The Great Distro Review Starts Today

The Great Distro Review starts today.

There’s great evidence right before us of the increasing interest in and popularity of Linux. At present, there are more than 40 distributions of the venerable OS, ranging from giant RedHat to Cosix. In between, you’ll find distributions like Happy, Gentoo and Vector. The range of default features and packages is breathtaking and, if you’re new to the OS, confusing. Over the next few weeks, I’ll give it my best shot to lay out the facts about the various distributions, as well as the features, advantages, disadvantages, and gotchas that lie within each. By necessity, I’ll rely heavily on some outside resources. will be one of those. If you’re looking for a comprehensive view of each distribution, down to the smallest minutia, DistroWatch is a great place to follow along.

Because the scope of Linux distributions is so broad, it’ll be impossible for me to give every one a fair and thorough review. So, over the next several weeks, I’ll take a couple of days a week to look at the “Big 6” Linux distributions – the aformentioned RedHat, Mandrake, Debian, Slackware, Suse, and TurboLinux. Over the weeekend I blanked my version of RedHat and installed one of these distributions on my beloved box at home. I’ll be installing and playing with all of them over the course of the review. There’s no better way to gain insight than to play, and play I will. And I’ll let your questions guide my play, both those you’ve asked and those I’m sure are to come.

So, with a MelloYello and a fresh banana at my side for energy, let’s take a look at the basics of price, documentation and download sites in part one of the Great Distro Review.

Linux kernel2.
DocumentationHard copyHard copyHard copyOnlineOnlineHard copy
Free versionYesYesYesYesYesNo

Tomorrow, I’ll introduce you to Mandrake 8.1 and tell you how the install went this weekend.