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Discussion on: Explain the different popular Linux distros

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karandpr profile image
Karan Gandhi

All the popular distros ? No one can do that. I will explain few of them.

1.) Linux Mint : It's Ubuntu LTS based distro with Cinnamon & MATE as desktop environments. It's beginner friendly and just works. Release cycle is 6 months and upgrade is available. They also have a debian based version called Linux Mint Debian Edition(LMDE) which is rolling distro. Using it for 10ish years and I like Cinnamon a lot.

2.)Ubuntu : Ubuntu is Debian based distro. It's also beginner friendly. The LTS versions have support for 5 years which are released in a gap of 2 years every April (16.04, 18.04, 20.4). Non LTS versions are released every 6 months but have support of 9 months (18.10,19.04,19.10). The versioning format YEAR.MONTH.
You will see LTS versions in digitalocean/linode droplets. GNOME Is the default desktop but previously they had unity. Personally I have never warmed to Ubuntu. And I am trying since Ubuntu 8 I guess.

3.)Kubuntu: Kubuntu is Ubuntu with KDE Desktop Environment. The reason I have mentioned it separately is because it's a pretty solid distro. I think Kubuntu is the best KDE distro. KDE Neon is neat too.

4.)Fedora/CentOS/Red Hat: CentOS is commonly used in servers. Fedora is base distro for GNOME Desktop Environment. I have neutral outlook towards fedora.

5.)Arch Linux: It's defacto linux if you like documentation(Arch wiki is awesome) and memes. It's a rolling distribution so you never have to do a reinstall. It uses pacman for package management. Installing Arch grants uses super powered bragging rights.

6.)Manjaro :Manjaro is Arch for new users. It's good. I use it's KDE version.

7.)Elementary: It's again Ubuntu based distribution but has UI of MacOS. Thats about it.

8.)openSUSE: It's another enterprise distribution. It has 2 version , Leap and Tumbleweed. Leap is tested distribution and Tumbleweed is rolling distribution. YaST is really good. I prefer openSUSE for GNOME Desktop version.

9.)Debian : Debian is parent of Ubuntu and others. It's plain and solid. Thats about it.

10.)Puppy Linux: It's the distro you should sue if you have low specs. Like Pentium 4 + 256MB ram. It's very small and very fast.

11.)Gentoo: Gentoo is a distro you use if you want to look down Arch users. Portage is the package management utility used. You can try Sabayon if you want something easier.

12.)MX Linux : I like it for some reasons. Just install it. Based on AntiX Linux. Uses XFCE DE.

13.)Tails : Tails is privacy focused distro. Network Communication is over Tor and it's to be used in Live environment.

14.)Kali : So you want to be hacker. Installing Kali is step no. #1.

15.)ParrotOS: Parrot is similar to Kali.

16.)BlackArch : BlackArch has shitload of tools for Security and stuff. But it has window managers which take some time to adjust.

17.)Rasbian: It's debian for Raspberry Pi

18.)Solus : Solus is distro for Budgie Desktop Environment. I like Budgie DE.

tl;dr
Use Linux Mint if newbie , use Kali for Hacking , use Tails for privacy , use CentOS for servers, use Arch for memes.

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madza profile image
Madza • Edited

I was hoping to see more Arch mentioned..

..on memes xdd

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karandpr profile image
Karan Gandhi

Imagine being in a linux distro discussion and none use Arch btw.

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madza profile image
Madza

IMPOSSIBRU XDD

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stereoplegic profile image
Mike Bybee

Great rundown, but I'd personally caveat one specific use case: Penetration testing/"hacking."

Kali is typically not intended/recommended for permanent install on bare metal. You can, but its package management can be extremely brittle, a rarity in the world of Debian-based distros (I'd go so far as to say it's worse than its predecessor, the Ubuntu-based Backtrack, in that regard), and forget about adding many (if any) third party repositories. Typically, you'll find Kali used on a thumb drive or in a VM.

Parrot Security OS borrows a lot from Kali (many of its pentest tools come from directly from Kali), but it's designed with bare metal installs in mind (they even have a "Home" variant with none of the pentesting tools installed), and offers better sandboxing with those installs considered (with tools installed which can not only pwn others, but your own system, which is why Kali doesn't really cater to permanent installs).

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karandpr profile image
Karan Gandhi

Hi Mike. Thanks for the insight.
I never used Kali or Parrot OS for more than a day or two.
My insight about Kali / Parrot is based on the memes around them.
"Kali is used by hackers" --> "Parrot is just like Kali but better"

Mostly I can setup my Mint / MX installation with the tools I need and be done.
I am not sure about sandboxing prowess of Parrot Security so I will have to readup on that.
Though if I were to go for a pen-test distro, I would opt for BlackArch solely for their community aspect. I think their discord is pretty cool and the devs are quite active in their server.

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stereoplegic profile image
Mike Bybee

I use the BlackArch repos when I'm running something Arch-based (which I never end up sticking with), which is a much easier thing to do than bringing Kali or Parrot repos into any other Debian-based distro (do not do this, it is a path to infinite breakage and sadness), but I'm definitely not a fan of the BlackArch distro's minimal window manager (BlackBox or OpenBox IIRC).

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karandpr profile image
Karan Gandhi

I was going to install BlackArch + XFCE and this
github.com/Anyon3/blackmate

But dont want to break my already chimeric system(3 Linux + Windows on 2HDDs + SSD) cos work. :)

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stereoplegic profile image
Mike Bybee • Edited

Nice find! With a few tweaks, the script should be able to work with any XDG-compliant desktop, e.g. KDE (my choice for a while now, so easily and infinitely configurable and, believe it or not, on par with XFCE resource usage in recent releases), GNOME (though it won't matter with their default MacOS Launchpad clone menu, you'll need an alternate menu GNOME extension), Mate, Cinnamon, Budgie, etc.

I've thought about doing something similar to merge ubuntustudio-menu and kxstudio-menu and bring their structure to non Ubuntu-/Debian-based distros' menus for creative apps.

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stereoplegic profile image
Mike Bybee

Man, I never want to go back to bare metal Windows install again if I don't have to. Getting that way with MacOS too (wink wink).