The Best Linux Distro? or The Great Linux WAR.

I’m trying to answer to the questions: What’s the best linux distribution?
Are good so many distros of Linux?.
The answers are very personal and it’s only my view of point about this.
All distros have great and interesting features (and differences)
to share with the rest …

There are a lot of linux distros, there are small, medium and big linux distributions (They fits
from a simple floppy, ZIP disk, CD-ROM to a DVD format), there are
simplisted, very completed (9000 packages),
gerenals, specifics, secured, embedded, minis, wireless, diskless,
region specific, non graphical (text mode),
GUI desktop, easy, hard, platform specific, etc …

In are trying to enumerate
all the avaliables linux distros.
They have around 280 distros, that are organizated into several categories:

  • Leading Distributions
  • Also well-known
  • Non-technical desktop
  • Education
  • General Purpose
  • Country-specific
  • Embedded Distributions
  • Handhelds/PDAs
  • Secured Distributions
  • Special Purpose/Mini
  • Floppy-based
  • CD-based
  • Zip disk-based
  • Small Disk
  • Wireless
  • Hardware-specific
    • Alpha
    • ARM
    • Beowulf
    • IBM
    • Oracle’s NIC
    • PA-RISC
    • PowerPC
    • Sparc
    • Older Intel
  • DOS/Windows install
  • Diskless Terminal
  • Historical (Non-active)

Oh no!!!, that’s horrible, there are at least 280 linux distributions,
all of them differents and with its particularities and flavours.
But this is all the contrary, you have liberty, you can choose
the best distro than fits with yours necesities and solve yours problems.

Sometime ago I read that “Unix are like the panel of a
Radio-Cassete of a car, if you can manage/control one, then you will control
all the differents models/marks/versions”, and is true.
First you learn the basic (comun for all version of unix) and then with the
help of man, info, doc, howto’s, try’&’error, etc… you can administration
all the unix’s (of course your need some time to learn the
differents ways to do the job)
, because all have the same base and the same philosophy.

When I say unix, you can undestand linux distro too,
where the differents are always lesser.

I think it’s good that they have many distros to choosen,
because everyone have his unique “features” and caracteristiques,
and then they compites to be more better than the other.
Everyday a linux distro has to be better of all the rest, then they
make news features, (R&D) I+D, news releases, better support.
And all of this is good for Linux.
But it’s very important that all complains the linux standard bases, to
avoid problems withs instalations and execution of programs.

Gaël Duval, founder of Mandrake Linux explains it better:
“Diversity is always good. It allows new experimentations and eventually fits
new needs. If a new Linux distribution brings nice innovations and respects
the open source spirit, then Mandrake-Linux will include them. Also one of
the advantage of Linux, is that you have a Desktop and a Server in the same
product. This leads to a new and different usage of computers.”

All distros have their own support for Community,
colaborating in the projects that they think are more interesting.
Here are some examples of this support:

  • SuSE:
    • ReiserFS
    • Xfree86
    • Kernel
    • KDE
    • ALSA
    • USB
    • Compilador GCC
    • SITAR – System InformaTion At Runtime
  • Mandrake:
    • Kernel
    • KDE
    • Gnome
    • Prelude
    • HardDrake, DrakX and DiskDrake
    • PhpNuke
    • urpmi
  • Red Hat:
    • gcc
    • rpm
    • Kernel
    • Tux http server
    • Cygwin
  • Conectiva:
    • apt4rpm
    • Kernel
    • libservices
    • Device Drivers
    • gnome-linuxconf
    • Linuxconf
    • MacroSystem
    • NetFS
    • Parted
    • Porte Alpha
    • Regexx
    • X11
    • Synaptic
  • Others linux distros
    • ….

What I don’t like is the new (from version 7.0) polity of SuSE, of
not putting online a demo (not live-eval) of his distro.

Here you have the oficial explication for SuSE,
about NOT avaliavility ISO images for INTEL/AMD platforms:
(extracted from this URL:
ISO images of SuSE Linux:
SuSE Linux AG is one of the leading providers of Open Source software
worldwide: this forms the backdrop to the reason why we, too, have
committed ourselves to the support and further development of the
Open-Source community.
SuSE Linux AG, with over 100 full time developers, is making a
substantial contribution to the further development of the Linux Open
Source operating system and its related programs. We are one of the main
driving forces in the fields of development of the kernel, KDE, XFree86,
compiler, ALSA, USB and multiple-platforms, and we are in addition
supporting the internationalization of the Linux project.
In our SuSE Linux Open Source operating system we bring together a wide
range of freely available programs, applications and tools. This is our
carefully assembled product, which we provide and distribute for 6
platforms (Intel/AMD, IA64, PPC, AXP, S/390 and Sparc).
Above all we strive to ensure the high quality of SuSE Linux, and that
it is as up-to-date as possible. In addition we want to guarantee the
constant high quality of our documentation and our support, in the interest of all customers.
In order to be able to maintain this service in the future, as well as
meeting the accompanying wishes of our customers, we are dependent on
sales of our products and services, and must ensure that an adequate
cost structure exists within our company.
For the purposes of testing and evaluation, we have made a great effort
to provide a variation of SuSE Linux which does not have to be
installed, and which makes it extremely easy to try out SuSE Linux or examine its hardware requirements.
With our
SuSE Linux FTP
(4) version (SuSE Linux Professional, excluding
commercial program packages, which we are not allowed to offer on their
own for download) we provide a free service for all those who wish to
install SuSE Linux via FTP.

We are currently providing ISO images for download for most of
non-Intel/AMD/PPC platforms (IA64, S/390 and Sparc), since these
products cannot be made available everywhere, worldwide and at the
accustomed speed.”

Well, at least we have access to all (non-commercials)
packages of every new SuSE version in the
SuSE ftp(4) server
(5) (like
In this spanish article:

Paquetes binarios actualizados para SuSE Linux
(7) there are links to more
news SuSE rpm packages 😉

This linux distro’s heterogeneity are one of the secrets of the
enormous success of linux, because there are several solutions for the
same problems, and this effect are very enriching.
Sometime ago, here in Bulma(8), I read in
bulmailing(9) an
interesting message about distros, XFree86, video cards and linux:

The message are in spanish (I’m sorry for the inconvenience) but it explains
that: Someone have problems installing an ATI Rage 128 Pro TF
video card in Debian Sid, but it works ok with linux Mandrake, then using
the packages and drivers of Mandrake (converted with alien(10))
now the card works ok with Debian Sid.

Driver r128 y tarjeta ATI Rage 128 Pro TF

> > Pero me parece que esa tarjeta funciona sin problemas con el xfree,
> > sólo tienes que poner los datos correctos en el /etc/X11/XF86Config.
> Nohhr, tiene razón, si te fijas al cargar el driver ati no menciona
> la TF.
> Yo no me fijé , y perdí una mañanita detrás de la tarjetita 😛
Bueno pues eso, cambiando /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/drivers/ati_drv.o y
r128_drv.o por los de mkd a mi me ruló.
> > Resulta que tengo una tarjeta de video ATI Rage 128 Pro TF (AGP)
> > que no he podido configurar en mi Debian Sid.
> Me pasó lo mismo en el trabajo. Tienes razón, no está soportada con
> el driver de la sid.
> Yo lo solucioné a lo basto, copiando el driver de una Mandrake 8.1
> (Manda gués, no entiendo que esté más actualizada la mdk que la sid)
> Bueno pues eso, cambiando /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/drivers/ati_drv.o y
> r128_drv.o por los de mkd a mi me ruló.

La solución de Bernardo es efectiva 🙂
Lo que hice fué bajarme un paquete de mandrake llamado
pasarlo por el alien
dpkg -x nuevo_paquete.deb
y copiar ati_drv.o y r128_drv.o a /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/drivers/ y
de nuevo muchas gracias !

You can read this spanish article, that explains why there aren’t packages
of XFree4.2 in Debian Woody:

¿Por qué no han salido los paquetes de XFree4.2 en debian?
or the original post of Branden Robinson in

More Links about linux distros:

It’s very good for the Linux all this alternatives because:

  • Competition between distribution
  • More freedom to chose
  • I+D and feedback
  • Documentation
  • All have the same kernel –> the same core
  • Different solutions to the same problem
  • If a distro do anything good the rest narrow it (GPL philosophy)
  • Colaboration and good relations between distros
  • The distros do thing for the Community
  • The different distros would have to complain the standards (LSB)
  • . . .

The best linux distro, is the distro
that you know, use and enjoy every day …
because you choose it,

between more than 280 distros/alternatives.

$ alias carcoco=”echo Carlos Cortes”
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