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De-Flummoxing 2007/01/10

Posted by Daddy Dave in Reviews, Whinge.
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As a follow-up to my post entitled ‘Flummoxed‘, I have been rooting through Linux sites to try to understand the reasons for the confusion and profusion of distros. As there seems to be no single web resource available on this topic (amazingly), here’s what I have discovered (I hope someone finds this helpful):

Here’s a list of Linux Versions (distributions/ distros/ flavours), this is unbelievable:

2X; 64 Studio;
AbulÉdu; Adamantix; ADIOS; Admelix; Alinex; aLinux; AliXe; ALT; amaroK Live; Annvix; AnNyung; Anonym.OS; APODIO; Arch; ArcheOS; Archie; Ark; Arudius; AsianLinux; Asianux; ASLinux; ASPLinux; Astaro; Athene; ATmission; Atomix; Aurora; Aurox; AUSTRUMI;
B2D; BackTrack; BeleniX; Berry; BIG LINUX; BinToo; BioBrew; Bioknoppix; blackPanther; BLAG; Bluewall; Bluewhite64; BU Linux; Burapha;
Caixa Mágica; cAos; CCux; CDlinux; Censornet; CentOS; ClarkConnect; Clusterix; clusterKNOPPIX; Co-Create; College; Condorux; Coyote; CRUX; Càtix;
Damn Small Linux (DSL); DANIX; DARKSTAR; Debian GNU; Deep-Water; DeLi; DesktopBSD; Devil; DiscoverStation; Dizinha; DNALinux; DragonFly; Dreamlinux; dyne:bolic; Dzongkha;
Eadem; Eagle; easys; Edubuntu; eduKnoppix; Ehad; Ekaaty; eLearnix; Elive; ELX; Endian; EnGarde; ERPOSS; Euronode; Evinux; EzPlanet One;
FAMELIX; Feather; Featherweight; Fedora; Fermi; Finnix; Flash;Fluxbuntu; Foresight; FoX Desktop; FreeBSD; Freedows; Freeduc; Freeduc-Sup; FreeNAS; FreeSBIE; Freespire; Frenzy; Frugalware; FTOSX;
GeeXboX; Gelecek; Gentoo; GentooTH; Gentoox; GEOLivre; Gibraltar; gNewSense; GNIX; gnuLinEx; GNUstep; GoblinX; GoboLinux; GParted; Grafpup; grml; Guadalinex; GuLIC-BSD;
Haansoft; Hakin9; Hancom; Hedinux; Helix; Heretix; Hikarunix; Hiweed; Holon; Honeywall; How-Tux;
Ichthux; IDMS; Ignalum; Impi; IndLinux; INside SEcurity Rescue Toolkit (INSERT); IPCop;
JoLinux; Julex;
K-DEMar; K12LTSP; Kaella; Kalango; KANOTIX; Karamad; KateOS; Kinneret; Klax; knopILS; Knoppel; Knopperdisk; Knoppix; KnoppMyth; KnoSciences; Komodo; Kororaa; Kubuntu; Kurumin; Kwort;
L.A.S.; LFS; LG3D; Lineox; LinEspa; LinnexOS; Linpus; Linspire; Linux XP; Linux+ Live; Linux-EduCD; LinuxConsole; LinuxTLE; Linux From Scratch; Litrix; LiveCD Router; LiVux; LLGP; LliureX; LNX-BBC; Loco; Lunar;
Monowall; Magic; Mandriva (Mandrake); MAX; Mayix; MCNLive; Media Lab; Mediainlinux; MEPIS; Mint; Miracle; MirOS; MoLinux; Momonga; Morphix; Muriqui; Murix; Musix; Mutagenix; Myah OS; myLinux;
Nasgaïa; Nature’s; NepaLinux; NetBSD; NetSecL; Nexenta; Niigata; Nitix; Nonux; Novell SLE; NST; nUbuntu; NuxOne;
O-Net; Olive; OliveBSD; Omoikane; OpenBSD; OpenLab; OpenLX; OpenNA; openSuSE; Openwall; Oracle; Oralux;
PAIPIX; paldo; PapugLinux; ParallelKnoppix; Pardus; Parsix; PC-BSD; PCLinuxOS; Penguin Sleuth; Pentoo; pfSense; Phaeronix; Pie Box; Pilot; Pingo; Pingwinek; Pioneer; Plamo; PLD; Poseidon; pQui; PUD; Puppy;
QiLinux; Quantian;
Rails Live; RAYS LX; Red Flag; Red Hat; redWall; RIP; ROCK; Rocks Cluster; RoFreeSBIE; ROOT; ROSLIMS; rPath;
Sabayon; SAM; SaxenOS; SchilliX; SCI.Linux; Scientific; Securepoint; Sentry Firewall; SharkOS; Shift; Skolelinux; Slackintosh; Slackware; Slamd64; SLAMPP; SLAX; SLYNUX; SME Server; SmoothWall Linux; SoL; Solaris; Sorcerer; Source Mage; StartCom; STD; StressLinux; STUX; SuliX; Symphony OS; SystemRescue;
T2; TA-Linux; Tablix; Taprobane; Thinstation; Thisk; Tilix; tinysofa; Topologilinux; Trinity; trixbox; TrueBSD; Trustix; Truva; TumiX; TupiServer; Tuquito; TurboLinux;
Ubuntu; Ubuntu CE; Ufficio Zero; UHU-Linux; Ulteo; Ultima; Underground; Ututo;
Vector; VideoLinux; Vine; VLOS; VNLinux; Voltalinux;
Wazobia; White Box; WIENUX; Wolvix;
XBox Linux; X-Evian; X/OS; Xandros; Xarnoppix; Xenoppix; Xfld; Xteam; Xubuntu;
Yellow Dog; YES; Yoper;
Zenwalk (formerly Minislack); ZoneCD.

Well! Where would anyone START? I mean, what is the difference between them? It’s like a ‘Black Art’ trying to find out!

Each distro offers different component parts, (see distrowatch.com). There are things called ‘Desktop Environments’: Gnome, K and Xfce. For example, Ubuntu uses Gnome, Kubuntu uses KDE (K Desktop Environment) and Xubuntu uses Xfce.

Some distros seem geared toward one desktop or another, while other distros seem to support all (Fedora ships both Gnome and KDE). But someone new to Linux would be unable to choose a distro based on the desktop — even with screenshots. This sort of thing needs to be tried out, and at that, the comparisons would tend be with Windows/AppleMacs.

It is good to know that Linux can cope with RSS Feeds, e-mail, IM, IRC, ICQ, web browsing and music/ videos. Web browsers Firefox, Konqueror or Dillo work with Thunderbird, Sylpheed, Eudora, Seamonkey, Gaim, Naim, or Pegasus. Mediaplayers include: XMMS, Kaffeine, Amarok etc. I have tried The OpenOffice suite (through Windows) but I have not tried either the The KOffice suite which might be better, or the The Gnome Office.

I guess that for some people, it would be more  important to know if the distro can

  • Install easily
  • Detect hardware — CD, DVD, USB, mic, speakers, monitors, videocamera, SD card reader, etc
  • Detect any networks, wireless internet, bluetooth, infrared (work with other devices)
  • Run favourite software packages: AutoCAD, PaintShopPro etc
  • Open standard file formats
  • Work with Office
  • be supported for business etc

For me, I cannot find a distro that supports AutoCAD etc., so I have to stick with the pre-installed Windows XP on our Dell Inspiron.
However, for our old laptop, we just need the distro to:

  • Install easily
  • Cope with ACPI: Unable to Locate RSDP Error
  • Be small and fast working
  • have a Media player
  • Web browser (Firefox)
  • detect all hardware
  • open standard format files

My first experience with Linux was all about sweating over a command line, but I got it to work. the problem back then was it was incompatible with everything else. My second experience was about downloading ISOs and CD stuff that didn’t work on my old laptop due to a widespread error that has no solution as yet.

Ho Hum. It looks like I will have to download zillions of distros, or else send off a few quid for a selection to try out. It may take months unless someone can help.

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