If you’re diving into the world of Linux, make sure you pick the right package for you: different distros make a difference.
Your favorite Linux distribution isn’t an individual unit in itself. On the inside, it is made up of various apps, libraries, modules, and toolkits. On the outside, it’s part of a much larger and very vibrant ecosystem that sustains several other distros. Also part of this larger Linux ecosystem is very active user communities and various support infrastructures that help nourish the distros and other projects. Over the course of their lifetime, the different elements of the Linux ecosystem interact with each other as well as with their environment. They collaborate, exchange ideas and features, and sometimes swap resources for their mutual benefit as well as for the enhancement of the ecosystem. The Linux ecosystem fosters the development of innovative projects and products. However, since the environment can only sustain so many elements, the distros go through an evolutionary process of their own to weed out the weaklings and ensure the survival of the fittest. Through this process, the uninteresting, dull and unsustainable projects begin to perish. However, the strong ones survive, thrive and pass on their code to the next generation of derivative distros. In this feature, we’ll classify the popular distros as per their origins. We’ll analyze how they’ve evolved since their inception, and look at the unique traits they have passed on to derivatives that help distinguish them from their peers. We’ll also look at the best distro from each distro genus and then pit them against each other to help you pick the distro that is just right for you.
Genus Debian OS Download
Made of free software and evolving.
The Debian project has played a significant role in the evolution of Linux and, in many ways, is the first real distribution created for the regular computer user. It was announced on August 1993 and had its first public release later that year, although its first stable release wasn’t available until 1996. The project was even sponsored by the Free Software Foundation from November 1994 to November 1995. A key motivating factor that led Ian Murdock to create a new distro was the perceived poor maintenance and prevalence of bugs in the Softlanding Linux System (SLS) distro. Besides the software itself, Murdock’s release included the Debian Linux Manifesto, which outlined his view for the new project, which prophesied that “distributions are essential to the future of Linux”.In the Manifesto, he called for the distro to be maintained openly, in the spirit of Linux and GNU. One of the most significant goals for the distro was to “eliminate the need for the user to locate, download, compile, install and integrate a fairly large number of essential tools to assemble a working Linux system”.In order to meet this goal, Debian developers made a significant contribution to the Linux world — the dpkg package manager. This was originally written as a Perl program by Matt Welsh, Carl Streeter and Ian Murdock, and the main part of the tool was rewritten by Ian Jackson who became Debian Project Leader in 1998.It really is no surprise then that Debian is one of the most popular choices for derivative projects with over 130 active distros based on Debian (Source: http://distrowatch.com), including the likes of Ubuntu and a version of Linux Mint.
The project also provides guidelines to help the derivative distros merge their work back into Debian. In addition to the derivatives, there are several ‘Pure Blends’; these are subsets of Debian configured to support a particular niche, such as Debian Edu, Debian Junior, and Debian Med. Debian also supports a variety of platforms, including Intel i386 and above, Alpha, ARM, IntelIA-64, Motorola 68k, MIPS, PA-RISC, PowerPC, Sparc and more.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
Another distinguishing aspect of Debian is that the distro is made entirely of free software. The project uses the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) to help determine whether a piece of software can be included. The DFSG is part of the Debian Social Contract which defines the moral agenda of the project. The project produces three distros: Stable, Testing and Unstable. A Stable release is available every two years and is made by freezing the Testing release for a few months. Testing is designed to be the preview distro with newer packages and during the freeze, any bugs are fixed and extremely buggy packages are removed. All releases are named after characters from the Toy Story films (the current Stable release is codenamed, Jessie). All new packages are introduced in the Unstable release (codenamed Sid). This distro is for developers who require the latest packages and libraries. It’s not intended to be used on a production machine and those interested must upgrade Debian Testing to get the latest Unstable.
Download Link: https://www.debian.org/distrib/
Derivatives, they’re coming outta the walls.
Ubuntu is, in many respects, the first distro to make a serious effort to bring in new users. The distro brought Linux into the mainstream, played a significant part in changing the notion and misconceptions about Linux and was able to successfully pitch itself as a viable OS alternative to Windows and macOS.
Ubuntu was started by Mark Shuttleworth. He formed Canonical after selling his security firm, Thawte, to VeriSign. Shuttleworth was a huge fan of the Debian project. However, there were many things about Debian that didn’t fit in with Shuttleworth’s vision of an ideal OS. He therefore invited a dozen or so Debian developers he knew and respected to his flat in London in April 2004 and hashed out the groundwork for the Ubuntu project.
The group decided on a bunch of characteristics for the distro. For one, Ubuntu’s packages would be based on those from Debian’s unstable branch. Trisquel GNU/Linux Trisquel GNU/Linux goes to great lengths to do justice to its free software tag. Not only does the distro not include any proprietary software, it also strips out all non-free code from the components it inherits from Ubuntu, such as the kernel. Instead of the stock Ubuntu kernel, Trisquel uses the Linux-libre kernel that doesn’t include any binary blobs. Thanks to its efforts, the distro has been endorsed by the Free Software Foundation. There are several variants of the distro, the most common ones are the standard Trisquel release, which is available as a 700MB image with the Gnome desktop, and Trisquel mini, which is designed for older hardware and low-power systems, and uses LXDE, the lightweight desktop. While the distro doesn’t ship with any proprietary codecs, you can watch YouTube videos as it provides HTML5 support as well as Gnash, which is the free alternative to Adobe Flash. Trisquel includes all the usual desktop productivity apps, such as LibreOffice, Evolution, Gwibber, Pidgin and more. These are complemented by an impressive software repository. However, unlike Debian, Ubuntu was to have a predictable cycle with frequent releases. To put the plan into action, it was decided that Ubuntu would release updated versions every six months and each release would receive free support for nine months. The plan was refined in later years and now every fourth release receives long-term support (LTS) for five years.
The group also decided to give emphasis to localisation and accessibility in order to appeal to users across the world. There was also a consensus on concentrating development efforts on ease of use and user-friendliness of the distro on the desktop. The first release of Ubuntu was in October 2004.
Ubuntu’s development is funded by Shuttleworth’s Canonical, which is a privately held computer software company. The company also supports development of other Ubuntu-related projects, for instance, Ubuntu’s Ubiquity installer is one of the best tools for the job, and one of its distinguishing features is that it gives users the option to install closed source or patented third-party software, such as Fluendo’s MP3 codec. Other useful user-centric projects that have tried to change the status quo are the Ubuntu Software Center and the recently discontinued Ubuntu One cloud hosting service.
TEST BY FIRE
But perhaps no other piece of technology has polarised the Linux community like Ubuntu’s Unity desktop interface. The distro first introduced Unity with the Ubuntu Netbook Edition version 10.10. By the time 11.04 rolled off the press, the Netbook Edition had merged into the desktop edition and Unity became the default graphical interface for the Ubuntu distro. However, Shuttleworth has insisted that the Unity desktop plays a crucial role in Ubuntu’s multi-device strategy. Unity will help standardise the display on smartphones, tablets, TV and other devices beyond the computer.