Linux Distributions

There are many types of Linux distributions (distro) and their features vary widely. Some are meant for advanced users, while others are for new users migrating from the Macintosh or Windows. There are more than 650 of these distributions.

Debian GNU/Linux

Debian can be downloaded from the Internet like other distros. Debian uses a text utility during the entire installation process. After the OS is installed you can add a GUI via tools like Storm Package Manager.

Editing the system files necessitates the use of text files. For those new to Debian, you can use KDE or GNOME. Webmin allows you to manage the system on the Web.

Fedora Core

This is a Red Hat variant. Fedora comes in multiple CD ROMs and can also be downloaded from the Web. There is a GUI interface during the installation.

Fedora can also identify many hardware components in the computer so installation is easier than other distros. Like other versions of Red Hat, Fedora includes utilities to keep the distro updated.

Gentoo Linux

Gentoo Linux is one of the most unique distros around. Gentoo employs a system called Portage. This is different from other Linux distributions that use Debian packages or RPMs. The Portage system is designed to make installation easier.

To use the system, use the “emerge” command and then the other options. Next the distro gets the source code from the Web and sets it up. The “emerge” command also lets you uninstall other tools.


Network Management SoftwareThe aim of this distro is to provide an alternative to Windows. Given this fact, the installation options have been simplified. This makes the distro different from other Linux systems, but this makes it easier for new users to get used to the system.

Lindows also comes with troubleshooting tools in case of problems during installation. Lindows also has options for creating multiple user accounts.

Mandrake Linux

Mandrake is derived from the Red Hat operating system. This means the distro will work well with RPM packages for Red Hat. The package can be downloaded in various forms, including the PowerPack version, the Pro Suite, Discovery and Corporate Server versions.

The PowerPack version comes with software, but the Pro Suite has more programs included. The Discovery version is for home use and smaller. The Mandrake also comes with various components including Postfix MTA. The installation is X-based.

Red Hat Linux

This is one of the oldest and most widely used among the various distros today. Red Hat started the RPM format which is used by other distributions including the Yellow Dog, Mandrake, Caldera, Lycoris and SUSE. There are also GUI tools available for the system.


Slackware is the oldest distro around. It does not employ Debian or RPM packages. The installer is text based. The system administration tools do not have a GUI interface.

These are just some of the many Linux distributions available. The features described here can help you decide which distro to get. By analyzing the features of the each distro, you will be able to pick the most appropriate type for your needs.

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