The new year is here and you have made a resolution to give Linux a try. A noble resolution and one that will be met, initially, with much confusion. Why? Linux isn’t like Windows where your choice is limited to a single release with different features (depending upon how much you want to spend) or OS X where you have no choice but to take what Apple gives you. No. Linux has a multitude of choices. In fact, if you go to Distrowatch you will see at least 100 distributions listed in the page hits ranking section. Think about it, 100 different versions of Linux. And that’s not all of them. There are many more variations out there, and more coming every day. And then, you add into the mix the enterprise level distributions that not only come with a price, but support, and the ever-staggering number continues to grow.
So how does a new-to-Linux user decide? With so many choices, how is it possible to start off on the right path? Without help, it’s not easy. My first Linux distribution was Caldera Open Linux 1. It was rough and nearly pushed me back to Windows. It wasn’t until I found Red Hat (4.2 at the time) that I found the right distribution for the right purpose. That was ten years ago and the choices were much more limited.
Because the new year is here, and I am always one to want to help people make the move to Linux, I thought I would create a flow chart to help Linux users make the right choice. Is it perfect? Probably not. Do I include every possible choice? No way. The distributions I have included are:
* Ubuntu Server
* Ubuntu Studio
* Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop
* Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server
* SuSE Enterprise Linux Server
* SuSE Enterprise Linux
* Mandriva Power Pack
* Linux Mint
This is a healthy list of distributions, but not all of them.