Which Linux?

If you’re considering making the switch to Linux, you almost certainly will have discovered that there are hundreds of Linux distributions, all of which are different from each other in subtle ways.

So how do you figure out which one to use?

Perhaps the best place to start is with yourself. Make an honest assessment of exactly how comfortable you are with computers in general, and how much effort you want to put into learning new things, as Linux is full of them. Many of the ways of Windows that you are accustomed to simply don’t apply in the Linux world, and some argue that that’s because Windows has them wrong. Whether that’s true remains to be seen, but the fact is that even trying out Linux is going to expose you to a completely new way of doing things.

With that in mind, I’ll make the following suggestions and comments.

You can try out most Linux distributions directly from CD without having to install anything on your computer, and you can also install alongside an existing Windows installation, in case you aren’t ready to completely make the switch.

Regardless of your experience or comfort level with computers, Ubuntu is a great first choice. Very easy to use, it has been the world’s most popular Linux distribution for several years.

Ubuntu is not the only possible choice, though.

If you’re fairly comfortable with computers, and you foresee using Linux for business or to “get things done,” then check out Fedora. This is a community proejct sponsored by Red Hat, which the company also uses as a base for its enterprise offerings, which are what you would most likely see in a business setting.

CentOS is a free Linux distribution based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and is considered a stable platform primarily for server usage, while Fedora is the community-driven version on which it is based, and almost always has more up-to-date software.

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