Choice of GNU/Linux Distribution

So you have decided to try an alternative to either MS Windows or MacOSX in the form of Linux or GNU/Linux as some say more fully describes the operating system.

With so many distributions available, it’s hard to know where to start. There are so many listed on DistroWatch. But here is my take.

First of all, I like to think of choosing a GNU/Linux distribution as similar to choosing a sports team to support. There are lots of them out there, and many of them will work for you. But just like supporting a sports team, it’s often easier to go with the one that most of your friends’ support. That way, you can all support each other when things go wrong, and help each other out when you’re stuck.

If you don’t have any friends or family members who use GNU/Linux, then I would recommend choosing a long-standing distribution with a great community and paid support. OpenSUSE is a great option with a long track record. I personally used it for two decades, for many years with the KDE desktop, but for now I just run within WSL on Windows but hope to return to using with KDE in future. However, any of the big, long-lived distributions will do. It’s important to note that just like supporting a sports team, everyone has their own favourite GNU/Linux distribution, and it’s unlikely that you’ll convince them to switch to your preferred one. So, rather than arguing about which distribution is best, it’s often better to just stick with the one that works for you and your support network.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that there will come a time when you may become disillusioned with your chosen distribution. It may break, for example once for me a video driver just won not work with my monitor prompting my switch from Kubuntu to openSUSE, or you may simply outgrow it. When that happens, it’s time to switch to another “winner” with a strong community of supporters.

I use Debian on servers because that is what is best supported by my web host: Web Architects.

In summary, choosing a GNU/Linux distribution is like choosing a sports team to support. Go with the one most of your friends support or choose a long-standing distribution with a great community and paid support if you don’t have any GNU/Linux-using friends or family members. Don’t bother arguing with others about which distribution is best and be prepared to switch to another one when the time comes.