I've been using UNIX and its derivatives for more than 20 years. Here's my take on the various Linux Distros (distributions):
At their core, most of them are nearly identical. Some notable differences exist in system administration however the applications all pretty much work the same. When I recently opened a new commercial IT center, we had to choose from the available Linuxes.
We downloaded versions from most of the major players including Gentoo, Fedora, and Ubuntu. We weighted the various factors and finally decided on Fedora Core 5, or FC5 as it's known. Here's why:
- Very large user community
- Great availability of RPM's
- Very good installation experience
- Derived by a very successful commercial version
This isn't to say that any of the others weren't worthy or as good. It's just that after weighing all the suport factors, risks, etc., as they apply to a revenue generating application, FC5 seemed like the best bet.
My favorite, however, isn't Linux but Solaris. Those of you that know me will probably call foul since I worked at Sun for 18 years as a systems engineer. True. Solaris isn't Linux but an actual UNIX. It has a lineage in the big back-end datacenters of the world, and is the core OS behind such websites as eBay. It is a true industrial strength OS. It's also open-source and free to download. Virtually all Linux applications run on Solaris.
Solaris is a big loser, however, when it comes to the installation experience. Installing Solaris is often frustrating, time consuming, and generally over-the-top. Many first time users will simply give up on it. It also has some device driver shortcomings as it does not recognize as many drivers as your typical Linux distro. Some systems administration commands can be frustrating as well, and you'll soon memorize the URL to Sun's documentation site ( http://docs.sun.com ). The good news is that you can get a good hit on Google for just about any question, and, Sun's BigAdmin website is 'da bomb' when it comes to technical advice.
All of QRZ has been running on Solaris since 1995.
Installing Fedora, or just about any of the big Linuxes, is by comparision, a dream. Fast, friendly, and "johnny-on-the-spot" with support for most standard devices.
So in conclusion, if you want the most advanced OS, get Solaris. If you want something that is probably 90% as advanced (more in some areas like installation and device support), choose Linux.
Which Linux Then? I recommend surfing around until you find the one that has the largest user community, the most blogs, and the largest repository of ready-made software packages (i.e. RPM's).
Fred Lloyd worked at Sun from January 1988 until August 2006 when he was caught in a layoff that affected 5000 employees. In retrospect, he firmly believes that this was a good thing.
I'm pretty new at it but I am impressed with the fact that there is seemingly a version for whatever needs you have. I needed an easy way to start and Freespire is pretty good so far. My kids use a crappy old Pentium II so they needed a smaller version and PuppyLinux works perfectly for them. I'm also happy with being able to run them off a CD so you can test them before you install them.
As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool returns to his folly.
I got my intro to Linux via one of the live ditros, Harv's Hamshack Hack. I tried to install it on an old box I have and never was able to get that to work for me, but that led me to Freespire, which I have on two systems now. I'm planning to replace the one with Ubuntu to give that a try in the near future, and I'd like to take a look at the PuppyLinux and see if there would be any value to setting that up for my 5 year old.
We've been smeckledorfed!
Check the Avatar.
Arch Linux is bascially Slackware on steroids with a great package management system called pacman. It IS NOT a newby distro. I'm dual booting Arch with Mepis Linux. Great installer, .deb package managemnent, HUGE software repository available and no PITA when it comes to Java, Flash, etc....
I have run just about every mainline Linux distro at one time or the other since 1995 and RH 5.0 and even did Linux from Scratch. You really want to learn Linux and are comfortable with the CLI give LFS a try.
I have tried Solaris on the desktop. It didn't last long. GREAT server, terrible desktop. My server runs FreeBSD.
CW is a manually controlled, message asynchronous, simplex chat mode used without FEC.
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." -- Thomas Jefferson
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I wish I could say that I had a favorite version of Linux, but I am too spoiled by SCO UNIX to use anything else.
de Scott NØIU
Why do you have to 'put your two cents in'... but it's only a 'penny for your thoughts'?
Where's that extra penny going to?
I've been using SuSE for years, starting with 6.4, then 8.2, and now 10.2. Only bad thing is that they've dropped a lot of the ham software in the latest distros, so you have to go hunting for that on the Web.
I use Fedora 6 right now. I love it. Everything works that I need to and I pretty much stick with it because I started with Redhat 7.3. I have used Solaris but didn't really care for it. FreeBSD worked alright. My webserver is running FC 5 and Cpanel, works fine.
which linux? FreeBSD, of course.
(Unix system developer since 1975.)
I run FC4 on my server, but I dual boot Ubuntu and Windows (games) on my main box. I have not tried the latest FC, but I got a DVD image, so I may throw it on an old 40GB hard drive I have laying around.
Edit: As for my favorite, it all has to do with what I'm using it for. I've been around linux since RH 5.0, and I love distros that make it easy to switch to a console.
73 de AD5UT
linux is great because you can choose the right tool for the right job. at home and at my current daytime gig fedora core is the answer. fedora/redhat have become the microsoft of the linux world--so many third party software providers support this platform that it's hard to ignore ... ease of use (from the professional point of view) is a big win.
years ago i was a bsdi customer ... haven't looked at freebsd in a while.
but for my desktop? macos x. it's lovely how it just works.