Looking for the best Linux distribution? If you start searching online, you're sure to come across the debates that rage over new Linux distributions. Linux users are known for their passion, but that can make it tough for newcomers to figure out what to choose.
What Is a Linux Distribution?
Linux as an operating system isn't like Windows or Mac OS, where a single company develops one operating system at a time. Linux is an open source kernel that any developer can use to build an operating system. Different developers create different types of operating systems on the Linux kernel; these different operating systems are called distributions. They all share the same Linux software shell, which tells a computer's CPU when and how to process information. Different distributions offer different features and ways of tapping the power of Linux.
Selecting the best Linux distribution isn't an objective process. You have to think about your needs and how you want to use Linux. Are you looking for a version of Linux to replace Windows? Are you a beginner and want something easy to understand? Running a server and need more tools and comprehensive control? No matter what you want to do, someone's written a Linux distribution to help you do it.
Can a Review Help Find the Best Linux Distribution?
If you're looking at a new or unfamiliar Linux distribution, user reviews can offer valuable insight once you get past the evangelism. In some cases, you'll need to read between the lines; reviews offer a real-world summary of performance, but don't expect them to always apply to your situation.
As you're reading reviews, try to find out how the reviewer is using a particular Linux distribution. Reviews of Linux server software won't help you if you need a home version. Pay attention, too, to the number of positive and negative reviews. If you see a single negative among a flood of positives, it could simply be a disgruntled user or a hardware problem. If you see a lot of negative reviews, it's generally a sign of a flawed release and clearly not the best Linux distribution.
Note the details that reviewers provide. With so many versions of Linux available, you're likely to find reviews written by people who have the same needs as you and, perhaps, the same computer hardware. If you see that users are having problems on your hardware, you'll know to avoid that particular version of Linux.
Best Linux Distribution for Windows Users
Switching from Windows and want something that somewhat resembles the operating system you know? Former Windows users who want a leg up on understanding their new operating system have two solid choices: Freespire and Linspire. Freespire is a free version of the Linspire operating system. Freespire has all the basic features of Linspire. The paid Linspire includes customer support, which is a must for many new Linux users. You can also try Linux Mint, which has a strong user community and a graphical interface that isn't too hard to learn.
Best Linux Distribution for Beginners
Ubuntu is recognized as one of the simplest Linux distributions for beginners. It has the basic functionality of a more advanced Linux operating system, combined with an easy-to-navigate graphical interface. The Ubuntu community also offers great support for new users with questions about Linux, so it's the perfect choice for a Linux beginner.
Linux Distributions for Servers
Red Hat Enterprise Edition is one of the best distributions for servers. Red Hat Enterprise offers long support cycles, which means you won't lose support for your current version as early as you would with some other Linux distributions. It also offers some of the best security in Enterprise editions.
What is Ubuntu? This Linux-based open source operating system is emerging as a rival to Microsoft and Mac, largely because it is free.
To run Windows programs on Linux, you need a few tools or the right piece of software. If you'd prefer not to use either Windows or Linux programs exclusively, you do have alternatives.
The advantages of Linux are many, in spite of what Microsoft would have you think. Linux allows computer users more control over their machines and offers more flexibility than other operating systems.