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Linux Distros Worth Trying

Listener Robert in Tennessee listening on SuperTalk WTN 99.7 asked us about Linux Distributions

Linux Mint

Robert asked: What is your favorite distribution of Linux? I prefer Linux mint because it is more Windows XP like.

Any of the major distributions is probably worthy of a mention, but there are so many that we’d need to add that fourth hour of this show, that people have been asking for. Mint is pretty great in that it’s based on Ubuntu and it has the stability and all the features that have made Ubuntu really popular, but just like you said, they figured out that people like having a Start menu and they added one.

Ubuntu is definitely worth a mention, deep down it’s Debian-based, and it generally feels like you’re using commercial, paid software. They release new versions every 6 months, they have bug reporting and good documentation. It’s a very professionally-produced free Linux distribution.

Debian is awesome for serious tasks, they don’t release too many updates (maybe one every couple of years), but Debian works well with tons of different hardware, and it is super stable. If you’re looking for something that will take some work to set up but will run beautifully after that, Debian may be it. It has great quality control and, though it’s not very flashy, it’s very stable. To illustrate that, Debian has 3 levels of stability: unstable (the one called “sid”), testing, and stable. The unstable one is stable enough that it’s what Ubuntu and Mint use in the background. It’s stable enough to be released with other operating systems that are labeled as “stable.”

It’s stable enough to be released with other operating systems that are labeled as “stable.”

If you like the Windows-look you have plenty of options that should appeal to you, CentOS, PCLinuxOS (which has a taskbar that is basically lifted out of Windows), ArchLinux, and others, but they’re probably not updated as often as Mint.

Any of the older distributions like Fedora (formerly RedHat) and OpenSuse should work pretty well by now.

There are also plenty of special distributions for specific hardware or specific purposes. So, if you want to take your computer with you, Damn Small Linux (DSL) or Ubuntu Live may work for you, if you’re building a media player OpenElec and XMBC are Linux-based and will do a nice job. In the Linux world, it all depends on what you need. For general use Mint or Ubuntu with will probably keep you pretty happy!

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Written by Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline is the founder, Host & Executive Producer of "Into Tomorrow" in addition to being President of the Advanced Media Network".

Dave is also a trusted and familiar voice on many national commercials & narrations in addition to being an authority in consumer tech since 1994. He is also a former Police Officer and an FBI Certified Instructor.

Dave thrives on audience participation!

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