Monday, July 6, 2009

Which distribution do I download?

GNU/Linux has many different distributions. There are several hundred of them and more are popping up every week. Some Linux distributions come and go very fast but others are here for the long term and have a huge following. Choosing a good distribution of GNU/Linux that fits you well is not an easy task. Initially there is a lot of effort that you have to put into if you really are looking for something compatible. The good news is that most computer users do not mind a general and easy to use GNU/Linux distribution that works well. These individuals should try the most popular distributions such as Ubuntu, Mint Linux, Debian, Open Suse, Fedora, Mandriva and PCLinuxOS. The best way to find out if you should install a particular distribution is to do some research about it. Just use a search engine to search for reviews of the distro that you are interested in. Most of the reviews are in depth and include screenshots. There are a lot of people commenting about different distros so you will have different perspectives about each one. Then, if you are interested in downloading a particular one see if a live CD is available. These are CDs of the operating system that you can load without changing anything on your computer. It will give you a nice preview of what you are about to install. If you are ready to take the plunge then install the GNU/Linux of your choice. You can dual boot which means that you will have two operating systems or just format your computer and use GNU/Linux as your primary OS. Don't forget that Linux is very customizable so that you can pretty much change anything about it. If you don't like something about your distribution you can modify it to your liking.

Some distributions of GNU/Linux are geared towards netbooks, gadgets or powerful computers. If you are running certain hardware try a distro that is compatible with it. A netbook will probably need a lightweight Linux distribution while a powerful desktop computer can utilize the more bloated versions of GNU/Linux. If you want to know which distributions are currently popular or just want a good list of all the available ones then go to distrowatch.com. The website has links to a lot of different flavours of GNU/Linux. Some people usually try out several different Linux distros before they settle on a particular one.

After trying out different distros and doing thorough research you will find out which GNU/Linux is right for you. Sometimes, it is just personal preference which one you will enjoy using the most. The good thing about GNU/Linux is that you have a lot of choice and there is bound to be one distro that fits particularly well for you.

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