Technical Recipes

How to choose Linux distribution

People may debate passionately about which Linux distro is the best. It really depends on your personal preferences. I am here to provide the necessary information for you to choose from and I'll tell you how I made my decision.
First of all, all the Linux distributions are based on the same Linux kernel with various versions. Each distribution may fall into the three major categories:
    - Source-based: Slackware, Gentoo, etc.
    - .rpm package: Red Hat, SuSE, CentOS, Fedora,  etc.
    - .deb package: Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, etc.
Suse Linux and Red Hat Linux both derived from Slackware. Red Hat developed the RPM package system, and SuSE adopted it.
Main issues we need to concerns when we choose a particular distributions are:

    - Server-oriented or desktop-oriented
        Server-oriented: RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux), CentOS, Debian, etc.
        Desktop-oriented: Ubuntu (based On Debian), Fedora (based on Red Hat), etc.
    - Memory footprint
        CentOS: 50M
    - GUI desktop
        KDE, Gnome (Ubuntu)
    - Command to install packages
        Red Hat (CentOS): yum
        Debian: opt-get
        SuSE: yast
What you have to do here is to concentrate on the back end as to what are the features each of these OS provides like virtualization, stability, performance, user friendliness, easy configuration etc.
Below are some facts you need to know, which are quoted from the referenced articles:

"CentOS is often seen as a reliable server distribution. It comes with the same set of well-tested and stable Linux kernel and software packages that form the basis of its parent, Red Hat Enterprise Linux."
"CentOS is built from Red Hat's RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) source code, which is freely available at the Raleigh, NC company's ftp site. It's positioned as a free or low-cost server alternative to RHEL 5."
"Given that RHEL uses the Linux kernel they have to release their work as source code. That is what becomes CentOS."
"Another reason for CentOS' data-center popularity is that CentOS is easy to set up as a server.  it easy to maintain, easier to manage, and very fast."
"CentOS (as with RHEL) is designed as a server or workstation OS. It should be reliable, stable and (relatively) lightweight. Fedora is designed to be used at home."
"Debian is a little bit less popular amongst high traffic sites."
"Debian usage is also below average in USA and Canada."

"Debian it takes a little more administration skills."
"I use Debian on my Desktop and CentOS on servers."
"So I would say go with CentOS if it is a server."

Now you know what my choice is. It's pretty obvious if you need to run a production server. You may say the fact I quoted is biased. Actually I was convinced after reviewed tons of discussions online before I made the final decision. And the fact is: I like Debian better since it's pretty user-friendly and I set up my CVS server quickly on Debian in the virtual machine environment. If you are still not convinced, you can refer to the references below or do your own research.