What are the types of Linux

The right Linux distribution for beginners

The Linux kernel is freely available, and currently around 350 more or less narrowly specialized distributions use this basis. In addition to countless Debian systems, there are also the Slackware and Red Hat branches as well as the smaller Arch and Gentoo branches. Many special and server systems are ruled out as end-user systems from the outset, many more are desktop-compatible, but unsuitable for those switching to Windows. Read in this article what we recommend to Linux beginners if they have current, older or even very old hardware.

1. Linux live systems to try out

An important tip in advance: Many popular Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Linux Mint, Open Suse and Debian are also available as so-called "live systems" that run directly from a DVD. You can usually find these live systems as a separate download on the developer's website.

You can therefore protect yourself against a Linux installation in two ways: When trying out a live system, you can first see whether you like the system, and second - more importantly - whether it fits the hardware. A perfectly functioning live system will not cause any hardware problems, even if it is installed. Note that a system installed on hard drive will run significantly faster than a live system from DVD.

Advantages and disadvantages of Linux

Advantages: Linux is free, portable, and clonable. Linux is also more secure because installed software comes from the distribution's trusted package sources. In general, Linux is a less attractive target due to its lower prevalence and a difficult one on top of that because the various distributions differ more technically than Windows versions.

Disadvantage: In contrast to Windows, hardware manufacturers do not provide an optimized Linux driver for every device. Some exotic devices therefore do not work or do not work optimally. Energy-saving mechanisms on notebooks that have been optimized for Windows bring battery runtimes that cannot be achieved under Linux. There are also gaps in the software - especially in games and some high-quality Adobe and Microsoft products.

2. Pre-sorting for those switching to Windows

There must be a bit of Linux family history, because you can use it to roughly pre-sort: Gentoo and Arch-based systems are islands for Linux connoisseurs and therefore definitely unsuitable for those who switch to Windows. With regard to the Red Hat systems, two distributions should be emphasized that are suitable for more technically experienced switchers:

Almost every new version of Fedora Linux is an eye-catcher and Linux trendsetter with innovative functions. However, Fedora is neither trimmed for frugality (in case you want to replace older Windows with newer Linux) nor for beginner-friendliness. The installation already poses a number of hurdles and should therefore overwhelm typical Windows users.

Mageia is also part of the Red Hat family. It is the only variant there that is clearly aimed at the end-user desktop. The installation wizard is one of the best that Linux has to offer. The only thing that speaks against Mageia at the moment is that the young distribution (since 2010) has no tradition and its sustainability is uncertain.

Open Suse is the only Slackware descendant to be mentioned here. For over a decade it was almost unchallenged the only Linux that aimed at the end-user desktop with comfortable graphical operation and configurability. The rock-solid, albeit complex, distribution has lost some of its importance in favor of the Ubuntu family in recent years. With avant-garde functions such as the young file system BTRFS, Open Suse is also actively moving away from the mainstream itself and is now more likely to serve the wishes of Linux enthusiasts.

Ubuntu is a Debian descendant and the first choice for beginners and those switching. Since the first version in 2004, Ubuntu has become the most popular distribution and the quasi-standard for end-user Linux. If you need a functioning and stable system quickly, without having to deal with the system itself and the administration, this is the right place for you. In contrast to many other Linux alternatives, every newcomer can get along with the exemplary graphical installer ("Ubiquity"). In addition, the Ubuntu family offers different equipment variants for every taste with an identical base. The differences between these variants are firstly in the individual user interface (desktop) and secondly in the software supplied.