A complete explanation of Linux distributions, and what’s the difference? – If you’ve heard anything about the Linux OS, you’ve probably also heard of Linux distributions or what are often shortened to “Linux distributions.” When deciding to use Linux OS on a desktop or server computer, the first thing you need to know first is what Linux distro is and which is your choice.
For most people, especially new Linux users, they consider that Ubuntu has become synonymous with Linux. But you need to know that Ubuntu is one of the many Linux distributions available, and you still have many choices when it comes to using the Linux OS. If you take a look at the distrowatch site, you will find about 308 Linux distros listed.
What is a Linux distro?
Linux OS is not like Windows OS or Mac OS X. Microsoft combines all bits of Windows internally to produce each new Windows release and distribute them as a single package. If you want Windows, you’ll need to choose one of the versions offered by Microsoft.
As for the Linux OS it works differently. Where the Linux operating system is not produced by a single organization but different organizations and people working in different parts. There is the Linux kernel (the core of the operating system), GNU shell utilities (the terminal interface and many of the commands you use), the X server (which produces a graphical desktop), the desktop environment (which runs on an X server to provide a graphical desktop), and more. . System services, graphical programs, terminal commands, many of which are developed independently of others. All of them are open source software (Open Source) which is distributed in source code form.
If you want and are really good at programming, you can grab source code for the Linux kernel, GNU shell utilities, Xorg X server, and every other program on a Linux system, and you can assemble them all yourself. However, compiling the software will take a lot of time, not to mention the work involved with getting all the different programs to work well together.
Linux distributions (Distros) do the hard work for you, taking all the code from the linux source code project and compiling it for you, combining it into one operating system that you can boot up and install. They also make choices for you, such as choosing the default desktop environment, browser, and other software. Most distributions add their own finishing touches, such as themes and custom software, for example the Ubuntu Unity desktop environment.
When you want to install new software (software) or update a new version of software with important security updates, the distribution you are using already provides it in compiled, packaged form. It’s quick and easy to install, so you don’t have to do the legwork yourself.
Are Linux Distros Different?
Yes, each linux distro does have differences, there are several different Linux distributions (distributions). Many have different philosophies depending on their respective organizations. For example like Fedora, which refuses to include closed source software, while others such as Linux Distro Mint include closed source for user convenience. They include different standard software – like how Ubuntu includes Unity, Ubuntu derivatives include other desktop environments, Fedora includes GNOME Shell, and Mint includes Cinnamon or MATE.
Many Linux distributions use different package managers, configuration utilities, and other software. Some distributions exist that will not receive support for very long. Others, such as Ubuntu LTS or Red Hat Enterprise Linux, are designed to be stable distributions that will be supported by security updates and bug fixes over the years.
Some Linux Distributions (Distros) are intended for desktop computers, some for servers without a graphical interface, and others for specialized uses, such as home theater PCs. Read: Best Linux Server Distro In 2019
Some Linux Distributions (Distros) are designed to work out of the box like Ubuntu, while others require a little more tweaking, such as Arch Linux.
Which Linux Distro Should I Choose?
Different Linux distributions (Distros) are suitable for different purposes. Which Linux distribution you should choose will depend on what you are going to do with it and your personal preferences.
If you’re a desktop user, you’ll probably want something simple, like Ubuntu or Mint. Some people may prefer Fedora, openSUSE, or Mageia (based on Mandriva Linux).
People looking for a more stable and tested operating system might want to go with Debian, CentOS (the free version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux), or even Ubuntu LTS. Read → Complete Guide: How to Install Linux Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Desktop.
For more details about which Linux distro is the right choice, you can read my next article here: 10 best Linux OS distributions to suit your needs.
And that’s my explanation of Linux distributions or distributions, hopefully this article adds to your knowledge of linux distros and understands the differences in linux distros. Hopefully this is useful 🙂