A short summary of Linux Distros
Table of Contents
Linux Distributions are separate operating systems(OS) from Mac and Windows and therefore do not support many programs made specifically for those systems. Installing a Linux OS on a computer will possibly erase all data, programs, and other operating systems on that computer if done incorrectly. Please be cautious. Non-invasive trial versions of distros are sometimes available and are a good way to try a system before making any permanent changes to your computer.
Currently the most popular flavor of Linux, Ubuntu is a free, easy-to-use, open-source operating system with all the basic tools you need including web browser, word processor, media player, instant messaging, and more. A large community supports the stability and regular update cycle for Ubuntu making it user friendly. Ubuntu's focus is on usability.
10.04 Lucid Lynx, the most recent long term support (LTS) release of Ubuntu has incorporated social networking directly into the desktop. It's sleek default appearance can be customized to fit personal taste and can even include 3D desktop effects. Some Windows programs can be used in Ubuntu through a driver wrapper program called Wine.
Ubuntu is a great place to start for users new to Linux systems.
Ubuntu Netbook Remix
This is a version of Ubuntu configured specifically for netbooks. It has been optimized for use with the restricted screen size and the netbook hardware. Quick and easy access to your favorite applications makes it a good match for the portable style of netbooks.
"from freedom came elegance"
Linux mint is another free and open-source spin off Ubuntu. Main features of Linux mint are its 'minty' style and the inclusion of multimedia codecs (special files for viewing certain formats of audio/video) that are not automatically added to larger distros such as Ubuntu. note: these codecs are still available for Ubuntu but are not included in the installation files due to licensing restrictions
" freedom | friends | features | first"
Fedora is a free and open-source Linux distro that originated from Red Hat Linux. It's more technical than other distros such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint and therefore is best for individuals with some experience using Linux.
Security is a focus of Fedora making it one of the most secure of the popular Linux distros. Fedora is sometimes seen as a development playground for Red Hat Enterprise and is a good distro for working with in that capacity but is less focused on desktop usability.
"linux for open minds
openSUSE, as the name implies, is a free, simple to use, open-source Linux distro. openSUSE emphasizes usability and availability. It also includes a favored administrative setup and configuration tool called YaST that can be used to easily manage the system.
openSUSE is a great place to start for users new to Linux systems.
"the universal operating system"
Debian is revered as the most stable distro of Linux. Like the others it is free and open-source. Debian focuses on stability and security but because of this has a slow stable release date of about 1-3 years (this simply means that a new 'final' stable version is only released this often.) Debian users who wish to use newer packages can choose to use the Testing or Unstable versions of Debian that may be more buggy than the well tested stable releases.
Debian offers many (over 20,000) packages and has been build for compatibility with many processor architectures.
There are many other versions and spin offs of Linux systems; some are simply a popular distro configured a certain way while others are rebuilt from basic Linux systems.