Choice and flexibility are the hallmarks of the Linux ecosystem. In Windows and OS X, if you don’t like some aspects of the operating system, there’s not much you can do about it.
Not so in the Linux world, where thanks to the numerous distributions you are in fact spoilt for choice. Each distro has the Linux kernel at its core, but builds on top of that with their own selection of other components, depending on the target audience for the distro.
Different distros offer different customisation options, so you can fiddle around with the distro and customise it as per your taste and preferences until you get the kind of thing you’re looking for. So no matter what sort of user you are, there’s a distro for you.
In this feature we’re focusing primarily on the desktop. Some desktop distros aim to keep things as simple as possible, while others give you more control. They have different installation routines, different desktop environments, different package management schemes and different administration tools.
We’ll look at regular distros that you can use for every day computing tasks, as well as those designed to appeal to users coming from other operating systems, such as Windows and Mac OS X. We’ll also look at distros that can turn an old clunker into a streamlined computing machine and ones that give advanced users complete control over their working environment. Read the rest of this entry »