Which distro is apt for me? This is the question which most of the Linux amateurs ask on forums. The answer to this question is not so straightforward since the its a subjective question. One may find a particular linux distro easy to use while other user may find the same distro tough to negotiate with. Here, I will answer this question from my personal experience & also from the outputs I have received from the Open Source community.
According to official website, “Ubuntu is a community developed Linux-based operating system that is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers. It contains all the applications you need – a web browser, presentation, document and spreadsheet software, instant messaging and much more.” I agree with this statement partially. Ubuntu is a debian based distro perfect for users who are trying out linux for the very first time. It is available in three variants i.e. Ubuntu(GNOME), Kubuntu(KDE) & Xubuntu(XFCE). It is simple to navigate around & perform the tasks which you wish to. A lot of sites on the Internet are focussed to providing news, guides, tweaks for Ubuntu. If you ever get into problems you are sure to get the solution quick as ubuntu enjoys a good forum support. Even paid support is available for Ubuntu via Canonical Ltd.
Linux Mint is a distro based on Ubuntu. It is similar to Ubuntu but a spiced up version one can say. By default Ubuntu does not comes with codecs to play proprietary formats. Linux Mint on the other hand includes those codecs so that you can play the proprietary formats out of the box. This is boon if the computer you have doesn’t have an active Internet connection. Apart from this, Linux Mint comes with some beautiful artwork which is very easy on eye. Most of the users will feel right at home using Linux Mint since it is so closely based around Ubuntu. If you run into problems Linux Mint has forums & wiki to help you out. Since it is based on Ubuntu, you can even refer to Ubuntu resources to get solutions. Like Ubuntu, Linux Mint too offers commercial support wherein your queries are answered by none other than the Linux Mint developers.
Sabayon Linux is a linux distro based on Gentoo. The distro is good for those amateurs without internet connection. It is simple to use & can play most of the proprietary formats out of the box. It comes with a lot of software so you need not go hunting around. The aesthetic appeal is good & the distro is well tailored. Support is available in the form of forums, wiki & even an web chat. Sabayon Linux is a good distro to try out. I think you will love it if you need more control than what Ubuntu & Linux Mint offers.
OpenSUSE is another good distro which I would suggest for a beginner. The distro oozes freshness throughout. The green colour makes the person using it feel relaxed & instills enthusiasm. Based on KDE desktop environment, it comes with good amount of softwares to get you with most of the tasks but still requires Internet connection to download extra software packages. Help is available in the form of wiki & forum.
Fedora has been around for a while & has developed a cult status. It showcases the latest & greatest from the Open Souce community. Most of the softwares bundled in Fedora are uptodate than most of distros out there but at the same time the distro is the most secure one out there. SELinux provides strong security & that is the reason why Fedora manages to impress the paranoids. Though not exactly user friendly but day by day it is coming close to being simple to use distro. Help is available in the form of a large community consisting of forum, wiki & mailing list. If you need to experience the best of the Open Source Community & have patience to tackle a steep learning curve then Fedora is for you.
The above are five of my favourite linux distributions. If you still are not able to decide as to which distro you should choose take the following online online test which will suggest a linux distro based on your inputs.
Once you’re done with choosing a distro you can safely try it out by simply booting it via live media. Most distros(not all) have a live CD/DVD which allow you to try it without installing it on your computer. Live CD/DVD have other benefits too which I’ll cover in a separate dedicated article in future. Stay tuned.