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Choosing the Right Linux Distribution for You

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Open source software is increasing in popularity; however, Linux has been popular since its release. With many manufacturers offering Linux as an OS option on their mobile devices, users are now able to decide which distribution they want to run. With so many options many users are unable to decide which distribution is right for them. Here are a few guidelines that can help you make your decision and choose the right Linux distribution for how you use your computer.

Purpose:

Before you can decide which Linux distribution you should install, you must first decide on what you will use it for. There are three main categories that Linux falls into; desktop, desktop and server, or server. If you plan to use Linux for everyday desktop use, you will want to choose a distribution that is created for everyday use rather than a server optimized release.

Desktop distributions should have easy to adjust settings, recent software, and a wide range of graphical user interfaces. This will save you the hassle of learning the commands required to run programs and packages.

Server distributions should contain api stability, consistent updates, and plenty of security options. You will want to assure your server is stable, up to date and inaccessible by hackers or malicious software. With the server distributions, integrity is key.

Ease of Use:

If you are new to Linux, you will want to start with a distribution that is easy to learn and use. Linux is an open source operating system that is fully customizable. There is a large following of Linux users and programmers that offer new packages, applications and tweaks. If you are looking for a replacement for Windows, you will need to choose a distribution that will look familiar as you learn the new OS.

Distribution Options:

With so many different distribution options, it can be hard to even know where to begin looking. The Linux community is vast and offers different GUI and customizing options for those who want to explore the world of Linux. Below are a few options based on your intended use.

Windows Replacement: If you are looking for a replacement for your Windows OS, you may want to look for a distribution that has stability but also the look and feel of the Windows you are accustomed to. Ubuntu, Fedora, and Ylmf are a few options for those trying to veer away from Windows. The interface is similar and will assist you in learning Linux.

Servers: When servers are involved, you need more power, options and security. CentOS, SUSE, and Mandriva are three of the more popular Linux server distributions that offer stability and easy management.

Enterprise Servers: There is a big difference between owning your own personal server and managing an enterprise server. This is the same for Linux. If you are planning on switching your clients to Linux you may want to consider Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). This is one of the most popular commercial servers used by many companies around the world. With non-stop support and constant innovations, RHEL may be the right choice for your clients.

Linux is increasing in use based on its versatility, support, and cost. With almost all distributions being open source, users can download and install to explore the Linux world. If you are looking for a replacement for your current operating system or need a free server solution, consider Linux.

Jeremy Thompson is an IT director and Linux community member suggesting the Fedora Linux-based operating system for those looking to veer away from Windows.

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