Types of Linux

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One of the great benefits of Linux is that it's an open source kernel with code that is constantly being updated and altered by different developers. A consequence of this is that there are many distributions of Linux. The Linux kernel – called a kernel because it’s considered the original core based on Unix, and not the whole of the operating system - is still the same basis for each distribution but different distributions provide different services for the public. For example, whether you want a Linux desktop, server, virtualization or other service, will affect the distribution that you’ll need. Many distributions will offer many of the same services and many of the most popular distributions are actually variants of each other, as you'll see below. 

Debian: Debian is also referred to as Debian GNU/Linux. As with other variants, Debian was intended to provide a free operating system based off Linux and it is more often used on servers than the workstation. The server version has no GUI, which can make it confusing to use for an inexperienced webmaster. Although Debian can be used for both desktops and servers, programmers prefer to use it on servers as the Debian inspired variants like Ubuntu tend to work better on desktops. One disadvantage is that Debian only releases new updates every year or more. 

The open source community is a dynamic one, read the forums to find out which Linux variant is best for your VDS or dedicated server

Ubuntu: Ubuntu was originally based off Debian’s free software. It has become one of the more popular Linux distributions today considered as it is to be very user-friendly. It can be used on servers, desktops, and as a cloud, however it’s currently most popular on desktops. Ubuntu is compatible with the following hardware: dell, Lenovo, HP, IBM, Acer, Asus, Toshiba, Intel, VMware and others. Ubuntu has free community support through a user forum on their website.

Red Hat: Red Hat markets itself as offering enterprise ready solutions and products from Red Hat Enterprise. Their products include Linux desktops, servers, virtualization for desktops and servers, storage and software appliances, satellite to manage multiple servers, cloud computing, numerous JBoss platforms, and a slew of add-ons. Red Hat is the best Linux distribution for new users as they offer full support on all products from every stage. Most other distributions in contrast require some programming experience.  

Red Hat is the best Linux distribution for new users as they offer full support on all products from every stage.

Fedora: Fedora was established in 2003 as a project founded by Red Hat. Fedora can be used for a desktop or server, just like CentOS and Red Hat. It’s considered to be multifunctional and stable with a very nice interface. Both Ubuntu and Fedora have similar layout and interface to a Mac, which can make it easier to work with for users that are familiar with the Mac OS. An new update is released every 6 months in order to maintain constant development and improvements.  Fedora also has thousands of compatible applications that are supported.

CentOS  : Like Fedora, CentOS was originally built as a variant of Red Hat and like many other distributions, it’s also free of charge. CentOS is one of the more common versions used on servers at hosting companies, however it also provides a stable environment for a desktop system and for virtualization. It’s a simpler distribution that’s been well-tested and is considered very reliable, but it doesn’t support all of the new hardware or the most recent Linux technology as some of its competitors like Fedora. 

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