Looking to venture into the world of Linux? Great! Linux is a fantastic open sourced operating system which offers a multitude of different configuration options and flexibility due to the open source nature of the software. However any novice who has spent even a short amount of time reseraching Linux will know that with such a vast array of options comes a great deal of confusion. Linux comes in a variety of flavours – from packages that focus more on replicating traditional operating systems like Windows to pure terminal (read code based) versions without any graphical user interfaces (GUI). And even within these two avenues come different versions (distributions) of Linux operating system which vary with respect to package manager, kernel release used, repositories, support for different hardware devices and systems, software package configurations and ease of use. To cut through some of the choices we have picked some of the most popular distributions with an aim to give a taste of what each can do…
Ubuntu is undoubtedly one of the most popular desktop forms of Linux currently available. Ubuntu is based on a lot of research and resources that offer excellent easy-to-use tools pre installed as part of the standard distribution. Moreover, the Ubuntu community is ever active to ensure superior end-user-experience. It is this popularity and support that has made Ubuntu one of the best Linux distribution for novice Linux users. The GUI is also impressive and the driver repositories are ever growing providing mass support for a number of devices.
Knoppix is the only name that one remembers at the time of crisis, such is the popularity of this Linux distribution, which comes as a LiveCD version. This distro is a feature-rich version of Linux with approximately 1700 MB of software, which comes as a life-saver with its powerful capability to recover from almost any uncommon Linux system crash and even as a back up common Windows breakdowns. Again, one of the most striking features of Knoppix is its ease-of-use. Another good start for the Linux newbies who don’t quite fancy commiting to a Linux install.
The Debian version of the Linux is yet another popular distribution. The features that set apart the Debian distribution from the rest are its stability and robust security – a factor that is scrutinised at each new release. This distribution also comes with huge repository of packages, providing wide choice for the users.
The Community Enterprise Operating System (CentOS) is a free Linux distribution that derives from Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and is binary compatible with it. This version, as the name suggests, is enterprise class, and gets a default trust factor by the users (and of course the relevant support channels). The distribution is a 100 per cent compatible rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and is in complete compliance with Red Hat’s redistribution requirements. Thus, CentOS is one of the most sought after distributions by many small businesses which demand the stability of an enterprise class operating system without the cost of support and certification of some of the more major server focused OS. Yet another major fact about CentOS is its widespread acceptance as the preferred OS for web hosting. A large number of the world’s web servers run CentOS. Since CentOS is RHEL compatible, most commercial software like Oracle or WebSphere will run on it, which one of the major reasons for its popularity in web hosting sphere.
Another popular distribution of Linux is the RedHat Fedora, which is free for use and serves as a good alternative to Microsoft Windows™ or Mac OS X™. With regular innovations and upgrades, Fedora is considered the upstream to RHEL. Along with innovation and cutting edge solutions, Fedora also offers much required stability, and that is why there are more than ten million users of Fedora, all over the world. With its flexible features, Fedora also facilitates to create custom Linux-based distribution. In addition, Fedora is also one of the fastest growing and widely used operating systems in the web hosting space.
Given such wide variety of options and most of them for free, one would like to experiment with them to find out what suits them the best. There are loads of options for testing – from setting up a partition on your hard drive for the purposes of a OS or server install to trying out various versions in a virtual environment. The benefit of a virtualised environment (like a cloud host/server) is the ability to instantly create and remove server instances effortlessly usually with the ability to install OS from virtualised LiveCDs – no downloading required.
Author Bio: The Elastic Hosts cloud servers seamlessly support all the popular versions of Linux, like CentOS, Ubuntu, Knoppix and Fedora. Set up a free cloud hosting trial and get to test an array of Linux distros quickly to find your favourite..! Elastic Hosts offers UK cloud hosting, US cloud hosting and cloud hosting in Canada.