So to all of you who are interested in trying Linux or are interested in trying a new kind of Linux, I've started this thread. Here I and others, will write about the pros and cons of different Linux distributions. The goal of this thread is that anyone, new comer or novice user, can find the flavor of Linux that fits themselves the most.
Nearly all distros have a LiceCD or DVD. With it, you can just burn a disk and boot up Linux. When you take out the disk, your computer is the same (unless you edited something something on the drives!)
Remember, all Linux distros can virtually do the same things: Printing, editing photos, make servers, compile kernels etc. But some are more focused on a specific subject, therefore the community will also be focused on that subject.
Bionic Apple has also written Beginner's Guide, it goes through what Linux is, and in the end you install Ubuntu.
Ubuntu is by far, the most popular Linux distro. Therefore it also got a big community that can help users. It's considered as one of the easiest Linux distros to use, at least for newcomers to Linux.
Ubuntu is based on Debian, and can install Debian packages (apps etc.).
New versions of Ubuntu are released twice a year, one in the spring and one in fall.
* Easy to use and install.
* Big community.
* Many guides.
* Debian apps can be installed on Ubuntu.
* If you want to learn more about the inner works of Linux, Ubuntu is not the best choice.
Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, and therefore it can use the same packages (apps etc.) as Ubuntu. Where Linux Mint differs is that it's build to run much better out of the box. Many additional wireless drivers, codecs and plug-ins are preinstalled. For example, Flash is already installed, so you can go browse YouTube without any installation.
Mint is also shipped with some additional tools called Mint tools to make it easier to configure and use the system.
* Easy to use and install.
* Many preinstalled codecs and plug-ins.
* Ubuntu guides can be used (to a certain extend) on Linux Mint.
* Debian and Ubuntu apps can be installed on Linux Mint
* If you want to learn more about the inner works of Linux, Linux Mint is not the best choice.
* Since it includes some proprietary codecs and drivers, it's not completely Open-Source.
Mandriva Linux was originally released by MandrakeSoft as Mandrake Linux as an easy to use and powerful Linux distribution for both those new to Linux, and powerusers. When Mandrake was released in 1998, Linux was already well known for it's stability and power, but any use of it required such extensive technical knowledge that it had no hope of becoming a mainstream operating system. MandrakeSoft saw this as an opportunity to introduce a more user-friendly distribution than ever seen in the Linux community.
* Extremely fast if your computer can handle KDE 4 or Gnome.
* Somewhat light (Approximately 650 Mb. That's better than Red Hat. Even Red Hat 9 from 2003 took up four times as much space)
* Very user friendly, while still being powerful
* Ships with Gnome or KDE4. Works flawlessly with Enlightenment, XFCE, or Fluxbox (These are the only alternatives I've tried on Mandriva.)
* Will boot on literally anything. I've run it in CLI on a computer with 512 K RAM and a pre-Pentium processor.
* Has a free version that's as good as the enterprise version, but misses a few non-essential programs that nobody uses.
* Uses RPMs, so pretty much any program will work on it.
* Runs extremely slow if X is enabled on old hardware (I'm talking pre-2000 old. If you have this problem, you should be using Damn Small Linux or Puppy anyway)
* Doesn't work too well with JWM, although not much does.
* Default DE is KDE 4, this makes changing to a different DE or WM painful on first boot. I suggest using CLI to download another WM with urpmi before you do anything.
* Slow package manager, but that's not a big issue.
* Has an enterprise version.
* Network install isn't an option.
Thanks to ButtsexV2, for the section about Mandriva.
Arch is an advanced distribution, and is similar in ways to Gentoo. It also has to be installed and built up from command line. It is famous for it's efficient package manager: "Pacman".
I installed this distribution because I was looking for a nice lightweight distribution that had customising capabilities and could look pleasing to the eyes. I was also looking for a way to become more familiar with a Linux system and be as close to the code as I could. Arch covered all of these perfectly for me, and more.
That wasn't actually supposed to sound baised, but it turned out like it. Still, it's a fantastic distribution for someone who is looking for something more advanced and configurable.
Basically all of the same pros as Gentoo, it's also super fast if you want it to be.
The documentation is also fantastic, it guides you through everything perfectly.
* Doesn't come with a desktop environment/any GUI at all (See Cons).
* Relatively complicated unless you know what you are doing (Also a pro if you are looking to gain knowledge of Linux).
* Pacman can sometimes not find the right dependancies, but this is fixable. It also may just be something to do with my mirror.
* Doesn't come with a desktop environment/any GUI at all (See Pros).
Thanks to nos217, for the section about Arch.
Gentoo is one of the most configurable distros that exist. The installation of Gentoo is not graphical and it involves compiling you own kernel. But don't fear, Gentoo has a great and very complete guide that walks you through all of the steps and in the end, you might get a highly optimised system (graphics are optional).
The nature of Gentoo is that all packages are compiled from source, and therefore you only install exactly what you need. You don't want network support? You think unicode is bloated? You think xterm is too slow? Gentoo is for you.
* Highly configurable.
* Can be extremely optimised.
* Nothing is installed unless you say so.
* Teaches you about how Linux is put together.
* Very big repository of packages that is frequently updated (Several times a week)
* Big community that can help you make the right choices.
* Hard to install without knowing how to use the shell.
* May seem like a configuration hell.
* It takes time to master optimisation.
* Gentoo is stable, but your likeliness to kill the system is higher. (Can be fixed in 99% of the cases)
Comming up: KDE vs. Gnome, Fedora and more!
Do you find something missing? A distro you want to write about? Is something outdated? PM me your changes or suggestions.
Tasks I want help with:
* Other kinds of Ubuntu
* Damn Small Linux