There are dozens of operating systems based on the Linux kernel called “Linux distributions”. Some, very specialized, are optimized for a particular hardware, while others are designed to be used by a particular audience, such as children.
Here’s a quick roundup of some of the most popular Linux distributions.
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Founded in 1993, Debian is one of the oldest active distros. The project is supported by a thousand developers (the majority of whom are volunteers), headed by a “Debian Project Leader”, elected for one year.
Each new Debian release is named after Toy Story characters. The stability of this distribution makes it a preferred choice among professionals.
Debian’s stability has earned it a large number of derivative distributions. By default, all software is open source. The installation of “non-free” software or drivers is always possible but a bit complicated, which can put off beginners.
Of all the mainstream Linux distributions, Ubuntu is the best known. Supported by Canonical, this “distro” launched in 2004 is based on Debian.
Ubuntu represents an ideal entry point for beginners under Linux, as everything is made as simple as possible.
Again, there are many derivative distributions that offer other experiences, such as Kubuntu or Lubuntu.
Also very popular, Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu. Created in 2006 by a Frenchman (Clément Lefèbvre), it is maintained by the latter, helped by a small team of volunteers.
Linux Mint relies on a strong community of users, especially on its official discussion forum (in French!) The documentation, translated into several languages, is taken very seriously: it is intended to be accessible to as many people as possible.
Thanks to the support of its community and of Red Hat, Fedora benefits from a very short development cycle. This distribution is oriented towards the most recent developments of the GNU/Linux world.
Fedora offers several versions dedicated to various uses: productivity, development… All its versions, easy to learn, highlight the latest advances in Linux.
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Like Red Hat, SUSE is a company whose name is part of the history of Linux distributions. OpenSUSE is a distribution for community development, and serves as the basis for the development of “SUSE Linux Enterprise Server”, a distribution oriented towards professionals.
The latest version of the community distribution has been renamed OpenSUSE Leap. The project is supported by a community of developers around the world, and is led by a small committee of elected people, some from the community, others being employees of the SUSE company.
The wiki is translated into French, but the distribution seems shunned by the French, whose community is small.
Bored with macOS? Want to discover Linux without really knowing where to start? ElementaryOS is there to guarantee you the smoothest possible transition: based on Ubuntu, this Linux distribution uses “Pantheon”, a desktop environment whose look is largely borrowed from Apple.
The first version, called Jupiter, was put online in 2011 by the American Daniel Foré who wanted to improve the overall aesthetics of Linux, by imposing consistency between the software and limiting the use of the terminal.
Some will indeed say that the major asset of Elementary OS is its software suite, which is perfectly adapted to Pantheon and gives it an astonishing simplicity. Minimalist, this light and stable distribution will delight users allergic to command lines: the terminal is replaced by very good graphical utilities.
Parity obliges, here is now the distribution which will be addressed to the followers of Windows.
Based on Ubuntu LTS, Windowsfx 10 tries to take advantage of the full Windows 10 user experience, with the goal of reducing the learning curve to a minimum. Using a base of Linux Mint and a Cinnamon environment, this distro indeed perfectly imitates the behavior of Windows, so as not to destabilize beginners.
Users have a large number of installations integrated into the system like the LibreOffice office suite that comes with a Microsoft Office theme, just like at home! The distribution also has by default an internet browser, communication and multimedia software…
With Wine, it’s possible to run Office 365, Photoshop and other productivity software with ease, and even run .exes.
If you are a fan of Windows but Linux appeals to you, Windowsfx 10 is for you!
And you, which Linux distribution do you prefer?
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