Major Linux distributions and comparison between major linux distributions

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (Refer previous lesson)

Fedora Linux (Refer previous lesson)

Ubuntu: Ubuntu is considered to be the most popular Linux distributions and it was first announced in September 2004. The brain behind Ubuntu is Mark Shuttleworth who is a South African technocrat.

Ubuntu web site:

Pros: Great community of users and developers, great documentation, up to date packages, fast release cycle.

Cons: Some of Ubuntu's own software are proprietary.

SuSE Linux (Now under Novell): SUSE (Software und System Entwicklung) project was started in 1992 by four German Linux enthusiasts Roland Dyroff, Thomas Fehr, Hubert Mantel and Burchard Steinbild.

SUSE web sites: SUSE web site: and

Pros: Up-to-date, easy to use, good looking, stable.

Cons: Speed and performance.

Mandriva (Before Mandrake): Mandriva Linux was launched by Gael Duval in July 1998 under the name of Mandrake Linux. At first, it was just a re-mastered edition of Red Hat Linux with the more user-friendly KDE desktop, but the subsequent releases also added various user-friendly touches. Mandriva headquarters is located at Paris.

Mandriva web site:

Pros: Highly up-to-date, easy to use, good looking desktop, good community support.

Cons: Unstable, releases are initially reserved to mandrivaClub members and then made public after several weeks.

Debian: Debian is one of the oldest and stable GNU/Linux distributions. It was created in 1993 by Ian Murdock who named it after the combination of his own name and his girlfriend Debra.

Pros: Open-Source philosophy, non-commercial project, strong community, huge selection of packages and supported architectures, one of the best package management, excellent documentation, extremely stable and well-tested releases, modular, fast.

Debian web site:

Cons: Slow release cycle, text-based installer, lack of configuration tools

CentOS: CentOS is a community project (launched in 2003) with the goals of rebuilding the source code for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) into an installable Linux distribution and to provide timely security updates for all included software packages. We can say CentOS is a clone of RedHat Enterprise Linux.

CentOS web site:

Pros: Extremely well-tested, stable and reliable; free to download and use; comes with 5-years of free security updates; prompt releases and security updates

Cons: Lacks latest Linux technologies.

Knoppix (Live CD): Knoppix is a live CD version of Linux. Knoppix can be run in a machine with out installing it.

Knoppix web site:

Pros: Live Distribution, If the hardware is atleast 4 years old, then knoppix is a viable choice of installing and using Linux.

Cons: Knoppix is optimized for use as a live distro. So when installed on the hard-disk will boot up a bit slower than other distributions.

Related Tutorials
• UNIX History
• GNU/Linux Introduction
• GNU/Linux Concepts
• Difference between Fedora and RedHat Enterprise Linux