Popular Linux Distros & Uses

The modern era of computing has had such an impact on the human civilization seen never before in the history of human beings.

From the development of the first transistor to the creation of the first major OS, UNIX, a lot has happened that has changed the dimension of gathering and processing the relevant information.

Linux:

Linux is a UNIX-like operating system that has been created by the Prodigy.Linus Torvalds with the sole purpose of running it on x86 intel processors at that time under the model of free and open source computing software model and development.

Since it’s initial release and development, it has been ported to many other platforms and since then it has become the most widely used operating system even beating overall market share of Windows OS by Microsoft this year. Everything from Desktops, Routers, Servers to Smartphones and Mission Critical Hardware equipment run Linux. This makes it one of the most robust and stable software in use and active development.

Creation of Linux:

Although during the earlier part of the computing era we had UNIX but it was limited to multi-million dollar enterprises due to its costly licensing fees. Hence something was needed that could be provided to the people at free of cost so that the entry barrier of software was at least removed since hardware too was costly at that time.

Even though every other household came to be later associated with Microsoft’s Windows OS, this is a different story.

Linux Distros:

Since Linux source code is available for free under the open source license to freely use and modify it to suit one’s needs, major distributions have been in existence to cater to that need. Some may consider it be a problem of fragmentation but many believe it to be an apparent strength of Linux.

Popular Linux Distros & Uses:

UbuntuThis is perhaps the most common recommendation for beginners while trying out Linux or switching to it altogether. Ubuntu itself means “Humanity towards others”, a perfect name for a popular Linux distro. Ubuntu Linux is developed by the UK Millionaire Mark Shuttleworth’s company Canonical.Ltd and also by the large ubuntu community of developers and supporters. It has been created from Debian, another Goliath of a Linux Distro.

Uses:

  • Perfect for use as a Desktop OS for both Novice as well as Expert users.
  • The huge support from community and developers means fit for usage in server environments.
  • Robust and versatile software means use even in IOT environments.
  • Native Custom UI / Desktop Environment support from the community itself.
  • Free software for lifetime hence unlimited uses.
  • Can be used as a Virus-free environment.
  • Less capable systems do not go into e-waste.

Linux MintLinux Mint is a community driven Linux distro created from Debian and Ubuntu by the people who haven’t been happy with the shift taken by Ubuntu in the recent times. It is now being actively supported by the Linux Mint team and community. Although created from the Ubuntu distro as a fork, it has gained a lot of popularity and is on the second spot after Ubuntu.

Uses:

  • Popular Desktop OS choice for those people who prefer Linux distro other than Ubuntu but want the look and feel of Windows Desktop.
  • Excellent support from both the developers and the huge community ensures a multitude of uses.
  • Since it is based on the latest Ubuntu stable release candidate, it can be used on a production level desktop workstation.
  • It is a complete media powerhouse right out of the house since it includes a plethora of open source as well as closed components as well.
  • Virus free and hence very little malware management.
  • Older systems can be made productive as well.

DebianDebian is the oldest distro that started it all for a majority of modern Linux distros and is the largest collection of only free software compiled till date. Although it is a pioneer of Open Source Linux as a distro, but non-free software can be downloaded too from the other online repositories that it supports. Its development is done through 3 phases, viz. Stable, Testing and Unstable.

Uses:

  • Many people who don’t prefer other widely used Linux distros and want to get the Flagship Linux experience prefer only Debian as their Desktop OS.
  • The largest software repository collection ensures unlimited uses and adaptability.
  • A wide range of hardware support from low profile ARM devices to very low-end PCs ensures enough application usage from them.
  • One of the largest community ensures that queries and doubts over certain areas get properly fixed and addressed, and hence can be used as a production environment.
  • No malware issues and better maintenance from the software side.

FedoraFedora Linux is the flagship project by the Fedora Project community and sponsored by Redhat itself. The Fedora project is famous for its relatively short support cycle and faster integration of newer technologies by working closely with community members. This distro comes in 3 standard forms following the release of version 21, Desktop Workstation, Server, and Cloud.

Uses:

  • Its 3 core distros ensure it can be used as a rock solid Desktop / Server / Cloud OS.
  • Latest technology integration helps in the development of various other software as Developers often need support for latest libraries.
  • Different Desktop Environments to suit own’s work style preference.
  • Support from both the Fedora community and Redhat ensures it is fit for a multitude of computing purposes such as IOT to regular desktop applications to Cloud computing as well.

CentOSCentOS aka Community Enterprise Operating System is a Linux distro inspired by the Redhat Enterprise Linux by Redhat.It has successfully established itself as an alternative to RHEL since it has proprietary support from Redhat and also has to be paid for. It has successfully established itself as an alternative to RHEL since it has proprietary support from Redhat and also has to be paid for. Also, it is now officially endorsed by the Redhat itself.

Uses:

  • It provides a Rock Solid Server OS for those people or group that are unable to pay a hefty sum for proprietary server OS such as Windows / MacOS / RHEL.
  • A failsafe system is guaranteed since for Production purposes a stable system with regular security patches is needed.
  • It can also be used as a Desktop OS with a minimal install and yet ensure robust upgradations to run server-grade applications as well.
  •  Since CentOS’s source code is very similar to RHEL’s source code, users can expect great compatibility for software developed for RHEL to run on CentOS.
  • Also, the wide range of software repositories ensures that modular extensions can be made to the base system without having any issues.

OpenSUSEIt is a popular Linux distro originating from Germany and used throughout the world. It has been developed to provide a stable environment for creating usable open source tools with its feature rich and stable desktop and server environments.

Uses:

  • A feature rich OS provides stable desktop and server OS for creators and the general public alike.
  • The availability of standard tools such as Open Build Service, OpenQA, Kiwi and YaST ensure the development of quality tools and testing services by the creators and community alike.
  • Ease of use and easy introduction to the world of Linux computing due to various desktop environments available.
  • It is suited for production-grade environments as well due to its dual releases such as Tumbleweed (latest software) and Rolling ( stable software ) release.

Manjaro LinuxManjaro is another user-friendly Linux distro aimed at the beginner user with its simplicity of use. It is based on the Arch Linux distro which is another popular distro of Linux infamous for its complicated initial setup and use.

Uses:

  • Since it is based on the stable Arch Linux release and also the rolling release model ensures that the system does not need to be re-installed to be kept up to date.
  • It comes with both a graphical and CLI ( command line interface ) based installer and hence caters to both the Novice and Geeks alike.
  • The system can be configured to be used as both a Production level as well as a Developmental machine.
  • Its software repositories similar to Arch Linus’s ones ensure a great deal of application usage.

Noteworthy Mentions:

Although, we have covered the more popular distros out there, here are a few noteworthy mentions that deserve a mention as well. These distros even if new to the Computing World have gathered significant attention to their development and usage. The above can be attributed to the Open Source nature of Linux itself and also the neverending enthusiasm with the folks of the Linux Community work day in and day out.

Zorin OS: Zorin OS is another Linux distro that aims to bridge the gap of Linux adoption for new users by providing a similar desktop experience to them. It is developed by and supported by the Zorin OS community and online donations to help the project keep going. It also comes with the Zorin OS look changer that helps to modify the look fo the system similar to Windows XP / Windows 7 / MacOS. The base OS is pretty stable since it is based on the Ubuntu stable release channel.

Elementary OS: Elementary OS is a Flagship Linux distro to showcase the Pantheon Desktop Environment. It is also based on the stable release of Ubuntu Linux and most of the users will familiarize it with the MacOS desktop. The default look and feel will hardly encourage any user to change its look and feel, such is its Feel and Substance. If you are interested in trying it out, here’s the download link below. Although the website encourages you to pay some minor donations towards the project, you can select 0$ as the donation amount to download it free of cost.

Arch Linux: Arch Linux is famous among the Linux community for those people who want to understand the Linux OS deeply and hence it’s installation also can be customized deeply with no graphical interface to interact with it other than the CLI ( Command Line Interface ). For the above-mentioned reasons, it is widely praised among the Linux enthusiasts who aren’t afraid of the command line. If you are interested in trying it out, here’s the download link below.

TailsTails / The Amnesic Incognito Live System is a Linux distro that is focused on security and privacy and is run on a Live Environment. It is based on Debian which itself a Goliath of a Linux distro. This distro came into a lot of Focus and popularity due to its usage by former CIA operative Edward Snowden after his startling revelations regarding CIAs operations on blatant public privacy breach. If you are interested in trying it out, here’s the download link below.

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Popular Linux Distros & Uses

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