If you are considering an installation of a Linux or Unix-like system, then the Compare distros is a good place to visit. As a Slackware user, I find some evaluation methods a bit controversial, but still the resource is very good, and I’m currently perusing it in order to identify the system I might want to install on my older computer. Currently the candidates are (in no specific order) Kubuntu, Debian, Gentoo, and probably ALTLinux.
For the sheer simplicity of choosing a Linux distribution, the polishlinux.org also has Distro chooser. After answering the questions, I got this list:
- Ubuntu Linux
- Debian GNU/Linux
- Mandriva Linux
As one can see, out of 3-4 distributions I’m currently considering, this list of 5 gave an overlap of 2 distributions (Ubuntu, if we assume that Kubuntu is roughly the same, and Debian). I’d say the Distro chooser, being somewhat simplistic, gave a close match to my own list (except for the not-so-well-known-by-me Fedora, openSUSE; Mandriva, based on my current knowledge, is a kind of superseded by Ubuntu’s ease of use).
There’s another wizard-like Linux Distribution Chooser. This one is pretty and thus fun to complete. (Thanks to the authors for adding some JS-based questions which do not require page reload – this definitely adds to the comprehended speed of answering questions; I’d say the proportion of JS-based and POSTed responses is nearly perfect.) This time, I got 6 recommendations:
Again, I have Kubuntu and Debian in the list. It’s more interesting though, that Fedora, openSUSE and Mandriva are repeated from the previous list! Well, it might be due to the short-list nature of really popular Linux distros. But Fedora appears on top in both cases, Mandriva appears at the bottom, and Debian/openSUSE are not decided Based on these results I’m going to have a closer look at Fedora, might have missed my perfect match
If even after these wizards/tests/tables you do not feel the complete satisfaction of a (converted?) believer, there’s also yet another Linux Distributions Chooser. It’s short and simple, and gave me only Mandriva and SUSE (without specifying which exactly SUSE flavour).
When you are done choosing Linux distro, and your mother tongue isn’t English, it would be wise to look for already localized distros. For example, I’m using DeepStyle Slackware-based linux, which differs mostly in Ukrainian (Cyrillic) support and some add-on packages/enhancements. There are also many other examples, much more known and popular. Taking a localized distro, you save time and do not lose anything.
Finally, if you are a Linux newbie but do want to learn the ins and outs of Linux, you may try Slackware-based Topologilinux (which also runs within windows). Slackware is not usually considered an option for newbies, but based on my impressions Topologilinux is quite friendly and easy to install/configure, at the same time providing more than enough space for experiments. The whole OS is in a single file, so after initial installation you may backup the ‘tlinux’ folder for the case that you experiment too much and kill Topolinux – then just unroll the backup in place
Really finally, over the period of the last 2-3 years linux distros became so user-friendly, that migration from any other OS shouldn’t be too complicated. And, based on my blog’s statistics, Linux + MacOS X (BSD-based, if I remember correctly) already make up ~35-40% of all the visitors’ OSes