Is there a best distro?

Yesterday, I had a good friend ask me What is the best Linux distribution to familiarize myself with Linux? This was not someone who is unfamiliar with technology, or UNIX for that matter, but someone who is one of us, which made the question difficult to answer.

What is the best Linux distribution? Not what is the best distribution for a server or what is the best distribution for a netbook, but what is the best general distribution. This made me step back and think for a couple of seconds. All of the distributions start from the same point. The kernel is essentially the same in every distribution, so that is not a differentiator. All of the distributions contain a selection of rich applications, and many distribution contain the same selection of applications, so that is not a clear discriminator.

After thinking about it for a few minutes, I came to the conclusion that there are really only two discriminators between the distributions. Package management and initialization methodology, and neither makes one distribution better than the other.

In many ways, this discussion is like the battle of the editors. What is better, vi or Emacs? While you will get a lot of discussion, they are essentially the same. They each have their mission and their niche to fill. And similarly, when looking at a distribution to learn Linux with, there is no best for a general purpose distribution.

So here is your chance. What do you perceive as the best distribution? Based on past surveys we know that Ubuntu is one of the leading distributions, I want to know what makes one distribution better than the other. Be specific. Be polite.

______________________

David Lane, KG4GIY is a member of Linux Journal's Editorial Advisory Panel and the Control Op for Linux Journal's Virtual Ham Shack

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Running vs Learning

Embedded's picture

As an embedded developer I will say that the user can learn things on openSuSE, ubuntu, kubuntu and fedora. (I use openSuSE because of KDE.)

But each and every one has a problem (with the exception of debian) the build systems are so complex that I cannot understand them. I can't even find all the hidy holes for the system boot scripts and they change!

If you want to find out what goes on under the hood you are best off to buy let's say a Beagle board and use Angstrom with open Embedded for not much money or a hammer board or linux stamp with buildroot. This you can understand.

I wish Novel/openSuSE and Ubuntu would make their build systems more public/documented so we could all understand them. Linus has taken great pains to make the Kernel mostly understandable. Distro people should do this too!

Cheers John

Debian. No need to name the

em4r1z's picture

Debian.
No need to name the reasons, just look around.

Debian, yes, but why?

Bob_Robertson's picture

For a first time user of any distribution, I'd want it installed for them first by someone who has done it before. At that point it really doesn't matter which distribution it is, it will "just work".

Once past that point, then I agree that giving Debian the top spot is a good choice. The vast supply of software in the main repositories that "just work", desktop agnosticism so that one can try KDE, GNOME, LXDE, even OLWM for that truly UNIX look and feel, and have them all installed side by side without conflict.

Debian is the Swiss Army Knife, the "everything and the kitchen sink too" distribution.

Once the "new" Linux user isn't "new" any more, and they want to try different ways of doing things, then the sky is the limit. (I'm thinking of trying Linux From Scratch some day, like after my kids are grown and I have the time)

Correction

Bob_Robertson's picture

The first line should read,

"For the first time Linux user, of any distribution, I'd want it installed for them first by someone who has done it before."

That's the beauty of a LiveCD, it in fact HAS been "installed" (onto the CD) by someone who already knows Linux.

Mepis 8.0

Anonymous's picture

Mepis !
The new 8.0 is more solid than the Ubuntu's.
It is stability of Debian, polished to a mirror finish.

Warren Woodford is a genius.

The the user community "Mepislovers.org" is great for helping with no snooty attitude !

-Jay

Comparing Linuxes

altNull's picture

To compare Linux to Linux is almost as bad as dividing by zero or trying to kill the ocean with a sword. You cannot be as black and white with Linux as you are with Windows, because Linux is not set in stone. Windows Vista is Vista - it failed in security, it failed in resource management, ect, ect, ect. But if you compare Ubuntu 9 to even Ubuntu 8, there is no set standard for comparison. Why? Not every install of Linux is exactly the same. If I had all the time in the world, I could make Ubuntu 8 exactly like 9, but I obviously don't have the time. Of course, one of the defining difference between distros is repositories - Redhat, Debian, Slackware, ect - but even that does not limit the Linux OS, just the ease of updates and installs. If there is something on Ubuntu and I want it on Fedora, I get the source code, reconfigure it for Fedora as needed, and compile. Thus there is truly not one thing that one distro has over the other as an OS. However, I would say this argument could be made towards the communities that support their distros. In this regard, Ubuntu has the best n00b support, where Fedora has the best pro support. Even there, Google has blurred the lines, making it easy to access documentation from any distro. In the end, the real question comes down to, are a windows guy, a mac guy, a linux guy or all of the above?

evey distro. is best in its

Mohamed M. Hagag's picture

evey distro. is best in its users' point of view, even there may be more than one best distro. for one person, for me Fedora/RHEL/CentOS, Ubuntu/Debian, Gentoo are always my bests ;) .
for example, i have now Fedora for Personal and Office use - i'm a Sr. SysAdmin that's why i use RHEL compatible as far as i can - some times i've to use ubuntu ( specially for proprietary driver support - and sometimes i want to experience the enterprise features in CentOS/RHEL which available only in RHEL/CentOS.
Finally Fedora, Ubuntu, RHEL, Debian, Gentoo, Mandriva, ...etc are all GNU/Linux.
Aptitude is great as YUM and emerge or urpm(?), just very small differences in functionality.
Viva GNU, Viva Linux VIVA freedom ;) .

It's all about diversity

Carlo's picture

There's no best distro, but mine is Archlinux!
I like to try and play around with the different distros out there, that's how I learn and appreciate Linux/Unix/GNU and its community. But Archlinux is the main one for me.
ARCH = fast + up-to-date + a helpful community

Ubuntu? Really?

Rick Carroll's picture

So I see a lot of people here throwing their hats in the ring for Ubuntu. While it has been awhile since I installed it, the main thing that really bothered me about it is that it didn't let you set root in the install. To me this is a HUGE security violation in an otherwise pretty secure system. I don't understand why the developers did this. It confounds me.

Furthermore, I find Debian package management to be rather unwieldy. I like Red Hat's RPM system. For the most part... It just works. I have not found this to be true with the debian manager though each Debian-based release, does do different things with it and some are better than others.

For the record, I generally use Suse distributions. I have used Mandrake/Mandriva in the past, but when I switched to Suse, I generally didn't look back. It has a number of proprietary innovations that I find are excellent.

"I find Debian package management to be rather unwieldy."

Bob_Robertson's picture

> I find Debian package management to be rather unwieldy.

Well, knowing that things are different for everyone, there had to be one person who didn't like DEB.

community

Anonymous's picture

i think what defines a disto is the community that surrounds it. open/free software is all about community involvement and ground-up collaboration. i think what really separates gnu/linux with the rest of the world is its ability to collaborate and actually make something worthwhile and usable.

I totally agree

Renich's picture

GNU & Linux distros are dependent of their communities. The communities around the distros are the best there is.

I love Fedora's community and ideology. I'm a Fedoran! ;)

It's hard to be free... but I love to struggle. Love isn't asked for; it's just given. Respect isn't asked for; it's earned!
Renich Bon Ciric

http://www.woralelandia.com/
http://www.introbella.com/

Fedora=Powerfull, Ubuntu=Usefull

pajafumo's picture

After testing some distros I personally stay with Fedora because it is Powerfull but for my dad's PC I use Ubuntu and for my nephew I use Edubuntu because those distros are user friendly and has better support for Nvidia and Ati video cards.

Since the person is familiar

ajassat's picture

Since the person is familiar with UNIX and is 'one of us' I would suggest the differentiator between distributions is the amount of control they give to the user.

The distribution which is best, for those familiar with UNIX is the one which gives the greatest amount of control to the user - from the very beginning (installation).

Therefore I would nominate Gentoo or Arch Linux. Every aspect of the system is in the control of the user. Unlike most distributions where certain aspects are pre-configured and chosen (for the sake of being user friendly), Gentoo and Arch leave almost everything in the hands of the user.

This is one of the main reasons why UNIX is supposed to appeal to the hacker audience!

Deb

kart0ns's picture

IMHO custom Debian install. I like APT, the way Debian deals with everything, custom installation of x, apps and everthing you want

Best?

Arlo's picture

I like LinuxMint, Mandriva or Pclinuxos2009 for all the same reasons... easy to install, good selection of utilities, and good performance. Right now I have Mint on one desktop.

For OLD machines I like Zenwalk (fast, hard to install), Puppy (fast, odd, not standard), and Wolvix (fast and based on Slakware). I have Zenwalk on an old Pentium III 500 laptop.

I have to say, Mint has really won me over for a simplified interface, and inclusion of a smaller group of apps.

Horses for courses

Alan Rochester's picture

Which religion is best?

Which sports club is best?

Is an orange better than an apple?

Like the Buddist saying: "The ways to enlightenment are as numerous as the lives of men"

"Horses for courses means that what is suitable for one person or situation might be unsuitable for another."

Fedora

Anonymous's picture

I believe each distro has it's purpose. I'm a Fedora user, and love the way it is structured and does things. I've been using Fedora since back when it was RedHat ~5 or so, so the structure and so on just make sense to me. I haven't really messed with many other distributions (other than embedded and CentOS) because I don't see any reason to deal with the subtle differences, and Fedora is a good solid distro. It's updated regularly and always has cutting edge technologies. The only alternative I would take would be CentOS as a more stable platform (stable as in, not very current, tried and true, etc...RHE, based you know).

For a noobie, I'd say go to Ubuntu. Why would I push a new user to a distro other than what I use? Simple. It seems noobies typically ask the most basic questions over and over and over again without doing any research into the topic and get stuck on the most basic of tasks. When I do need some information on a topic I'm working with, it's nice to be able to put Fedora in the search box and not have 50 billion noobie questions come back as results. It's a way for me to filter out the garbage that isn't going to help me anyway. The reason I'd specify Ubuntu over another distro, is that it seems all of the newbies have been going to Ubuntu anyway...so it's a win-win. They'll have all sorts of people around them asking the same questions they're getting stuck with, and I won't have to see it. I think that kind of environment makes it a great learning platform. I'd probably also push them to use KDE as well (I use gnome) because it's more like what they're used to (usually Windows) and will aide in the transition.

Debian !

Christophe's picture

Hmm. It is just a way to denigrate Ubuntu. You are absolutely true about their forums... But if you want to go further, you can simply google about "debian + your_subject", it is exactly the same way to do the things. IMHO, each distro has its own qualities. And obviously, every one has a good reason to prefer one instead of another... Personnally, I prefer Debian for many things, especially for its "universal" side and for its packaging system. And not simply as an apt-get end-user ! The Debian policy is simply perfect, and allows maintainers to build well structured packages, not just a poor .spec ;)

Cheers,
Christophe

Ubuntu is something I got to

jojo's picture

Ubuntu is something I got to know before I installed it. I think it has the PR and whether it's "best" or not it's better than good enough, and it has the following to actually be used more and more by anyone. I farted around looking at Linux for years... the enthusiasm for Ubuntu made me try it and eventually switch to it. I dumped Windows without fear that I was making a mistake. The other distros made me antsy about that. Always was something about "if it only did this or that". It felt questionable that certain things would be addressed. It felt like any real setback would be addressed with Ubuntu. It just feels maintained... and cared about by more than the geekiest users of which I am not one. So to me it's the best distro to switch to from outside of linux. And so far stick with as well. I don't need slightly better than this... if something is clearly better I will switch. Even to Windows... though not holding my breath about that.

Best Distro...

RichardP's picture

I personally consider Archlinux to be the best distro, as after messing around with about 9 different Distro's Archlinux, Gentoo and DSL were the only ones that could playback 720p MKV on my netbook. I also think Arch's packet management is superior to everything else and it has the best community around.

goodOS

Anonymous's picture

This distro tries to suck the teat of google while not using google applications like google docs as the default apps. This distro sucks in a good way, hence goodOS.

to familiarize myself with Linux - Keyword is "familiarize"

Kurt Vanderwater's picture

As I see it, there are (at least) 2 (two) levels of "familiarize" that one can mean. The first would be "I want to know how to use Linux".

In this instance one is trying to become familiar with the interface, applications, desktop, etc.
There are a large number of distros that each try to meet this need in a slightly different manner. I have used at least 30 and none stand out as a 'favorite'. I have learned to like KDE better... but that is purely personal.

The second 'familiarize' would mean that he wants to get into the guts and LEARN internals. How does it work? What can it do? 32 bit / 64 bit... how 'bout a different processor? Can I do good stuff with OLD hardware? And probably mostly.... what is a kernel and how do I build one that meets MY needs??

For this, I would suggest Gentoo. In order to familiarize oneself with the entire OS, it is good to start with a distribution that has made very FEW choices for you... But instead, takes you on a path to learn what the options are and provide a sandbox that allows you to play with and test the various options.

So, now you are exposed right up front to crafting and building you own kernel. Selecting what INIT scripts to use. Picking the cron manager. The logging manager. etc...

With Gentoo, it starts out as a very plain sandbox and you can build any castle you want. If you take the time to learn it... you have a very custom, secure, maintainable, distribution that meets your specific needs and not some average consumer needs.

I like it. I admit that compiling sounds time consuming. But I always have more to do than I can get done, so, start the compiles and go back to work on something else. Besides, with todays hardware and the speed of equipment, even a full Kernel build is under 10 minutes.

Compiling just has never gotten in my way.

And, I think it is great to be able to learn all about the interdependancies that can mess you up as you start loading various packages. Fixing those is significantly easier (IMHO) than the same process in say, a RedHat/Fedora environment.

Just my thoughts

Kurt

Ubuntu

Dantes's picture

Ubuntu because it works.

Not Ubuntu (or Fedora)

Anonymous's picture

Not Ubuntu (or Fedora) because they DON'T work, at least not on any hardware over 5 years. All I get are errors about the disk drives. Debian can't detect the video correctly.

So the real choice is one that works with the user's hardware. If that happens to be ubuntu, then fine. I would suggest looking at MEPIS, Puppy, or SLAX because they seem to work on a wider variety of hardware, and are easy to use. But like anything, your mileage may vary.

Dave,

Same here. I've never had so

logan's picture

Same here. I've never had so much trouble trying to install linux machines until I tried ubuntu. Absolutely horrible hardware installation, and when you have trouble with it, all the tools to fix it are missing or hidden. Haven't been in a shell that much in 5 years.

I run Mandriva as my primary os, have since version 6. It works on everything I throw it at, and if I have trouble, Mandriva has the tools to fix it.

Not saying its the best for everyone though, I've ran slackware, fedora, and many others over the years with no trouble. Just kind of settled into Mandriva. All great systems.

I use latest Fedora at home

jurikolo's picture

I use latest Fedora at home (laptop, desktop PC) and CentOS on servers. I like the way Red Hat do it's job.

PCLinuxOS 2009.2

Phil Wadsworth's picture

Tried the top ten in Distrowatch in Nov 2008. The only one which worked straight from the disc with a little tweaking for wifi, was PCLOS2007. Tried others since........Mepis, Linux Mint, Ubuntu. Stuck with PCLOS and upgraded to 2009.2 version.

It's the best because:

Installation is a breeze, straight forward but with other options for partitioning and dual booting if needed.
The support forum is superb with friendly help for newbies and geeks alike.
It packages all the apps you need for day to day computing.
Amazingly stable and NEVER crashes. The repository only holds tested and approved stable apps.
You can one-click re-master and provide yourself a backup with ease.
Now with a package update scheduler so you're always working with the latest versions.
Stable KDE 3 desktop totally configurable. You can make it look like a Mac or a Win desktop if you really feel the need.
One Control Centre for configuring Sharing, Network Services, Remote Control, Hardware, Networks, Backups, Security, Boot Setup, Disks, etc., etc. It doesn't expect you to know anything about the CLI.

Still seen nothing better.

Try the original,

logan's picture

Try the original, Mandriva.

Where do you think the great tools come from?

http://www.dedoimedo.com/images/computers/pclinuxos_control_center.jpg

PCLinuxOS Control Center (/etc/mcc.conf)
MCC Mandriva Control Center

http://htmlcenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/mcc.png

One of the cleanest easiest to use Linux OS's out there.

Ultimately, Debian

Tommy's picture

I use Ubuntu everywhere at the moment, however I believe there's a REASON Ubuntu and so many important distros are Debian "children."

Debian takes the chaotic world of open-source software and adds rigor and process to help developers collaborate. The process DOES slow things down, and it is NOT flawless. However I believe people contributing to Debian are able to support and influence people more widely than most other distros.

Ubuntu takes care to send changes back "upstream" to Debian, but unless you are working on something in Ubuntu's MAIN (supported) repository, it is more efficient contributing to Debian and letting it filter down to the next downstream releases.

Red Hat is very influential, and it pays to keep up with what they are doing, certainly in the corporate world. But if someone invents a waffle maker with a CPU and RAM, there will be someone who puts Debian, "The Universal Operating System," on it.

the best is...

DanishKokjoDrikker's picture

Ubuntu... its simply works. thats it.
No f*cking configuration.
no, im not linux-newbee im a 99% familya with unix. im also and heavy user of the console. but i HATE to configure things, i just can't decice.
the only problem with ubuntu is that, it's a mainstream os. so i get the stupit things like: "Do you relly want to ...?"

baby linux

Anonymous's picture

baby linux

Arch Linux

Reed's picture

+1 for Arch Linux.

The package manager, pacman, is fast, simple, and effective.

Arch provides a framework to easily build up a distro to suit individual needs.

Rolling release means no reinstalling every 6 months to keep up to date.

Vanilla packages with minimum custom patching means less opportunity for the introduction of new bugs.

The Arch User Repo and Arch Build System are a powerful ports like system in the vein of BSD or Gentoo, for those who want that.

I've been running Arch as a home file server, and it's been more stable than Debian was on the same machine.

Arch Linux

RandyPenguin's picture

+1

^_^

Archlinux

Anonymous's picture

+1 I like the approach of installing what i need instead of uninstalling stuff i don't need. I like the KISS principle. I used Ubuntu before and if anyone new to linux wants to try i still recommend it because it simply works in most of the cases. But Arch beats it in speed and packagemanagement.

Not so light:(

specnaz's picture

Arch isn't as light as it apears and you want to tell me that apt-get/aptitude is behind pacman - idont think so.
-Lightness ( and im a lightness freak - my boxis 5 years old so no fat allowed ): on my box lxde consumed 30 mb ram more at startup with Arch than with Slackware 12.2 - 60 slack to 90arch (ubuntu 9.04 GNOME is 100 somthing ) -so thats frugal?? Besides, when it comes to having frugal environment on Arch pacman always fetches gnome libs :( bloody deps & you have to compile own pkgs
Arch-wiki is superb, though :D

Ubuntu

Anonymous's picture

Ubuntu.

Easy installation.
Sensible defaults.
One app per task.
Pragmatic patent policy.
Pragmatic driver policy.

The best distro is...

Steve_'s picture

a subjective choice, I like Ubuntu(really anything Debian based) and Arch because they make sense to me and fit my needs. I would guess people who use other distros say it fits there needs and makes sense. When I first used Arch one I learned things I wanted to understand about Linux. The Arch package manager just made sense to me from the start. Where when I first used Ubuntu(to rescue an XP install which in turn rescued me from XP:)) It was a nice transition from a Windows world for me. When I am asked what is the best distro, I usually ask what are your needs and wants, then go from there. That is why I think Linux is the best because of the choices of distro's to fit needs.

Best is individual choice, needs

JWJones's picture

For me the best is Debian, as I find it suits my needs best, I'm most comfortable with it, and I can build whatever I need with it. For new Linux users, I recommend Linux Mint.

My other favorites include Slackware and Arch, and I'm hoping to delve into Gentoo this year, as I have not yet tried it.

The major distros that I have tried that I have found I don't care for personally are: Fedora, Mandriva, PCLinuxOS.

Extremely difficult question to answer

FredR's picture

This is really difficult, as it pertains to human nature. We all tackle a new endeavor differently, and we use our past experiences to guide us (and when it comes to technology or consumer products, judge them).

I find this akin to asking about the best car, or best ice cream. It boils down to personal preference. Or, you may say what is the best car to learn to drive on? How about, if a person lived on a deserted island and had no contact with the outside world, the best car to learn to drive on?

First, as a person, define what you want out of a machine. Cars are easy. We want to get from A-B in style, maybe we want to haul a boat, maybe we want good gas mileage. Ice cream even easier... whatever you feel like.

But a computer? Do you play games? Are you a sys admin? Do you manage a network? Are you a software developer, kernel hacker or web designer? Are you just some person sitting in an office, typing up documents and checking your email?

I've met people who go all out and purchase disturbingly expensive machines ("oh because I want to do video rendering") then never really use the hardware for that. Define your goals.

If you want to learn about traditional unix with a new twist, Linux is right for you. If you want to just tinker on a computer and do some minor office work, Linux is right for you too. But you must be willing to be a little open, if your previous experience is a bit biased on other operating systems. Chances are you're trying Linux because you want to learn something new. Give it time, you're only human.

I take a great pride in being flexible. I can take just about any machine, any OS and learn it pretty quickly. And I enjoy performing fundamental sysadmin and network admin capabilities across all operating systems. But I enjoy Linux the most. My personal preference is typically Slackware, Debian derivatives and RedHat derivatives.

My work laptop is Ubuntu. I have a netbook with Debian. My main workstation is Slackware but can emulate a dozen different OS's in KVM. Let's face it, you're trying something new because you want to learn. Don't limit yourself, and try and have some fun.

-- FLR or flrichar is a superfan of Linux Journal, and goofs around in the LJ IRC Channel

Ubuntu

cmnorton's picture

One of the things Ubuntu will need to put in their inter-release QA will be not breaking things that already work well, like VPN. I created a VPN connection on the prior non-LTS release, upgraded to 9.10, and the VPN worked fine.

I had my laptop fixed under warranty and it came through reset to 9.10 Ubuntu. I am now having to patch VPN capability back in, and it's a pain.

However, Ubuntu is a very good distribution overall.

Depends on what you need it for

Wine Curmudgeon's picture

I installed Puppy Linux on a 10-year-old pre-HP Compaq laptop. I run Ubuntu Netbook Remix on my Asus. I'm in the process of switching from Vista to 9.04 on my desktop. I have several old desktops sitting in the garage that would probably run well with Xbuntu or one of the other smaller footprint distros.

Isn't that Linux's best feature, that it is so flexible?

The best linux distribution...

Anonymous's picture

I am now using Kubuntu but I cut my teeth on Simply Mepis starting with version 3.4 to version 8.

Almost effortless WIFI setup, good set of apps, easy installation. In my case, the most stable distro.

Nick

community

Lapi's picture

For me the most important thing is the community. So far, Ubuntu/Debian has the best community and RHEL/CentOS the second best. Unfortunately, at work you might be forced to use proprietary software such as Clearcase or Oracle database which is not compatible(officially supported) with Debian/Ubuntu. I know, you can insist to install it on Ubuntu/Debian but at the end of the process you will lose some value of the OS.

So, I go for Ubuntu at home and RHEL/CentOS at work. Desktop/server? Doesn't matter. Only the place where I use it.

Best Distro

Anonymous's picture

Personally, I'm using Kubuntu and am quite happy with it. I've also used and been very happy with OpenSUSE and Mandriva. I agree....I don't think there really is a "best" distro, but rather it's a matter of which distro works the best for you with your hardware and meets your own personal expectations. I do like the availability of so many packages for Kubuntu/Ubuntu and the large number of "how to" articles one can easily find to help do things you want to do.

ubuntu or slackware

Josh's picture

since the question was, "What is the best Linux distribution to familiarize myself with Linux?" I would say either ubuntu or slackware.
ubuntu is easy as pie to get up and running, and from there you can tinker and tweak as you go quite easily. that said, the downside is that much of how it operates gets hidden by the ui right off the bat.
slackware is good, too, as it throws you right into the nitty gritty: trial by fire but you get a great primer on how Linux operates.

Sabayon - It's not even a contest

Richard Edward Horner's picture

I agree that the pertinent difference between distros is the installer and package management. Sabayon wins on both of these. Sabayon is the only Linux distro I know of that implements the ports tree in the way the BSD distros do where you can compile from source or install the a binary package and the package manager is aware of this regardless of which method you choose. So, you can compile in experimental support for whatever weird feature on whatever package by choosing to compile from source but you also don't have to wait 3 days for KDE to compile by choosing to install the binary packages.

Arch does it too

Tim's picture

arch linux implements a ports-like system as well. Check the arch wiki and read about ABS and AUR.

Sabayon more of swiss army knife

Jim Cook's picture

While Arch does handle ports as well, Sabayon does a superior job of handling integration of precompiled binaries mixing with locally compiled source packages. With Sabayon you need never do a compile if you dont want to, or if you know exactly what you want you have full access to Gentoo's portage tree and overlays and can tweak to your hearts content. Arch does have some strong points in it's favor, but I find the overall flexibility of Sabayon to give it the edge.

Note, my desktop has Sabayon, Arch, and Funtoo currently installed and primarily runs Funtoo, while my laptop is wholly Sabayon. Being versed in all three of these I feel fairly confident in my ability to level a fair opinion. Arch is very very good, and I like it alot, it just doesnt win in the overall ease of use and learn how it works across a broad spectrum from noob to uber geek.

Best?

Josh's picture

I think Ubuntu wins but only because of its supportive community and the volumes of end-user documentation. The Ubuntu community is usually the first to tell end-users how to fix common problems in a way that isn't too intimidating.

Oh, and "learn" Linux at your own risk: http://xkcd.com/456/

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