Linux Distributions Explained

Linux is an operating system defined by Wikipedia as: a Unix-like and mostly POSIX-compliant computer operating system (OS) assembled under the model of free and open-source software development and distribution. The defining component of Linux is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on 5 October 1991 by Linus Torvalds. The Free Software Foundation uses the name GNU/Linux to describe the operating system, which has led to some controversy. What you need to understand is that generally speaking, Linux is a free operating system that you can download and install on a spare laptop or desktop today. The next question you might have is which one should you download.

There are several distributions, or flavors, of Linux. You should research each one and pick the distribution that matches your needs. In this article by Steven Ovadia, we get a description of each major distribution.

Distribution Stability Open-Source Ethos
Arch Cutting-edge software Completely up to the user
Debian Debian Stable is Stable. Testing has newer software Up to the user, but privileges free and open source ethos
Fedora Newer software, but relatively stable No proprietary software by default.
Mint Established software Includes some proprietary software
Ubuntu Established software Includes some proprietary software
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