Once you decide to try Linux the next question arises “Which Linux should I use? There are just so many of them. :( “ Well! I agree. Indeed there are a lot of Linux distributions (distro in short) available. People often ask “Which one is the best?” This is very difficult to answer. I believe the question should be “Which one is best for me?” In this article I'll try to answer this question and discuss some of the popular Linux distros
Debian : Debian is the parent Linux of Ubuntu and DSL and many other popular Linux distros. It has a good community support and uses .deb installation packages. But the biggest drawback is that stable releases are out only once in 1 to 3 years. Beginners can try.
DSL : DSL or Damn Small Linux is a distro which indeed lives upto its name. Its only a 50MB distro with fully loaded GUI. You can even install it in a pendrive and boot in any computer with it. Its very suitable for old PCs having very small hard disk space or very less ram size. Not recommended for beginners.
Fedora : Fedora is the community Linux of Red Hat with GNOME default. If you want everything to be latest in your distro then Fedora is a good choice. Also it has a very active community. Another thing worth mentioning is Fedora's 'spins'. These spins are modified versions of Fedora. They are modified by various Special Interest Groups enhancing some ability of Fedora. Like, there is a Gaming spin available which enhances your gaming experiance. Since everythng is latest, you may have to compromise with stability. But trust me its a very small price and if you have used any Linux before and wanna change than you should give a try to fedora. And yes, it look great. Recommended for user who have already used a linux before, begginers may try.
Mandriva : Mandriva, formerly known as Mandrake, is a great distro providing very beautiful looks. Three versions are available of this distro namely free, one and powerpack. Free is bundled with completely free software i.e. it does not contain any proprietry stuff. This means that you have to insatll most of the codecs on your own. It s suitable for freeware freaks. One is fully loaded with all softwares and is ideal for use. Its default is KDE. Powerpack is paid version of Mandriva. It comes with Professional support and is fully loaded. It uses rpm based installation packages and urpmi is the default package manager. You may expeience occasional crashes but nothing beyond repair. Recommended for user who have already used a linux before, begginers may try for fun.
Mint : Mint is perhaps the most easy to use Linux. It is built on the strong foundation of Ubuntu only. It has its own repositories but it also support Ubuntu's repositories. Mint also has a esy to customise desktop utility. And if you are a bit creative then this is the right place to show it as mint developers always welcome new ideas more than any other Linux. Recommended for beginners.
Puppy : This linux is so small that you can carry it in old 128MB pen drives and use it seamlessly. Its completely GUI based. It has an internet browser, a texteditor, amedia player n lots of other stuff. Whats more, it can save your settings and files and write it back on multisession cds or pendrives. So you dont need to set the environment every time you boot from a pendrive. This is an ideal linux for older PCs having less RAM or hard disk. Packages are hard to find. Not recommended for beginners.
Red Hat : Red Hat is the leader in Linux world. It broke the myth that open source cannot earn money. This is the parent Linux of many other distros like Fedora, Mandriva, CentOS etc. Since Red Hat bills its users, therefore its generally not used for desktops, but used in servers and other workstations where stability is very critical. Support is also very nice but paid. Not recommended for beginners.
Slackware : This Linux is for the people who already know the basics of Linux. It provides highest customisibility possible. You can choose from a range of packages to be installed but be careful as you should know that which packages are critical for smooth system working. Its an excellent Linux for the people who want to know the innards of a Linux. Not recommended for beginners.
Slax : Its a slackware based Linux. Blessed with good looks n stability it uses KDE and is unbelievingly small in size, only 190MB. It can be installed on a cd or a pendrive and is good to carry anywhere. The only problem is that it is hard to install on harddisk as it doesnt have an installer with it. Not recommended for beginners.
Suse/OpenSuse : It is a Linux supported by Novell. It is a beautiful distro providing high user friendliness. It also simplifies the developing and packaging methodologies making it a Linux of choice for developers. The package manager YaST is very powerful. Although the opensuse repositories are not enough but they do have a lot of third party repositories including popular packman repository. The community position is also strong. Beginners may try.
UBUNTU : Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distro available. Much of the credit for making Linux so popular goes to this distro. It has a huge community, perhaps the largest. Forum support is also awesome. But what made this distro really popular is its free cd shipments. Yes! You can request UBUNTU cd free of cost and ofcourse downloading the distro is always an option if you are too eager to try. Ubuntu is available with GNOME, KDE, XFCE desktop environment with aliases Ubuntu, KUBUNTU, XUBUNTU. GNOME being their default. It is highly stable but looks are simplistic and not that appealing like that of Mandriva or Fedora. It has a huge repository with synaptic being default package manager. Both desktop and server editions are available free of cost. Normally two versions are launched every year, one in april, other in october. Recommended for beginners.
*MORE TO BE ADDED SOON