Before Windows advocates jump, I clarify, this post is not intended to be pro-Linux or anti-Windows, or anything like it, it's just a brief overview of various Linux distros, without invidious comparisons or assault.
One of the most common complaints of users or prospective users of Linux is that there are too many distros (distributions) or editions to choose from, and only unconditional nerd can differentiate the subtle differences between them.
Well, this is true, at least in part, but you could probably get lost among the titles, versions, and technical features ... then ...
Welcome to what is intended as a guide only simple, no other order as the popularity of each distro, with absolute impartiality ...
Oh ... I forgot, in each descriptive paragraph, the title of each distro is a link to the pages of each, in case you want more or download some ...
If we call this a market although distros are free, then we can say that at popularity, Ubuntu is the market leader.
Ubuntu is a free version of a commercial system is genuinely free, sponsored by a South African billionaire enterprise, owned by Mark Shuttleworth.
We can also say that it works! It's simple, fast and clean, and comes in a single DVD that contains everything you may need.
One complication with Ubuntu is the amount of clones or remixes that have been made and are being made based on it. Most differs only to a "desktop" (or user interface ...) different from that which has by default, which is the Gnome, such as Kubuntu, with KDE desktop, or the Xubuntu, with Xfce, or one of the newest, the Lubuntu, with a very light desktop Lxde, and some others…
If you are looking for the best online support, provided by many users, and much on software developed by third parties, choose the Ubuntu distro original.
This is the free version of Red Hat Enterprise business. Since 2003, Red Hat became commercial, his version Red Hat Enterprise Linux, having a workstation version and another version server, and is a perfectly stable and functional product, which has updates only every couple of years.
In that aspect, Fedora is the opposite, with two releases per year, at least, each incorporating the latest and newest technology available, and free. No support, outside the community of users, web forums, email lists, IRC and so on.
It is bright, beautiful and can be not so difficult to use their you work with the retail version of Red Hat at work, but not the best option if you normally work with Windows, its format differences and utilization.
If you work with Red Hat in your office and want to try something new in your home, you can try CentOS, created entirely new distro based on public source code of RHEL, it looks the same, works well and costs nothing, and is stable!
The only remix of Ubuntu that has been edited quite deeply. This is basically the last Ubuntu after a minor cosmetic operation, with much media, web plugins and codecs.
The Mint desktop is a bit less controversial for frequent users of Windows and has slightly a "flavor" family, as the arrangement of the windows, and the handling of formats like MP3, Flash and Java. Worth considering, but do not wait for the time to find software developed by third parties amount to this re-version of Ubuntu.
OpenSUSE– Free! To download from the web, but must pay if you want it with DVD box, technical support and manuals.
It is a free version of Novell corporate product. Already in 1990, SuSE was the quintessential European distro with many of the best management tools, but this could not be maintained over time.
The attempt to catch up only made the current content reaches fill a DVD, with many components to CHOOSE, but has one of the best porgramas content management, software and hardware that are known, the YaST, which makes eligible if you have problems with other distros hardware recognition.
Mandriva– Free! To download from the web, but must pay if you want it with DVD box, technical support and included commercial apps.
Mandriva started very well, but lately his star is beginning to dim. Inside, we could say that wearing a Red Hat desktop environment or polished and friendly, with good management tools, but has ceased to be as compatible as its predecessor.
I can suggest that you try size=12]PCLinuxOS instead, if you want to know what it is, is based on the same core, but completely free, lighter, more popular, but not without much support as Ubuntu.
Debian is the father, the basic soul of Ubuntu, Mepis and others. Is intentionally restricted to the use of open-source components, so it is harder to make proprietary code, such as graphics cards or drivers wireless drivers work correctly, as the official versions of Java or Flash.
Excellent for servers, if you have some experience with it, but not the OS that I would choose for a desktop.
The best of the rest
There are dozens of other distributions out there, but most of them are not very friendly unless you are an expert in the subject or the need for a specific function.
For example, if you need to run an old PC, with poor technical specifications, Damn
Small Linuxand Puppy Linux are both good candidates. Both are handled well with a Pentium II or Pentium III and might even venture to say you could get by on a 486 ...
Knoppix is a live CD - that is, a complete Linux OS designed to boot and run from a CD without prior installation. Ubuntu and other distros are following this path today, offering live CDs but the environments are limited and are designed only to verify that it will operate on PCs on which the run before installing.
Knoppix was designed as described above to be used as a tool for recovering data from damaged equipment, or any virus infection, or to diagnose problems, check internet connections and such aspects.
Mepis Debian is a remix, with a very good support multimedia oriented, has very devoted fans, but not much to set starting beyond the original installation.
Gentoo is the software equivalent (... if I may say ...) to a liquid cooling system for an overclocked PC, that is, to install, each component must be recompiled for your PC exclusively, with optimizations correct. In other words, it takes a long time, and you should know exactly what you are doing and in the end, have a somewhat fast, but boring. Not the best option unless you will have fun to experiment with it for sport.
Sabayon is a version of liveCD more polished and presented perfectly. If you want to take a look, you´ll be amazed.
On the same way, Arch Linux is the dream of every tweaker, targeting Linux experts who want groping his taste, such as Slackware, the oldest of the distros that have survived to this day, which has a facility, a packaging and very conservative management tools.
If I may speak of non-Linux Open Source, we must acknowledge to FreeBSD, the best, most used and most developed within that segment, and part of that OS is part of the foundation of Mac OS-X. Do not expect the sophistication then added Apple, FreeBSD is old school, loved and hated by Unix users. If you are interested to try it, but not complicate your life, try to PC-BSD, an easy to install version that is closer to the level of cleanliness for an inexperienced user of Linux.
I hope I have clarified some doubts, others have served to decide to migrate or at least interact with Windows, as if to say tomorrow: "I tried it at least once Linux ...", or to hear opinions who disagree with what I just wrote, but always in mutual respect.
Sources of Information
The post is made up of the author's original content, or is a compliation of material from various places.