Linux

Video: Five things to consider when choosing a Linux distribution

Choosing a Linux distribution shouldn't come down to which desktop has your favorite color scheme. Linux distributions are different and some will suit your company's needs better than others. In this IT Dojo video, Bill Detwiler discusses five critical factors IT managers should consider when choosing a Linux distribution.

Some argue that Linux distributions are essentially the same, and you should just pick the one with the color scheme you like the best. In reality however, distributions are different and some will suit your company's needs better than others. In this IT Dojo video, I discuss the following five critical factors IT managers should consider when choosing a Linux distribution:

  1. 100 percent open source or not
  2. Package management
  3. Desktop environment
  4. Intended use
  5. Security

After watching the video, you can learn more about choosing the right Linux distribution by reading Jack Wallen's article, "10 things to consider when choosing a Linux distribution"--the basis for this video. For more Linux and open source information, check out the following TechRepublic Resources:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

25 comments
Shaun.G
Shaun.G

I have watched this, and while I understand some, the terms APT, RPM, URPM mean nothing to a novice Linux user. I still do not know which one to use...and some of the following comments are too negative. As for the pronuniciation... is that all you could come up with, that its pronounced NOME (silent g)? I know that its not and I know nothing about Linux at all. The one commenting about that not enough was spoken on, and mentioning SELinux and AppArmor... so what? It was a four minute video, not a four day conference. There are many distros from my understanding. Instead to pull down Bill Detwiler, why not say he did not mention them, and then mention them and say why they are good rather than to write that way? Thanks Bill for taking the time to produce this... If you could do one for the 'way before novice' Linux non-user wannabe using linux not vista user... then it will be appreciated.

mark.higgins
mark.higgins

A couple of errors/ommisions 1. Bastille-Linux is not a distro, rather its a hardening script for mainstream distro's. 2. If you are looking to be assured that a distro is "secure" then you should make sure you check out those distros that have been Common Criteria evaluated. 3. No mention of SELinux and AppArmor? SELinux is good but complicated to configure and is available for most mainstream distros. AppArmor is an alternative approach and ships with SUSE distros> AppArmor is easier to configure, but is also easier bypass if you know what you're doing.

dtigue
dtigue

This idiot says GNOME wrong. He pronounces it 'Guh-nome' and it should be pronounced 'NOME'. The 'G' is silent. It says so right there on the 'Guh-Nome' website.

mixerhb
mixerhb

Congratulations. Very useful. ??What about Suse?

smoore
smoore

Great info I liked it.

Icelock
Icelock

What is better Fedora linux or Suse linux? I've been switch between the two distrabutions for that last 2 years. I like both of them, but I'm not sure which might be better.

wbarowy
wbarowy

I love your out-takes.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Especially for us Linux wannabies!

ismgr
ismgr

This makes me think that the first step is to determine which is THE HIGHEST PRIORITY for your situation--the "deal-breaker" so to speak, since you can't get all of what you want in one package. But isn't the first step really to get an assessment of the relative health of the distro? Aren't some distros abandoned, pretty much?

info
info

This was very helpful thank you. One linux distribution that works great for small businesses is SME server, it is based on the CENTOS flavor of linux. It works great for small businesses and I have customized it to use faxing, samba, and other features small businesses need.

alchahine
alchahine

It was very helpful a lot. Thanks

Wally Bahny
Wally Bahny

Is it still considered "on the air" when you're broadcasting over the Internet? For that matter, is it "on the air" when watching cable? :-) I also have a t-shirt idea if you ever Dojo a Barracuda appliance -- the free t-shirt that comes with it. Says "EAT SPAM" on the back. Uber-cool! Tell that Wally guy to stop commenting on the bloopers...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

There's a link there to the more informative "Ten things to consider when picking a distro". Also, don't hesitate to use the "Post a Question" link; many TR members are delighted to respond to Linux questions from all levels of experience.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

the 'g' in 'GNU' is also pronounce when discussion FOSS. It's 'Guh-new', not 'new' like the animal. Before you call people idiots, make sure you have your facts straight.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

If you do a bit more research, you'll find that GNOME, which stands for GNU Network Object Model Environment, is officially pronuced "guh-nome". The "g" is not silent in GNOME as it is in gnome -- a small mythical creature which you often find loitering in people's yards or helping people find their lost luggage. It's true that some individuals pronounce GNOME with a silent "g", but "guh-nome" is the more accepted version. Check out the following: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNOME http://d-goldman.org/misc/HowToPronounce.html http://www.newlinuxuser.com/explain-how-is-gnome-pronounced/ http://www.linux.com/whatislinux/119700

nedvis
nedvis

Although your four minute video is sort of quick guide to choosing Linux distro it is also oversimplified approach to popular operating system selection. Are you filling gaps in "Air time" ? There's nothing better than PC with interchangeable hard-disk drawer where one can endlessly play and experiment with different distros. Five criteria (issues) you're taking in consideration for what we use to hear about as of finding "distro of choice" are all valid but not the only measures for right choice. They're to general,sorry! None of your criteria cold stand a trial if you have to go for vendor specific distribution ( Red Hat, Novell , Mandriva, Turbo Linux, Xandros , CetOS, Debian ). Package management ( apt, RPM or tar.gz ) does not really matter if your distro has application program (package) that you or your business desperately need while other dont. Open Source/proprietary code debate also does not help getting things done particularly in IT world where we all live in "promiscuos mode" Desktop environment certainly might be an issue when talking about business workstations but undelaying code of what keep computer hardware up and running is basically same and many if not all productivity tools are DE neutral. Security can only be an issue if you're using certain exotic distro which relays on work of few enthoustiasts and amateur coders. Intended use? Ok, but you're not going to play "Warkraft" on gparted nor build cluster on top of Puppy Linux. That's pretty much predetermined and clearly stated on each Linux distributors "Our Goals" pages. How about popularity of a distro and community support, documentation/whitepapers/project consistency and persistance, perceived usability and widespread and so on. Anyway, that's true, it's always good to talk about Linux.

JV711
JV711

nice and factual, though out of necessity of the format, many favorites are not mentioned. Your datacenter in the background is too clean, that's how I know it's a fake, non-working set!

Curioser
Curioser

of a video of this guy sitting there talking at me? Video is supposed to enhance the experience of the viewer. A handful of text overlays just doesn't do it. Additionally, when a speaker mentions specific technical terms, especially Linux distro names, it would have been especially helpful to see THOSE as text overlays... Am I just trolling?

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

I would say we should go with "on the wire", but Wi-Fi, WiMAX, and the cellular data networks would screw that up. And, what about people who download videos and watch them on their iPod (or other portable video player) or computer? "On the Net" would work but, it sounds so 1995. Guess I could use "during the show", but that sound so boring.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I get it! Not a problem at all! =)

Wally Bahny
Wally Bahny

Time to coin a new phrase. Unfortunately, I don't think we can compete with 1950's or 60's "On the Air".

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Don't touch that dial!" "Grandpa Bill, what's a 'dial'?"

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