LinuxQuestions.org
Welcome to the most active Linux Forum on the web.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie
User Name
Password
Linux - Newbie This Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!

Notices


Reply
  Search this Thread
Old 03-19-2009, 04:06 PM   #1
fzanella
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Feb 2009
Posts: 21

Rep: Reputation: 1
So many versions of LINUX


Why are there so many different versions of LINUX?
I've only used RHEL4. It seems every time I talk to someone about their LINUX experiences, a new version is mentioned I've never heard of before. Who creates all these versions and how difficult is it to learn one over another? Besided RedHat, which are most common versions? Our customers use SUSE.
 
Old 03-19-2009, 04:32 PM   #2
beachboy2
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jan 2007
Location: Wild West Wales, UK
Distribution: Ubuntu MATE, Mint MATE & antiX MX-15
Posts: 1,664
Blog Entries: 5

Rep: Reputation: 562Reputation: 562Reputation: 562Reputation: 562Reputation: 562Reputation: 562
fzanella,

Welcome to Linux Questions.

Have a look at a similar thread on a nearby post called, "What version is Best for a Newbie?"

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...newbie-712916/
 
Old 03-19-2009, 04:36 PM   #3
pljvaldez
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Dec 2005
Location: Somewhere on the String
Distribution: Debian Wheezy (x86)
Posts: 6,094

Rep: Reputation: 271Reputation: 271Reputation: 271
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_distribution
 
Old 03-19-2009, 04:39 PM   #4
Mark_667
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2005
Location: Manchester, England
Distribution: Ubuntu 14.10
Posts: 293

Rep: Reputation: 25
beachboy2, I don't think that's what he was asking.

To understand where all these distributions come from you've got to understand a little about the history of it all. Linux actually only refers to the OS kernel which is one thing that all Linux (properly called gnu/Linux) distributions have in common. Because all these Linux distributions use free software anyone can download and use, change or modify the code to suit their specific need. Having so many collaborators also means that new features can be added faster and bugs spotted and fixed sooner than in proprietary code.

Take a look at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_GPL_license
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linus_Torvalds
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_an...ource_software
 
Old 03-19-2009, 04:48 PM   #5
linus72
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Jan 2009
Location: Gordonsville-AKA Mayberry-Virginia
Distribution: PocketWriter/MinimalX
Posts: 5,087

Rep: Reputation: 337Reputation: 337Reputation: 337Reputation: 337
It's like a distro orgy!
Actually-just slice up your HD into slivers and install lots of them!
No, seriously you should do as I was told and use a Virtual Machine to "test drive" different distro's-like VMware/Virtualbox, etc
For a newbie-the multiple Ubuntu variants are good.
If you already know 'puters well-go with Slackware 12.2!
There are so many-but I say ditch Red Hat and SUSE.
Slackware is probably the most customizable distro-I think.
Really it boils down to what you want in terms of Applications, what kind of 'puter you have, HD size and RAM size.
If your a Gamer-then you could check out Ultimate Gamers Edition.
If your a programmer-well almost all are good for that-but check out BackPackProgrammersLiveCD.
If your a Christian-go with Ubuntu CE.
If your a Muslim-go with Ubuntu ME.
If your a Satanist, or just like Heavy Metal-go with Ubuntu SE.
If you want a custom distro-check out Slax or NimbleX(or GoblinX/Wolvix).
If HD size or RAM is an issue(or older hardware), go with DSL/Slitaz/Absolute 12.2/CrunchBang 8.04,8.10/Puppy Linux + others.
If you wanna surf the web anonomously-check out Phantomix.
There are so many-Best part-90% of them are FREE!
 
Old 03-19-2009, 05:21 PM   #6
sundialsvcs
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: SE Tennessee, USA
Distribution: Gentoo, LFS
Posts: 7,183

Rep: Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212
"Well now, I hope that you intended to open a can of worms..."

As you will discover if you ever visit http://www.linuxfromscratch.org, "building Linux completely from-scratch" is not for the uninitiated or the unwary. (And for most folks it would be a terrible waste of time.)

So... we have "distros." Various people who, at various times and for various reasons, have constructed their own "easy to install, easy to understand, hard to screw-up" packagings of Linux. They do all the compiling, all the funky-stuff of hardware detection that you could never possibly explain at dinner-parties, and a helluva lot of hand-waving ... to come up with something that "at least most of the time, 'just works.'"

Some of them, like Red Hat, have glommed onto corporate clients and they sell their services ... to folks who are quite happy to buy them. Others (and I won't name names here...) are still driving around in Volkswagen Buses with peace-signs painted on the doors. But all of them are basically trying to do exactly the same thing.

An interesting consequence of this is that lots of folks now call themselves "Linux gurus" when they have no more understanding of, say, "what yum actually does," than they do of what happens when they do a Microsoft Windows "Software Update." But of course, that might be "to be expected." In any case, "Linux is a very deep pool of water, despite its untroubled surface and its ever-friendly ever-present ." So, maybe the "distros" have collectively done a pretty good job of making it seem appealing and approachable.
 
Old 03-19-2009, 07:30 PM   #7
JaksoDebr
Member
 
Registered: Mar 2009
Distribution: Fedora, Slackware
Posts: 104

Rep: Reputation: 21
See distrowatch.org for a list of commonly known distributions. there are even more then that, because embedded systems usually do not grew into distribution.

There are many reasons for different distributions. Some are targeted to special areas like education, or are meant to serve a community focusing on a specific language and references to the history of that ethnical group. You can surely not expect from any other nation to be fluent in Tagalok, but having Linux around Tagalok-speaking people do not have to be put on the mercy of large commercial companies to provide them with an operating system.

Sometimes a new distro is justified by some specific technical aim. Dealing with a large number of computers in a cluster is usually not the realm of housewives, no matter how desperate they are.

Imagine a world without alternatives, where all people are still using DOS with 8-char filenames. Aaaarggghhh!!

Linux Archive

Last edited by JaksoDebr; 04-02-2009 at 06:14 AM.
 
Old 03-20-2009, 04:22 AM   #8
salasi
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jul 2007
Location: Directly above centre of the earth, UK
Distribution: SuSE, plus some hopping
Posts: 4,053

Rep: Reputation: 881Reputation: 881Reputation: 881Reputation: 881Reputation: 881Reputation: 881Reputation: 881
Quote:
Originally Posted by fzanella View Post
Why are there so many different versions of LINUX?
There is a 'because we can' element about some of them, but, mostly its 'I wanted something like .... but I just cannot live with their choice of gui/package manager/apps/.... so I made my own...I hope you like it!'

Quote:
Who creates all these versions
There is a team, frequently a small team, behind each and every distro and they are mostly people who shared the originator's vision of a distro just like ... but with ...

Quote:
and how difficult is it to learn one over another? Besided RedHat, which are most common versions? Our customers use SUSE.
Relatively easy; largely system admin is different, but not radically different, day-to-day use (if that distinction makes sense to you) is pretty much the same.
RH, Debian, SuSE maybe Slackware (depending on locality, with SuSE being relatively popular in europe and RH in the US)....although there could be controversy as what counts as what. So, given that, debian is probably the most used as a source distro from which to 'spawn' others, if they are included in the count for Debian, it moves up the list; excluded it moves down.

In particular, Debian is the basis distro for Ubuntu (actually the Ubuntus and others, but we don't have to get into that here) and that is probably the single most popular desktop distro and is a good choice as a starting point for recent adopters.
 
Old 03-20-2009, 10:59 AM   #9
sundialsvcs
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: SE Tennessee, USA
Distribution: Gentoo, LFS
Posts: 7,183

Rep: Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212
One of the useful things to remember about Linux ... and if you come from a Windows-only background, you have no prior exposure to it ... is that the Linux system is loosely-coupled. There are many alternatives for every major subsystem, and those subsystems can in fact be omitted altogether.

A good example is the "graphic user-interface (GUI)." Microsoft Windows, by its design, always has one. And furthermore, the design of that GUI is "monolithic and tightly-coupled." It requires a video-card, works on the local hardware only, and if you want to do a remote-session you have to have (and to per-seat license!) separate "terminal server" software in order to do that.

The Linux GUI is built on a multi-layered system called "XWindows" (or "XOrg"), which is actually composed of two parts: a "client" and a "server," both of these usually running on the same machine, but not necessarily. You can be running a fully GUI session on a machine mounted in a rack on a distant planet ... a machine that does not have (because it does not need) a video card of its own. You can be running that GUI session against your choice of "desktops," or ... no "desktop" per se at all.

"Distro" writers are very conscious of that. Sometimes their target audience is, well, "folks like you." But sometimes their target audience is scientists who have a rack-room full of four or five hundred multi-engine computational monsters ... in a far-off land ... which he scientists want to be able to conveniently control from a distance as they work on their #CLASSIFIED# projects. Sometimes their audience is the US Department of Defense.

In any case, what the "distro" writer is trying to do, most of all, is to make the whole thing conveniently manageable. For whatever audience they are trying to hit.
 
Old 03-20-2009, 11:37 AM   #10
monsm
Member
 
Registered: Feb 2005
Location: London, UK
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 568

Rep: Reputation: 37
Distrowatch.com lists 311 currently active distributions, so you would have your work cut out if you wanted to try all of them.

For professional use (in a medium-large company) there is only a handful that most people use. Redhat, Suse and Ubuntu being the main ones. You also have specialised distros from IBM and Oracle.

As other people have hinted, for the desktop there are loads. The ones that survive tend to find a niche of some kind. Some specialize on being live CD/DVD possibly with PC repair tools or e.g. IT security testing tools. Then you have small ones for old systems or to fit onto USB sticks. Some are made for a country or geographic location/language, or hardware architecture.

There are lots of usages of Linux, hence lots of different distros. No other OS can run on anything from a wrist watch to a super computer...

Mons

Last edited by monsm; 03-20-2009 at 11:39 AM.
 
Old 03-21-2009, 09:23 AM   #11
cloud9repo
Member
 
Registered: Oct 2008
Location: Middle TN
Posts: 134

Rep: Reputation: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by fzanella View Post
Why are there so many different versions of LINUX?
I've only used RHEL4. It seems every time I talk to someone about their LINUX experiences, a new version is mentioned I've never heard of before. Who creates all these versions and how difficult is it to learn one over another? Besided RedHat, which are most common versions? Our customers use SUSE.
The two main distinctions in the versions is package management. With rpm being one, like the Redhat you use; and .deb packages, which is Debian. Ubuntu tends to take the lead on the user level with the .deb packaging scheme.

Most commands are similar, but do vary. The learning curve depends on the distro you're using. If designed for the developer/engineer/scientist, then it's going to be inherently complicated. But, if designed for home use, it's usually fairly easy to learn.

The creators can vary from a sole enthusiast, to groups of system engineers who want to release a working environment.

You mentioned Redhat and Suse, Ubuntu is common, as are: Fedora, Mandriva, MEPIS, and LinuxMint.
 
Old 03-21-2009, 09:42 AM   #12
sundialsvcs
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: SE Tennessee, USA
Distribution: Gentoo, LFS
Posts: 7,183

Rep: Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212Reputation: 2212
One thing to remember is... there will be a "learning curve!"
 
Old 03-21-2009, 02:01 PM   #13
amoebios
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Mar 2009
Distribution: Sabayon, Knoppix, any
Posts: 13

Rep: Reputation: 0
to sum it up: it's open. Everyone can make one. Just like food.

On my PC, i can have a full-blown feature-rich suite like Sabayon that comes with games like Nexuiz and Second Life, while i use Puppy Linux as a portable solution on my pen drive.
 
Old 03-21-2009, 02:19 PM   #14
fraktalisman
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Aug 2008
Posts: 3

Rep: Reputation: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by monsm View Post
For professional use (in a medium-large company) there is only a handful that most people use. Redhat, Suse and Ubuntu being the main ones. You also have specialised distros from IBM and Oracle.
What about Debian?
Did you just forget to mention or would you rather discourage professional Debian use, and if so for which reason?

I agree that it's wise to use one of the well-known mainstream distributions for business, and probably for newbie home use as well. They are usually well-documented and there are enough developers to make regular updates.

As an absolute Linux beginner, I started with Slackware and then switched to SuSE, which used to have (and probably still has) a great advantage for German users, that most of the documentation was originally written and conceived in German rather than being translated, thus being more easily understandable. Currently I choose Debian for "serious" applications (at work), but at home I use one of the less known distributions, Zenwalk, for it is quite small, after installing from CD on a computer without internet access, I already had nearly everything I needed and the system is optimized for good performance even on older machines.

Many of the smaller distributions started as a customized personal version of another one, and the developers chose to share their work with the rest of the world instead of keeping it just for themselves.
 
Old 03-23-2009, 08:24 AM   #15
monsm
Member
 
Registered: Feb 2005
Location: London, UK
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 568

Rep: Reputation: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by fraktalisman View Post
What about Debian?
Did you just forget to mention or would you rather discourage professional Debian use, and if so for which reason?
I didn't mean to attempt an exhaustive list of distros for professional use. The three I mentioned are the ones with the biggest commercial support. Debian maybe being number 4 (I think e.g. HP sell servers with Debian pre-installed). There are a handful of others too with professional use, even Gentoo is used by some commercially.

The problem is that the smaller distros don't have, or only very limited, external support that can be bought in. So unless a company has enough experise in-house, those are not an option.

Mons
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
linux versions sang_froid Red Hat 9 06-04-2007 04:09 PM
gcc versions compatibility with kernel versions.. mahesh_manthapuri SUSE / openSUSE 1 03-22-2006 01:28 AM
versions of linux? tnelson42345 Linux - Software 3 12-01-2005 10:56 AM
linux versions dataport Linux - Software 10 01-26-2004 10:04 AM
Linux versions? BajaNick Linux - General 8 07-30-2003 07:26 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:08 AM.

Main Menu
Advertisement
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration