On Sunday 09 June 2013 18:11, Caryn conveyed the following to
Post by Caryn Post by Aragorn Post by Caryn
Popular: Debian ------> Ubuntu
Business: RHEL -------> CentOS/Fedora
Apples and oranges. Ubuntu is a populist distribution based upon
Debian Unstable, whereas Debian Stable is just as usable by
businesses as RedHat Enterprise Linux or CentOS due to its
Fedora is an unstable bleeding edge
OK. How's this for a (corrected) succinct (oversimplified) summary of
the three major linux distros and their most common progeny?
1. Debian (stable desktop) -> Ubuntu (user friendly) or Kubuntu (KDE)
or Knoppix (live) 2. Redhat (stable server) -> Centos (RHEL clone) or
Fedora (bleeding edge) 3. SUSE (stable workstation) -> openSUSE
(business) or SLED (desktop) or SLES (server)
First of all, openSUSE is a community distribution, so it's not
business-oriented. In fact, that's where SLED and SLES come in. Those
are the official business distributions - in desktop and server versions
respectively - and come with a support contract. So you had that one
Secondly, I don't think that one can speak about "the three major
distributions", because it's not quite that simple. Independent
software vendors will often offer binary packages for Debian, RedHat,
SuSE and Ubuntu, but just as often you will find that they narrow that
down to only packages for RedHat proper and Debian proper, and such
packages /may/ then also work on respectively SuSE (or Mandriva, or
Mageia, et al) or Ubuntu (or Mint), but this is not guaranteed.
Furthermore, there is also Slackware, which doesn't really have any
native package format - they just use tarballs with binary files or else
they compile from sources - and Slackware also has quite a number of
derivative distributions, several of which come as Live CDs.
You can't really narrow it down too much. Every distribution has their
own reasons for being, whether it is based on another distribution, or
forked from another distribution, or offering an entirely new approach
altogether - as e.g. was the case with Gentoo, which uses a sources-
based approach after the example of the FreeBSD ports system.
The way I see it, the main two distinctions are "popular" and "I can
think for myself". "Popular" is what the masses prefer, with a little -
actually, quite a lot - of coaxing by computer magazines and other hype
queens. "Popular" also means "I'm an absolute n00b and I want to stay
one too", because those distributions do not encourage you to learn
anything new and keep you locked into the same dumbed down consumerist
paradigm as you get from Microsoft Inc.
"I can think for myself" is everything else. And among those, there are
many distributions which I would consider "sufficiently user-friendly",
but they do not disguise the fact that it isn't Microsoft Windows or
Apple OS X that you're staring at on your screen. They don't stand in
your way if you want to learn something and do more with your system
than what the typical household kitchen sink computer user does with it.
You may take all of the above with a grain of salt, because that's my
view on it all, and I'm not exactly the average Joe Sixpack. I'm not a
flock person; I follow my own path in life and in just about everything.
That's why I've never accepted Microsoft Windows as "the standard
operating system" for an x86-based computer, or MS-DOS before that. I
already knew of alternative operating systems long before I had a
computer of my own, and I was already running 32-bit OS/2 when other
people were still running DOS 5.0/6.x (with Windows 3.x) or Windows 95.
My only conscious decision to use Windows was Windows NT (when other
people were running Windows 95/98), and only as a compromise solution,
and then even still I only wasted two years on that. After that I
discovered GNU/Linux, and with it, the operating system I had always
wanted to have.
At the moment, I have two distributions installed on this machine here.
One is an older 32-bit PCLinuxOS installation - because that hard disk
came from another, broken computer, and I'm keeping it around as a
failsafe system - and the other is 64-bit Mageia 1. Mageia 1 is also
already old by now - the current release is Mageia 3 - but it suits my
needs and I have my own ways of securing my operating system. I do such
(now considered) exotic things as having the system installed across
multiple filesystems which all have distinct mount options, and I have
tweaked PAM and friends. All of those are things which used to be quite
common in the UNIX world several years ago, before the invasion of the
GNU/Linux world by lazy and demanding Windows refugees.
It is my experience and conviction that if you're going to introduce
absolute newbies to GNU/Linux way of distributions like Ubuntu or Mint,
then you're giving them a fish, but then you'll be feeding them fish for
the rest of your life. (Note: Canonical doesn't even want to identify
itself with the GNU/Linux community anymore, as it no longer refers to
its distribution as GNU/Linux, but rather as "the Canonical Operating
If on the other hand you introduce those newbies to GNU/Linux by way of
a decent quality distribution such as Mageia, PCLinuxOS, Debian or
openSUSE, then you're feeding them a fish for today, but at the same
time you're then also giving them a fishing course, and they will be
able to feed themselves from there on.
= Aragorn =
GNU/Linux user #223157 - http://www.linuxcounter.net