0

My "10 Best Linux Distributions of 2009" list drew a bit of disdain from some of my readers, so I thought I'd make it up to them by posting a list of Linux distributions that they like to use. Since I have no way of knowing which of these distributions is better or worse than the others, I've place them in alphabetical order instead of any real ranking based on quality, community, development cycle or other criteria. I want to show you, faithful reader, that I do indeed read your comments and take your feedback seriously. You have a voice and I thank you for using it--this is your list--by you and for you.

Since I'm not familiar with some of the distributions on this list, most of the information is taken directly from the distribution's own website.

1. Arch Linux - Billed as a lightweight and flexible Linux distribution that tries to Keep It Simple. Arch Linux is an independently developed, i686/x86-64 general purpose GNU/Linux distribution versatile enough to suit any role. Development focuses on simplicity, minimalism, and code elegance. Arch is installed as a minimal base system, configured by the user upon which their own ideal environment is assembled by installing only what is required or desired for their unique purposes. GUI configuration utilities are not officially provided, and most system configuration is performed from the shell by editing simple text files. Arch strives to stay bleeding edge, and typically offers the latest stable versions of most software. Arch Linux uses a "rolling release" system which allows one-time installation and perpetual software upgrades. It is not generally necessary to reinstall or upgrade your Arch Linux system from one "version" to the next. By issuing one command, an Arch system is kept up-to-date and on the bleeding edge.

2. Gentoo - I included Gentoo in the original list but I thought I'd include it again since so many readers responded positively to it. Gentoo Linux, a special flavor of Linux that can be automatically optimized and customized for just about any application or need. Extreme performance, configurability and a top-notch user and developer community are all hallmarks of the Gentoo experience. Gentoo is a free operating system based on either Linux or FreeBSD that can be automatically optimized and customized for just about any application or need. Extreme configurability, performance and a top-notch user and developer community are all hallmarks of the Gentoo experience. Thanks to a technology called Portage, Gentoo can become an ideal secure server, development workstation, professional desktop, gaming system, embedded solution or something else -- whatever you need it to be. Because of its near-unlimited adaptability, we call Gentoo a metadistribution.

3. Hannah Montana Linux - I laughed out loud when someone asked me why I didn't include it in my top 10 for 2009. It's a real distribution, based on Kubuntu, with a Hannah Montana theme. Hannah Montana Linux is fast, stable and powerful. It includes a Hannah Montana themed boot screen, KDM, icon set, ksplash, plasma, color scheme, and wallpapers. It is not vulnerable to Windows viruses. I've tried to keep my eight-year-old daughter from seeing this one--so far, so good.

4. Mandriva Linux - Very popular in France, Brazil and some African countries. On the consumer side, Mandriva develops and distributes Linux distributions: Mandriva One, the light, easy to use and safe free distro, Mandriva Free, the pure GPL free Linux distro, Mandriva Powerpack, the complete and customizable distro for the power user and Mandriva Flash, the mobile desktop USB key. Free products are available for download from the Mandriva site. Commercial products are available through Mandriva's electronic store, in retail stores and through partners worldwide. The company provides a number of electronic services through its web site. It evaluates its number of users to a few millions. On the corporate side, Mandriva helps large and medium size organizations to migrate to Linux, thanks to its Corporate Desktop and Corporate Server products and helps them administer large number of machines thanks to its system administration tool, Pulse. The company provides to its corporate customers technology, products and services (consulting, training and support). It has about 100 corporate customers.

5. Mepis - Mepis is a Debian-based distro that touts its ease of use, user friendly interface and a live CD image that allows you to try before you commit. The unique nature of MEPIS Linux makes it an ideal foundation for developing a custom version of Linux for large scale deployment. MEPIS is available to work with integrators and end user clients to develop privately branded and optimally tweaked Linux configurations.

6. OpenSUSE - OpenSUSE advertises itself as follows: openSUSE is a free and Linux-based operating system for your PC, Laptop or Server. You can surf the web, manage your e-mails and photos, do office work, play videos or music and have a lot of fun! The openSUSE project is a community program sponsored by Novell. Promoting the use of Linux everywhere, openSUSE.org provides free, easy access to the world's most usable Linux distribution, openSUSE. The openSUSE project gives Linux developers and enthusiasts everything they need to get started with Linux. I didn't include it in my top 10 for 2009 list because it might come in the top 20--just not the top 10. I don't hate openSUSE but it definitely isn't one of my all-time favorites.

7. PCLinuxOS - PCLinuxOS was founded in October 2003. The flagship product, the PCLinux operating system, is a free, easy-to-use Linux-based operating system for the home. PCLinuxOS was founded by Texstar, and is headquartered in Houston, Tx. PCLinuxOS is distributed as a LiveCD, and can also be installed to a local hard drive. LiveCD mode lets you try it without making any changes to your computer. If you like it, you can install it to your hard drive. Locally installed versions of PCLinuxOS utilize the Advanced Packaging Tool (or APT), a package management system (originally from the Debian distribution), together with Synaptic, a GUI frontend to APT. PCLinuxOS has a script called mklivecd, which allows the user to take a 'snapshot' of their current hard drive installation (all settings, applications, documents, etc.) and compress it into an ISO CD/DVD image. This allows easy backup of a user's data and also makes it easy to create your own custom live CD/DVD.

8. Puppy Linux - Puppy Linux calls itself; small, fast and free OS. It is a small but full-featured distribution. Puppy Linux is an operating system for computers. Puppy Linux is based on GNU/Linux. It is completely free and open source software. At ~100MB it's worth checking out for a mini distribution. I put Damn Small Linux in my list because I've used it for some time and this was the alternative that some of my readers suggested.

9. SUSE Studio - While SUSE Studio isn't really a distribution, you can build distributions from it--as long as you want them to be openSUSE-based distributions. SUSE Studio is a website that assists you to build customized appliances for use as standalone machines or as virtual machines. I'm including here simply since it was mentioned by a reader. I love SUSE Studio and highly recommend it for others to use. The only drawback is that you can only use openSUSE. If there was something else this cool that you could use the distro of your choice with, I'd be willing to purchase it.

10. Tinycore - Tiny Core Linux is a very small (10 MB) minimal Linux GUI Desktop. It is based on Linux 2.6 kernel, Busybox, Tiny X, and Fltk. The core runs entirely in ram and boots very quickly. Also offered is Micro Core a 6 MB image that is the console based engine of Tiny Core. CLI versions of Tiny Core's program allows the same functionality of Tiny Core's extensions only starting with a console based system. It is not a complete desktop nor is all hardware completely supported. It represents only the core needed to boot into a very minimal X desktop typically with wired internet access. The user has complete control over which applications and/or additional hardware to have supported, be it for a desktop, a netbook, an appliance, or server, selectable by the user by installing additional applications from online repositories, or easily compiling most anything you desire using tools provided.

Someone also mentioned FreeBSD, which is not Linux but is still worth a mention. I'm not a huge fan of it and though it touts itself as very secure, it was the only system on my network that ever got hacked. I didn't install or support the system; one of my employees did and noted that one day it was hacked and owned by someone who did a fair job of covering his tracks though we did trace his steps back through several other systems and notified each one along the way.

There you have them, my reader's choice list for their favorite Linux distributions. Do you have a favorite that wasn't covered by either list? Write back and let me know.

Edited by khess: n/a

14
Contributors
15
Replies
16
Views
7 Years
Discussion Span
Last Post by shafin raza
0

HM Linux is a bad thing. It contains a song and the lyrics tell you to type the commands for destroying your disk into the terminal. It should not be in any top 10, it is criminal. Plus, it's for brats. Cheers

0

LOL, I thought the song was hilarious. My daughter watches the show and the song is a spoof of the original. You'd just have to see it.

0

Great list. Mandriva's strong in the US also. Mandriva has been my OS choice for years, and for many others here in Idaho. We switched all of our business computers, servers, HMI's, and condition monitoring to Mandriva a few years ago. Great solid system that scales well to any application.

Cool to see Tiny Core on there also. I've been playing with that for a couple months.

0

Mandriva is an excellent. and polished, Linux distro. I'm running both 2009.1 Spring and 2010 RC2 both x86-64. I also highly recommend PCLinuxOS. It was my bread and butter for years, and still the distro I most recommend. If you like to fiddle less and use your apps more, PCLinuxOS is the distro for you. Honestly, it's so simple you'll scratch your head and wonder why other distros make things so difficult.

0

Someone also mentioned FreeBSD, which is not Linux but is still worth a mention. I'm not a huge fan of it and though it touts itself as very secure, it was the only system on my network that ever got hacked. I didn't install or support the system; one of my employees did and noted that one day it was hacked and owned by someone who did a fair job of covering his tracks though we did trace his steps back through several other systems and notified each one along the way.

Maybe you didn't (don't) know how to administer it? You probably left a bunch of services running with no packet filter and no patches applied?

0

My favorite Linux disto these days is #! CrunchBang Linux, an Ubuntu based distribution offering a great blend of speed, style and substance. Using the nimble Openbox window manager, it is highly customisable and provides a modern, full-featured GNU/Linux system without sacrificing performance.

1

It may have been me that mentioned Hannah Montana Linux; if so, I did so humorously; nothing wrong with it, but it is clearly a niche mostly for little girls who like the colors and the music. It is OK, nothing more than a cosmetic modification of Ubuntu.

Personally, I am a strong Debian advocate. I am using Debian Squeeze right now, though usually I use Debian derivatives that actually include the Debian repos in their package repositories. The three that I tend to use the most are sidux for the cutting edge and fast Sid based stuff, antiX for the smaller, lighter Debian Testing stuff, and SimplyMEPIS for a rock solid desktop distribution that is less "free" in the Stallman sense than Debian, but more practical and usable - and even more stable in my opinion than Debian Stable, which is saying a lot.

There are LOTS of other great systems and I at least test many of them, but sidux, antiX, SimplyMEPIS, and Debian itself are where I consistently find myself spending the bulk of my computing time.

Votes + Comments
I agree
0

Hope you try MEPIS. I have been with it for several years now. I have tried literally dozens of others, but keep coming back to MEPIS. (Even bought Red Hat and SuSE - they did not do it for me.)

winstephen@yahoo.com

0

>My favorite Linux disto these days is #! CrunchBang Linux, an Ubuntu based distribution offering a great blend of speed, style and substance. Using the nimble Openbox window manager, it is highly customisable and provides a modern, full-featured GNU/Linux system without sacrificing performance.

Ditto.

0

Ubuntu was mentioned in the original article if I am not mistaken. By the way, the time is now. Ubuntu passed Release Candidate stage for the 9.10 release. My recommendation for those of you who like to use it is to grab it now; any changes for the release will be minor, as in ten packages or less, so this is a good time to download it before the mad rush next week.

SimplyMEPIS is an awesome distribution. Warren Woodford originally planned to release an 8.5 release this Fall, but with Debian Squeeze planning on a 2010 release, he seems to have changed his plans. Don't let that deter anyone who likes a good, solid release. SimplyMEPIS 8.0 has already had two minor updates, 8.0.6 and 8.0.10 and both are simply incremental updates with minor package changes. If you like MEPIS but want something more current, just check out the MEPIS Lovers Forum and add in one of their community repositories to pick up stable, tested, upgraded software applications.

I am a fan, not only of SimplyMEPIS, but also of its lightweight descendant, antiX, which replaces KDE with IceWM and Fluxbox and uses a lighter collection of applications so that it works well on aging equipment.

Then I am a fan of sidux, one of the finest cutting edge distributions around. Note that SimplyMEPIS is based on Debian Stable; antiX is based on Debian Testing, and sidux is based on Debian Sid. OF COURSE, I am ALSO a big fan of Debian itself, and I happen to be using Debian Squeeze right now.

0

I am quite new to Linux. But I have tested several Distro and certainly put Ubuntu in my top list and now with the new release 9.10 Karmic Koala. I must say its one of the best.

Have something to contribute to this discussion? Please be thoughtful, detailed and courteous, and be sure to adhere to our posting rules.