network and printers. The most popular distribution today for businesses is, of course, Debian GNU/Linux.

    If you have a few older PCs, you could change them into thin Linux platforms where they can be utilized for a router or firewall. Slackware happens to be the oldest distribution of Linux, while Plamo Linux based on Slackware requires a considerable level of knowledge for operation.

  • slide 2 of 5

    What are the Differences?

    Now, to answer the million dollar question: how to select the best distribution among all these different kinds of Linux? Comfortably, it is mainly a matter of your own choice in the end, though there are several considerations involved.

    Mostly the Linux operating systems and their controls are similar -- the difference of opinion between all of these dissimilar types lies in the ease of use and supplementary tools and scripts that make the process of set up easier.

    The primary deployments of Linux supported are RedHat, Debian, Mandriva, Slackware, and Fedora. Mostly the dissimilarities between the Linux flavors arise when different distributions are placed on the same network at the same time.

  • slide 3 of 5

    When is Full Deployment Preferred?

    Because of this reason, whenever you would like to have a full deployment over a large network of systems, it's better to use just one of these Linux distributions for the total network because there could be differences between systems running various variants in terms of hardware recognition and utilization, and network security, also.

  • slide 4 of 5

    The Most Popular Flavors of Linux

    CentOS: A very popular flavor Linux is CentOS. It's very easy to use, and the server can be set up by booting a CD and using the easy-to-follow instructions. It manages all of the hardware drivers that are needed to execute business programs.

    RedHat: Most of the folks who started using Linux began with RedHat few years ago and moved to another distribution (such as Fedora) when RedHat went commercial. CentOS is quite similar to RedHat as everything in the operating system is essentially in the identical place on the computer.

    Fedora: Many Linux users started with Fedora initially, but there were installation issues while booting from disk initially, which distracted many users from continuing with it. Some of them abandoned it, but today there are no apparent faults in Fedora.

    Ubuntu: Ubuntu, another hot choice, is Debian-based Linux. If a lot of open source practical applications that you’re going to use are built for Ubuntu, you can expect most of the problems that other distributions have to be solved- for these applications.

  • slide 5 of 5

    In a Nutshell

    The distribution you prefer should work smoothly and effortlessly on your computer after the installation. With Linux, another good thing is the sheer fact that computer memory leakages are rare and you don't have to restart your computer every time you turn around.

    Need to know more? You can look at user reviews of various flavors of Linux here.