Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/191207/10-of-the-most-popular-linux-distributions-compared/
Linux isn’t a complete operating system — it’s just a kernel. Linux distributions take the Linux kernel and combine it with other free software to create complete packages. There are many different Linux distributions out there.
For someone that is used to Windows I recommend Mint Mate. That distro comes closest to the touch and feel of Windows. It is easy to operate and has a lot of nifty features. Here is an example how it looks - this is a version that I run from a USB flash drive.
Here are some tutorials that will help you to set it up.
I have been using Arch and Manjaro, which is based on Arch. Manjaro provides a GUI installation while Arch does not. I prefer the KISS philosophy keeping the OS out of my way so I can create exactly what I want on my system. The installation (Arch) is a minimalistic install which can then be built to and tailored to each user's desires.
For linux beginners I would stick with Ubuntu, Mint or Zorin. Of course this is only my opinion.
This is old, new popular distros are:
elementrary OS ubuntu wit h pantheon
Steam OS, debian gaming distro
Solyd a rolling release debian distro
Chakra only KDE and Qt arch
KAOS only KDE only 64 bit arch
Manjaro the new Ubuntu for arch EASY and fast
Antergos pure arch made easy
KX Studio Ubuntu KDE multimedia distro that will switch to debian
Ubuntu Studio XFCE multimedia distro
Sabayon, precompliled Gentoo made easy
Of course Ubuntu and derivates has 50% of the users more or less, but bleeding edge users try a lot of distros, keeping /home or even /data in differente partitions and letting 2 20 to 30 Gb / (root) partitions to have one experimental and other stable GNU/linux OSs and not the described at this article in general - at least what you read in reddit or G+ linux communities or watch at the Linux Action Show -
Comparing Linux distros is difficult and often comes down to personal taste. I think Linux Mint and PCLinux are arguably the easiest for newbies to Linux.
Be warned that Linux Mint has a problem called inability to upgrade system release. That's by design. Therefore, although Mint is polished Ubuntu and I like it for that, it's not an option.
What comes to the others, Debian is not an option due to oldish packages and overall lack of packages.
Fedora, CentOS and the like are too difficult to use and have very old packages (CentOS at least, haven't used COS for ages). That's why Wikipedia switched from Fedora to Ubuntu. Although Fedora and the like seem to have (one of the) biggest count of packages, hard-to-administer outweights that.
I tried Zorin and went back to TinyCore. It would be nice if HTG would cover TinyCore.
The openSUSE information is outdated. Novell was bought by Attachmate in 2011 who immediately split Novell and SUSE and sent SUSE back to Germany (where it started from).
There is no mention that openSUSE's default desktop is KDE, which it is a major contributor of and, like Fedora, the distribution offers a complete DVD to install from. This allows you to install any desktop and most applications right from the beginning and additional repositories can provide other software not in the default repositories.
It seems elementary is a little more than that, but your description is on the right track. http://elementaryos.org/journal/5-myths-about-elementary
Gentoo's focus on compiling packages from source is not unnecessary. To say so means you've completely missed the point. Source-based systems allow for all software to be optimized for the hardware it's running on. It would be nice if more distros used a package management system like Portage. The real problem with Gentoo is that some of the packages in the repo are bleeding edge while others are a couple versions behind, which leads to a fairly high amount of breakage. If the developers could get their act together in that regard I'd be highly tempted to switch back to it from Arch.
I agree. Zorin is easy to install and easy to use. But it is quite buggy and does not have a lot of functions. But for a Linux novice it is a good entry point to play around with and make the first steps..
I recently installed Puppy on an old XP ACER notebook my wife has. We used this machine mainly for travel to look up local restaurants and get our emails over the web. Puppy does this very well and was almost impossible to screw up the installation. It found all the drivers and configured itself with almost no imput from me.
For the not-too-technically inclined, I believe this may be the easiest to install, and comfortable since it boots off a memory stick so the old, familiar original OS is still there.
I took it one more step and installed it to the hard drive to dual boot. The installation was a snap. Configuring the dual boot for a marginally-geeky person like me was a learning experience, but there were good instructions on the web.
Now I don't care if I forget to take the memory stick with me.
whs, I choose TinyCore because I have some old boxes with less then a gig of ram. I read a little on Zorin and gave it a try. It has a nice interface and an easy install. But, you are correct it is buggy. I finally went back to TinyCore. Ubuntu just won't work on my older boxes, but TC does, and I can add the apps etc that I need to make the dedicated (kind of dedicated) system I need.
DanFlak, in the TinyCore forum there are a number of enthusiasts who have switched from Puppy to TinyCore. TC also boots off a memory stick, a CD, or of course a harddrive. It is not difficult to install. In any case, what I have heard about Puppy makes me think they are very much alike. I guess, in the near future I will put Puppy on one of the boxes and see how it compares.
I'm curious: Does SteamOS have command line support and support for a GUI other than the Steam launcher?
Basially, if I put SteamOS on a system, can I use it as a general purpose computer that also plays Steam games, or is that a bad idea?
Less than a GIG of RAM should not be too much of a problem though. I run most of my Linux distros in virtual with 1 gig of RAM allocation. Only when I run it from the USB flash drive I use all the RAM. Then I noticed that Mint Mate can use up to 2.6 GIG of RAM. That is a really fast option. Here is how.
whs, thank you for the tip and the document. I saved the PDF for future reference. I carry a bootable TinyCore in my pocket on a 32gig stick. No doubt, I will now find myself with Mint on a Stick. I like that, "Mint-on-a-Stick".
I have installed elementary 64 bit OS. Have tweaked it and installed software that I like to use. Most installed from terminal, a few were compiled from source. It is pretty nice, snappy too. Boots a tad faster than Arch and Manjaro on my SSD. However the overall performance of the OS is on par with Arch and Manjaro. No noticeable differences either faster or slower on opening apps or during use of apps.
Overall I would use this before ubuntu or mint. I know all about ubuntu and mint as I have used them both for over 7 years. This is just my preference after evaluation. Please don't get offended and feel the need to defend Mint or Ubuntu. If you like them then continue to use them.
Robert, I think it is like with everything else. You like what you are used to and what you feel comfortable with. I agree, there is really no need to argue one distro against another distro - although some are more difficult to use (e.g. Fedora) and some are not yet mature (e.g. Zorin).
Give it up--->
The best of the best, everything in place for n00bs (super-easy software installer), plus terminal for others..
Clean, bright, works,
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