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Choosing Linux Distrubitions – Tools to help you April 10, 2007

Posted by amazingrando in Windows-Linux Transition.
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Join the revolution! (art thanks to “7 Bits of Truth”)
Join the revolution! (art thanks to “7 Bits of Truth”)

For people like me who are making their first foray into the Linux world, the choices of Linux flavors can be staggering. Each flavor, or distribution (distro for short), has its own unique characteristics. Some, like Gentoo are build-as-you-go systems that give power users lots of options and speed. Others, like PCLinuxOS are geared towards people new to the Linux world. There are gazillions of them, as you can see at distrowatch.com. So how do you choose one over the other? I’ve found three good tools to help you choose.

1. Linux Distribution Chooser

The Linux Distribution Chooser at zegeniestudios.net is a great way to get started. It will ask you a series of questions, even in your native language, about what your needs are. Then it will give you detailed recommendations and alternatives.

2. Distro Comparison at polishlinux.org

After you’ve narrowed your choices, you can use this website to compare two distros side-by-side and compare everything from installation to wireless support. Very handy.

3. Live CD’s – Give it a try before you install

Many of the top distros have a “Live CD” that you can download. This is a full version of the operating system that runs off a CD. You just download, burn it, and reboot. It’s a very good way to try out the distro without having to install it. You can find a great list of them at FrozenTech’s LiveCD List. Many Live CD’s can also be used to install the OS. So, if you like it you can just take the next step and install right from the CD.

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