Linux is a free and open-source operating system based on the Linux kernel. It was initially released in 1991 by Linus Torvalds. Now it is maintained by Linux Contributors from all around the world. Due to its open-source and community nature, anyone can contribute to Linux source code.
Here in this article, we are mainly going to discuss; What is Linux distribution and what are the major Linux distributions? Before discussing what Linux distribution is, let us know what Linux is.
What is Linux?
Linux is a user-friendly operating system that comprises Bootloaders, Kernel, Daemons, Shells, Graphical Servers, Desktop Environments, and applications.
It is mainly an Internet-based operating system that is practically everywhere – from phones to cars, from refrigerators to stock exchanges. Even Android is based on Linux Kernel.
It can also embed supercomputers and run on desktops & servers. All the major hosting companies use Linux on their servers. Thus, Linux is often considered the most trusted operating system.
What is a Linux Distribution?
A Linux Distribution is a customized operating system tweaked as per user requirements. A Linux Distribution is typically based on Linux Kernel, an open-source Unix-like system kernel, or sometimes a package management system, and an automated operating system.
Linux users can download these Linux Distributions which are available in a variety of systems depending on their requirements. The most popular Linux Operating System is Ubuntu. It is the best alternative to the Windows operating system.
Moreover, Linux and Linux Distributions are two different things. Linux is an operating system, whereas Linux Distributions are the tweaked version of the Linux operating system.
Note:- Ubuntu Linux is the most popular Linux distribution. It is easy to use with its user-friendly user interface. As a result, this makes Ubuntu the best beginner-friendly Linux distribution.
Major Linux Distributions
To make a distribution, Linux can be combined with several software packages. Currently, more than 300 Linux distributions are actively maintained. However, we can categorize them into the following groups:
Debian-Based: Debian-based Linux Distributions was first designed in the year 1993. It is one of the oldest Linux distributions and later serves as a benchmark for other renowned distributions that use .deb packages. Core Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and SteamOS are a few examples.
These distributions are universally accepted and support almost all CPU architectures. Most of the Debian-based distributions use two package managers – Apt and Aptitude.
RMP-based: The RMP-based Linux Distribution was first designed by Red Hat in the year 1997. An RPM package comprises an arbitrary set of files which are mostly “binary RPMs” that contain the compiled version of any specific software package.
With GPG and MD5, RPM packages can be verified cryptographically. Some of the popular RPM-based Linux distributions are RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), CentOS, Fedora, OpenSuse, and Mageia.
Other distinctive Linux Distributions
As discussed before a Linux distribution can be of many sorts depending on the user’s requirements. Here is a list of some noteworthy Linux distributions:
Arch Linux: Arch Linux uses Pacman, their personalized package manager. The distribution doesn’t come with Graphical Installers and uses terminals to manifest the whole installation process.
Slackware Linux: Powered by simple codes, Slackware is the oldest Linux distribution that is still in operation. The distribution software packages are compiled by either system managers or its regular users as it lacks a package manager.
KDE: KDE is often considered the most advanced desktop manager. It comprises a wide range of applications that produces a comprehensive desktop environment.
Gnome: Gnome is arguably the most popular Linux distribution mainly because it can integrate plug-ins to develop extensive applications. Gnome is an open-source distribution that is ideal for older hardware configurations.
Other honorable mentions: Cinnamon, Xfce, LXDE, Unity, and Gentoo.
Linux is a smartly managed operating system that can be easily installed and managed. With the help of proper distribution, the users can easily explore their potential and discover new traits to improve the software development industry.
I hope you got the idea about Linux and Linux distribution. Now, which Linux distribution you should choose will depend on what you’re doing with it and your personal preferences. If you’re a desktop user, you’ll probably want something simple, like Ubuntu or Mint. Some people may prefer Fedora, OpenSUSE, Mageia, or Kali Linux. If you liked the article then you can share it with your friends.
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