A Check list for Choosing Distros

 A very fundamental thumb rule of choosing an open source distro will depend on two things, how hands-on you are with open source software and the purpose you will be using it. Fortunately, Open Source world in inundated with options and more options for distros especially for established software such as Debain, Open SuSe, Mandriva and the list goes on. Here is a brief look on the specialized art of choosing Distros.


It is truly surprising to note that there are no linear, point A to point B rules that will help one to choose a distro. Professional Open Source developers themselves follow multiple analytics to make a distro choice. The novice open source-ologist is often at the end of a confusing list that others are comfortable working with rather than the technical requirements that the beginner wants to scale.

Checklist 1-Purpose

When choosing a distro the reason for use- desktop usage only, server usage only or a combination of both becomes very important factor for making your choice. For desktop distribution settings adjustments, the GUI app suite and the version of the distro become important.

For server distributions, you will have to check for features that will include API stability, software life and the cycle of updates and importantly, the security risks. So, choose a distro that satisfies your purpose.

Some special purpose Distros

Linux in Schools distro targets k-12 classrooms; Debain-Med for medical domain

Checklist 2-Software update cycle

An important feature that is a priority while making distro choice is the life cycle of the distro. Again, there are a few aspects, which have to be considered here. One, distros version that is presently supported need to be your first choice as security patches and maintenance is optimized and security threats minimized. Second, you will have to understand that distro are constantly updated, newer versions released every few months and will eventually reach the end of their lifecycle. Therefore, you will have to weigh deeply how many times you are willing to update. An average update-cycle is of six to nine month. Fedora offers updates very six months while some have very short update of two or three months before the next version is released.

Some longer life distros

Redhat Enterpise Linux (RHEL)/ CentOS, Debian or Ubuntu are some of the popular names along with many more useful long life distros.

Checklist 3-langauage support

A top rated factor you will need to check for while choosing your distro is the language support that the distro offers. Distributions that offer your native tongue are highly recommended to help you overcome your technical difficulties.

A distro that address these priority checkpoints will ensure you have a top performing distro and you have the greatest experience using it. A quick tip to follow over and above the checklist is to find a distro that matches your background software domain. Choose KDE if you want Linux with window features and if Mac is your domain then GNOME should be your ideal choice.

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