Entering the Linux World
As I have embarked on finding the right Linux distro I have observed a great deal about the Linux world. Where Linux is quite popular in other countries, there is an undercurrent of Linux users in the US. Now, I know there are probably hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people even in the US that use Linux, but compared to the Microsoft Windows users out there, that is a drop in the bucket. Generally, this minority of Linux users are intelligent people that enjoy using Linux for it's power and stability. This great strength of the community is also it's biggest problem. Since there are lots of smart people using Linux (that seem to already know how to use it), good and understandable instructions on using it are often hard to come by, or lack thoroughness at best. So as I searched for the "best" Linux distro, there wasn't much help that was immediately available. (Unlike what you would find for Windows)
Which Linux Distro is the "BEST"?
I was in search for the best distro, and all I could really find is, "There is no 'best.' It comes down to a matter of personal preference." Which is no help to a newb like me... I want some good pros and cons about a particular distro and more importantly, concise and easily "digestible." Give me bullet points dammit! So as I Googled around I stumbled across a really neat site geared for the most ignorant computer user or an experienced Linux user wanting to try something new. When I go into a store and I am seriously comparing some products, I am looking for a sales rep to sell me on a particular brand. Now, that doesn't mean I'm going to buy it, but I want some convincing reasons to buy one product over the other. Of course I will take this info and scour the Internet and read forums and user opinions. But I want someone to tell me what they think I should buy! This site does that for me.
The Linux Distro Test
Zegenie Studios has an easy little test with relevant questions for the most novice Linux user. Answer each question honestly and it will point you to what suites your Linux "skills" the most. I have taken the test numerous times and have massaged the answers a little differently each time. (Which I would recommend) The top three recommendations I received over and over were 1. Ubuntu 2. Mandriva One and 3. PCLinuxOS. There were a few extra distros that almost made the cut including: Kubuntu, Mepis and Xandros. One of my main criteria was FREE. I don't want to pay for what, in my mind, is unproven. Another neat feature that I would suggest is a "Live CD". This is basically a bootable CD that allows you to check out the distro, without having to fully commit a piece of your hard drive to this new (and shall I say foreign) operating system. There are lots of instructions on how to boot your computer with a CD, especially on the individual distribution sites themselves. There are also great differences in how some these distributions work, so take a look and read the FAQ and Wikis at each site. And once you have chosen a distribution read, read, read, read, read.