Linux is an open-sourced operating system that is based on Unix. An operating system, or OS, manages the computers resources and sits as an interface between your hardware and the programs that you want to run. Linux, more specifically, is the kernel that manages the CPU, memory and other peripheral devices.
Linux is a much more stable and secure operating system then Windows and as its open sourced is free to download. Developers combine Linux with other free software in order to create complete packages called Linux Distributions. They may have very different desktops environments, bootloaders and apps. You can find a large number of Linux distributions out there on the Internet. If you are interested in trying Linux, you will need to get your hands on one of these distributions. Here is a list of the most popular Linux distributions available today.
Ubuntu – Ubuntu can be considered as one of the most popular Linux distribution that you can find. This operating system is based on Debian. Ubuntu has the potential to offer a solid desktop experience. In fact, Ubuntu uses the GNOME 2 desktop environment to enhance its user-friendliness. Another impressive feature about Ubuntu is that they offer a new release once in every 6 months. At the moment, the Ubuntu developers are working on expanding their distribution by introducing an operating system to be run on smartphones and tablets.
Linux Mint – The Linux Mint distribution has also received a lot of attention in the recent past as a stable operating system. It is based on the software repositories of Ubuntu. In fact, Linux Mint was more popular than Ubuntu in the past because it came along with proprietary software and media codecs by default. At the moment, Linux Mint has its own identity and you will not see a desktop similar to the ones that you see in Ubuntu. The process of releasing software updates is different as well and you will not be provided with automatically scheduled upgrades.
Debian – Debian is one of the oldest operating systems that you can find out there and it is based on the Linux Kernel. It can also be considered as one of the most widely respected operating systems. Since Debian has been around for more than two decades you can be sure it’s a stable product. Debian created the platform for the development of Ubuntu as well.
Fedora – Fedora is another popular choice for those who are looking to get their hands on an open source operating system. However, it is not the most user friendly Linux distribution. Fedora releases new updates to their users frequently. Red Hat is in the process of sponsoring Fedora at the moment and it has helped them to release more stable updates. This Linux distribution comes along with GNOME 3 desktop environment by default.
Arch Linux – Arch Linux can be defined as an old school Linux distribution. It’s popular for a number of reasons but the main objective of Arch Linux developers has been to keep things simple. As a result, it comes with a minimal, lightweight and flexible package. The users of Arch Linux are provided with the opportunity of configuring the entire system according to what they want. You have great flexibility to customize your operating system.